This question is often asked of software companies but can be a difficult one to answer. Every business has different processes and core requirements so this question involves a lengthy thought process. The following steps outline the thought process:
- Validate the need for technology and identify core business requirements. Due to technology hypes or rigid business processes, a search for new technology may be undertaken before the actual reason for a technology investment has been identified. This can lead to an investment in technology that adds no real value to the business process, hence a loss of funds for other projects. A core business requirement is one that must be supported by the solution to continue. If this requirement is not met, or only partially satisfied, the software is not going to fulfill its purpose.
- Identify architectural requirements: Many businesses are already using technology to enable their business processes, so benchmarks for new technology may have already been established. These may include a preferred architectural framework, existing software that the new system must integrate with, existing corporate standards, existing operating systems used internally or by external partners, and information security strategy. These requirements will influence whether buying or building software will be right for your organization.
Do you have in-house skills to support a custom solution?
In-house built solutions require internal IT staff to maintain the software. The software also needs be scalable and extensible, which requires skilled staff to design and deploy. Other reasons for building an in-house solution include:
- When an off-the-shelf solution doesn’t exist to meet your business needs or architectural requirements.
- A significant portion of an off-the-shelf product will not be used within the next five years, when an on-premise upgrade will be necessary.
Does an off-the-shelf solution fit your needs?
An off-the-shelf solution may be best if the function is not a core competency of the business. This solution can be more cost-effective as the product vendor is responsible for adapting the product to meet technology advances, isolating and correcting any design problems and providing data migration tools when data architecture is modified. An off-the shelf product may be best for you if:
- The solution meets your core business requirements.
- The solution is aligned with your overall business strategy.
- The solutions functionality will be used in the next five years.
- If internal IT resources are unavailable.
By following these steps any business can identify which software solution will best fulfill their specific business requirements.
To learn more about the value each solution can offer to you and your business read the ClaimVantage ‘Build Versus Buy’ guide.