Is it better to create your own system or use one that already exists on the market?
It is fairly common to find problems in the most different companies throughout different segments. And it is precisely because it is so common that several people are already committed to solving most of the issues in the market. Today we can count on the help of technology to solve them, whether optimizing time, reducing distances, or making processes faster and more economical.
When we analyze situations individually, we find problems that deserve our attention, but how do we solve them? Can the technology be used? And, being able to rely on technology, is it better to hire from the market or build the solution from scratch? Finally, who will do it, internally or outsourced, if it needs to be built from scratch? Questions abound, but I will focus on these last questions: create from scratch or use a ready solution on the market?
The points that need a lot of attention are:
- Existence of a solution on the market
- Level of specificity
- Dedicated time to build/follow up
I will now detail each item:
Existence of a solution on the market
If you answer yes to that one, that’s one in the bag for you. In that case, you might find something more generalist that meets your needs, even if it still requires a few adaptations. Generally, companies use market systems when they’re not dealing with their main service. An example is a company using a system to control employees' time or even a payment system that already exists on the market. This way, the company is able to use more energy and time on the company itself.
This topic brings us to the second point, knowledge about the solution. Usually, companies build their system when it is embeded in the core business of the company. An example is banks that have their own financial systems, but when they do something punctual, such as events, they hire market solutions. Therefore, directing the team's time and energy to the company's leading service is crucial.
Level of specificity (bureaucratic cost)
How specific is your product? Do you need help finding people to work with it? "Degree of specificity" is significant; this does not only concern customization but the difficulty in finding specialized labor.
Dedicated time to build/follow up
Here, time is related to dedication to the project, as building a system from scratch can take time. If you need more time to follow the construction, buying a ready-made solution or outsourcing this development could be better.
This time is related to delivery: how long will the system be ready? Most of the times companies have defined deadlines for software deliveries for Christmas or other seasons, which need to be built in advance since every software construction process involves the first design and then development.
Using a product from the market can be more affordable, but as discussed, if your product has a very high degree of specificity, if the system is for the company's core activity, or if you choose to do that yourself, building a system from scratch can make more sense. And if you choose to make your software, here you can explore another discussion: "Outsourcing or having your own technology team: which is better?"
I have listed the main points of attention that you should be careful with when creating or buying software. The ratio on desire x need x cost x benefit exists; it is complex and vital to make the best decisions. I hope this helps ;)
I'm Vitória Melquiades, a business analyst at Labcodes, and I decided to create this text because I've already had conversations about buying a market solution or building from scratch; it's a very valid question one that has a considerable impact on a company's operation. And if you want to develop the system for your company, here at Labcodes we help build software with innovative methodologies and an expert team in building digital products.