Build vs Buy: 4 Reasons For Why You Shouldn’t Build Your Own Software

During the course of a sales pursuit, we come across the “Build versus buy” argument for purchasing, versus having internal IT and engineering resources dedicated to building out a highly customized application.

Now this is not a new argument–It is a very old exercise; how could a commercial, somewhat generic package, replace our 100% fit using an application that had undergone numerous updates, developers, and masters? At the end of the day, we have to select a company that has “best fit” but can provide us with a platform that can expand and continue to grow with us, and release precious IT resources that could have been better utilized for other business purposes.

The same thing is true for industrial automation software–whether it’s a Manufacturing Execution System (MES), Batch Recipe Management System, or Enterprise Manufacturing Intelligence (EMI) portal, they all are subjected to the “Build versus buy” or sometimes, “repurposing” of existing applications to make do. Let’s examine the reasoning, and we will give you 4 arguments for why a Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) approach is better in the long run.

1. “No one understands our business like we do.” True, but your business does change, whether it’s to adapt new technologies, respond to market momentum, or cope with management turnover–it doesn’t stand still. Practices you did 2 years ago may not be relevant today, but your homegrown software may not be able to fully utilize the newest platforms to incorporate your unique business properties.

2. “We’ve used this software package now for XX years. We’ve invested in it, and think it’s the way forward.” Just because you have a knowledge base in a product doesn’t mean that in the long run, it’s right for you. How are its capabilities for integrating to other applications? Have you built it so that it’s open, can leverage new technologies like cloud hosting or mobility? Do you have enough staff fully dedicated and educated to incorporate changes? The larger automation software companies have invested millions of dollars to develop, improve, and maintain their applications. How can you, as a processor or manufacturer, have that same dedication to an activity that may be more of a hobby than a strategic part of your overall business?

3. Domain experience. Yes, you may know medical device manufacturing, or food processing, or water/wastewater. But most commercial software vendors get a vast overview of industries, and can capture and wrap best practices that become part of their offering. You benefit from their experience (and investments) in meeting and satisfying demands over a broad spectrum of industry needs.

4. You Aren’t A Software Company! Most companies that have legacy products feel a strong sense of community and accomplishments by building and sustaining an application that works for them. And it’s true, but it changes. Your needs today may be different. Can you afford to continue to invest in an application that may have fit 100%, but because of the market, or technologies, or new needs of the organization, now falls short? Not being a software company means you don’t have the focus, investments, technology, and domain expertise to make sure you have the utmost in the partnerships, vision, and most importantly, product development. Pureplay software companies partner with their customers, and so, in the long run, you get your needs filled, with a sustainable platform for the future.
GeoViz has a history of serving enterprises to move to the next level of operational excellence focusing people, processes, infrastructure, and technology. We deliver, complex software development projects, Team Augmentations(co-sourcing),  Business Intelligence, Retails Management, CRM, & Internet Technology solutions. GeoViz serves client inside North America specifically USA and Canada. We have physically served clients in the cities of Seattle, Toronto, Buffalo, Ottawa, Monreal, Hamilton, London, Kitchener, Windsor, Detroit. Feel free to contact us or Drop us a note for any help or assistance.


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