Building vs. Buying Software: Why specialised vendors often hold the edge 

build vs buy

For tech-savvy business and IT leaders, a critical question persists: should we build our own software solution or leverage a specialized SaaS vendor? The allure of a self-made system is undeniable – independence, data ownership, and cost control seem within reach. However, a deeper analysis reveals these benefits may not be as ironclad as they seem. Let’s take a look.

Sure, developing your own solution offers a sense of autonomy. You control the data, dictate the budget, and eliminate reliance on external entities. However, hidden costs can erode these perceived advantages. In-house development often necessitates a dedicated team, diverting resources from core business functions. The initial development expense can be dwarfed by the ongoing demands of maintenance, updates, and troubleshooting, potentially leading to higher long-term costs. We sometimes talk to organisations who plan on building their own IT solutions – from customer data platforms to marketing automation tools – and more often than not do we think it’s a bad idea for several reasons.

Challenges of building complex IT solutions in-house:

  • Expertise gap: Established vendors specialize in building and supporting complex solutions. Their experienced developers possess a deep understanding of the software’s specific needs and the latest technological advancements. Building an in-house team with that level of proficiency can be expensive and time-consuming.
  • Time to market delay: Existing vendor solutions are already built and tested, enabling faster implementation compared to starting from scratch. This is crucial when a rapid solution is needed to address a pressing business need.
  • Maintenance burden: Vendors continuously update their software with new features, bug fixes, and security enhancements. Maintaining an in-house solution necessitates ongoing resource allocation to keep it up-to-date, which can significantly strain your IT staff.
  • Hidden costs: While building in-house might seem cheaper upfront, hidden costs such as staff salaries, training, infrastructure, and ongoing maintenance can quickly accumulate. Vendor solutions often have predictable licensing fees, simplifying budgeting.

In-house development does offer some advantages, however:

  • Customization: You can tailor the solution to your specific needs, something off-the-shelf vendor solutions may not perfectly accommodate.
  • Data Security: With an in-house solution, you have complete control over your data and its security. This can be a significant concern for businesses in highly regulated industries.

Ultimately, the decision to build or buy depends on your specific needs, budget, and resources. However, for complex IT solutions*, partnering with a proven vendor solution is often the faster, more secure, and cost-effective approach.

The power of partnering with specialized vendors

Choosing a specialized vendor unlocks a significant array of benefits that outweigh the initial appeal of building in-house. Here’s why we think partnering with a specialist might be the smarter move for your business:

  • Seasoned expertise: Specialized vendors are veterans of the tech battlefield. Their extensive experience translates to smoother implementation and a more robust solution, saving you countless hours of troubleshooting and problem-solving.
  • Sharpened core business focus: By outsourcing to a specialist, you free your team to excel at their core competency – running your business. This allows for sharper strategic thinking and better resource allocation.
  • Long-term cost optimization: Building your own solution might seem cost-efficient initially, but long-term expenses paint a different picture. Specialized vendors benefit from economies of scale, often delivering development, maintenance, updates, and troubleshooting at a lower overall cost.
  • Future-proof innovation: Specialized vendors are dedicated to staying current with the latest technological advancements. By partnering with them, you gain access to this expertise without the burden of constant research and development on your own.
  • Seamless scalability: As your business grows, your tech needs will evolve. A specialized vendor can seamlessly scale their services to accommodate your growth, eliminating the headache of continual upgrades and expansions to your in-house system.
  • Proactive risk management: Technology glitches can have a ripple effect, impacting your entire business. Specialized vendors have robust risk management protocols in place to mitigate these issues, ensuring business continuity and minimizing disruptions.
  • Compliance & security confidence: Specialized vendors navigate the complex world of regulations and standards with ease. They ensure their solutions adhere to all relevant compliance requirements. Additionally, their advanced security measures safeguard your valuable data, providing peace of mind.

* We strongly believe certain complex IT solutions are best left to specialised vendors. For these complex IT solutions, going with established solutions from industry leading companies ensures you benefit from their expertise, robust infrastructure, and continuous support, allowing you to focus on your core business activities while maintaining high standards of performance, security, and compliance. Here are some examples:

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems

  • Reason: ERP systems integrate various business processes and require significant customization, support, and maintenance. Vendors provide pre-built modules tailored to specific industries, along with ongoing updates and support.
  • Examples: SAP, Oracle ERP Cloud, Microsoft Dynamics 365

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems

  • Reason: CRMs manage customer data, interactions, and relationships. Specialised vendors offer robust solutions that can be quickly deployed and scaled, with features such as automation, analytics, and integration with other business tools.
  • Examples: Salesforce, HubSpot, Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Cloud Computing & Infrastructure

  • Reason: Cloud infrastructure requires expertise in managing virtual environments, scalability, security, and compliance. Vendors provide reliable, scalable, and secure cloud services with global reach and 24/7 support.
  • Examples: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

Data Analytics & Business Intelligence (BI)

  • Reason: Data analytics and BI involve handling large datasets, complex queries, and advanced algorithms. Vendors offer powerful tools and platforms with built-in analytics, visualization, and machine-learning capabilities.
  • Examples: Tableau, Power BI, SAS

Content Management Systems (CMS)

  • Reason: CMS platforms require robust functionality to manage digital content, ensure security, and support integrations. Vendors provide scalable and customizable solutions with regular updates and support.
  • Examples: WordPress, Drupal, Sitecore

E-commerce Platforms

  • Reason: E-commerce platforms must handle transactions, inventory management, security, and user experience. Specialised vendors offer comprehensive solutions with payment processing, security, and marketing tools.
  • Examples: Shopify, Magento, Commerce Cloud

Human Resource Management Systems (HRMS)

  • Reason: HRMS involves payroll, benefits administration, performance tracking, and compliance with labor laws. Vendors offer integrated solutions that streamline HR processes and ensure regulatory compliance.
  • Examples: Workday, ADP

Supply Chain Management (SCM)

  • Reason: SCM systems manage the flow of goods, information, and finances across the supply chain. Vendors provide solutions that optimize logistics, reduce costs, and improve efficiency.
  • Examples: SAP SCM, Oracle SCM Cloud, JDA Software

Communications & Collaboration Tools

  • Reason: These tools require seamless integration, reliability, and security for communication and collaboration across different platforms and devices. Vendors offer feature-rich solutions with ongoing updates and support.
  • Examples: Microsoft Teams, Slack, Zoom

Making the right technology decision is critical for your business’s success. At Sirocco, we specialise in providing tailored IT consultancy and development services that align with your specific goals and challenges.

Why choose Sirocco as your implementation partner? 

  • Our team of seasoned professionals brings years of experience in delivering high-quality tech solutions. 
  • We don’t believe in one-size-fits-all. Our solutions are designed to meet your unique business needs. 
  • From initial consultation to ongoing support, we are with you every step of the way. 
  • We are dedicated to helping your business thrive with cutting-edge technology and strategic insights. 
  • 15+ years of experience, 200+ customers, 300+ successfully delivered projects.

Ready to explore how specialised solutions can transform your business? Contact us today for a free consultation and discover the benefits of partnering with us. Let’s drive your business forward together!

So where do you start?

As your long-term partner for sustainable success, Sirocco is here to help you achieve your business goals. Contact us today to discuss your specific needs and book a free consultation or workshop to get started!