Developer writing source code

Not the sacred source code!

Odette Carney Source Code

In years gone by, source code has been seen as sacred by some organisations.

Often treated like the Coca-Cola™ formula or KFC™ secret herbs and spices recipe of software, innovative companies would develop unique solutions to generate a competitive advantage, and then guard their source code like a state secret.

But years later, with the massive expansion of tech solutions, and development improvements, it’s worth revisiting whether this is the right approach.  

How secret really is your solution and its source code?

Let’s say you own a custom solution – chances are you’ve developed it to have a meaningful impact on your business.

Most business solutions are intelligently put together. They can save time, provide a better customer experience, improve scalability or accuracy.

But in isolation they don’t provide a competitive advantage. It’s the elements around the solution that make up your competitive advantage – the team, the integrations, the logistics, and of course a great underlying product.

Unless you have something truly groundbreaking, someone else is probably going to be able to build your solution (or at least a very similar one) anyway.

So is your source code really that secret?

The only question then is whether they pay you money in exchange for a copy of your solution, or whether they go and build it independently anyway.

But what about my competitors?

The next question you may ask is, if I sell a copy of my solution’s source code, won’t my competitors get a piece of my competitive advantage?

Assuming you choose to commercialise via AlreadyBuilt (the other option is to SaaSify your solution, see blog for pros and cons on both options), the answer is no. The agreement enables you to specify the companies, industries or geographic areas you’re not willing to sell to.

Will selling my source code create a security risk?

Assuming you’ve built your solution securely, there should be no additional security risk.

Solutions are sold to reputable companies like yours who take security seriously, and they’ll often share any issues they identify so you can both rectify them.

Bear in mind that you’re not selling the underlying data within your solution – just the source code itself.

Typically, biggest security risks tend to come from overseas hackers, like those we’ve seen in the news recently.

Additionally, new revenue from selling copies via AlreadyBuilt can be used to invest in additional security and penetration testing.

My source code… could be better

We often hear that “the solution works well for us, but the source code could be better.”

Here’s the secret – so could everyone else’s!

Your source code doesn’t need to be perfect.

Purchasers are typically buying your solution for the functionality – the things it does well. They are also given the opportunity to do their due diligence via a supervised code audit before making a purchase decision.

Also the extra revenue you generate could be used to fund some code improvements that might make your solution even better.

But we’ve spent a lot of money on developing this source code

Absolutely. We completely understand this, building solutions is not cheap.

But consider what a tragedy it’d be if your solution is only used once and you miss out on enormous revenue.

Instead, earn back the cost of your original project potentially multiple times over, with no downside.

So, is your source code really that sacred?  

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