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6 important factors when considering building in-house software

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Many companies set out on a journey to build in-house docking tools, not aware of the journey they are embarking on. After years of work, millions spent on development and not a finished product, these projects in the majority of cases are terminated leaving employees demotivated and most importantly, without the docking tool they required in the first place. 

In this article, we will list 6 important factors to consider when evaluating whether or not to build an own, in-house software.


1 - Control


When building, you have 100% of the control over how software functions when you build it in-house. Period. However, with that control comes a great deal of responsibility. You make ALL the decisions. If you’ve ever built a custom home, you know the unique fatigue of choosing a plethora of details in a short time.

When buying, you can (and should) evaluate SaaS platforms to understand how each option meets your requirements. And you may get close to 100% of what you’re looking for. But, you’ll never have total control of the SaaS platform’s product roadmap. You can always give feedback, but it’s not guaranteed to give you the exact desired features.


2 - Cost


When building, the software builder (that’s you) bears the entire cost burden of homegrown software. That includes paying for the initial buildout, ongoing support, bug fixes, upgrades, platform migrations, and keeping up with software industry trends. All of these costs can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars (if not millions!).

When buying, the SaaS platform of your choice owns all costs associated with building and maintenance and charges you a subscription fee for ongoing access. Because the SaaS vendor gains efficiencies across a large customer base, they can often charge a lower amount than you would pay to support a one-off application.


3 - Maintenance


When building, you’re on the hook for all maintenance related to your newly-built software. That means managing the launch, bug resolution, user training, password setup, compliance with industry standards, and building new functionality. And all that maintenance likely requires extra staff.

When buying, SaaS vendors handle all the maintenance behind the scenes and roll the cost into your subscription fee. Their staff will help launch the platform at your organisation, manage maintenance going forward, and push out product upgrades.

And the SaaS company has already done it hundreds of times, so they come equipped with best practices based on a wealth of direct experience.


4 - Opportunity cost


Building software in-house can steal precious internal resources from high-profit opportunities.
Let’s say you’re in the business of selling bread. How much more bread could you sell with the resources you’re dedicating to building software? And how much market share could your competitors gain if you divert your attention to a non-profitable activity?

Purchasing SaaS software takes opportunity cost right out of the equation. You can continue to focus on your core profit-generating activities, while taking advantage of the SaaS platform’s already-live functionality in a much faster time frame. It’s a win-win.


5 - Risk


When building, there is always the risk that your company might scrap the project entirely either before or after launch. Building and maintaining software is very costly and demands a lot of resources, something which is seldom fully understood when starting the project. As the realities start to sink in, most projects end abruptly. 

When buying, you get what you pay for. By simply evaluating your alternatives before making a decision, you know exactly what you get. 


6 - Time to value


When building, think about the goals you want to reach using newly-created software. If you build it internally, how long will it be before you can make any headway toward those goals? Even just building a version 1.0 of a well-functioning, user-friendly platform can take at least 6 to 18 months. Can you afford to wait that long?

When buying, your time to value shrinks dramatically. Your time investment is reduced to the time it takes you to evaluate SaaS platforms, decide on one, and launch it internally. A SaaS platform purchase provides the fastest window to connecting your goals to actions.


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