Before you decide to build your own software from the ground up, there are several factors that you should be considering.
Factors to consider when deciding to build or buy software
The key factors to consider when you’re deciding whether to build or buy software can be summarized as cost and capabilities. Here are some questions to answer while considering these factors:
- How much will it cost you (in time and money) to build your ideal software from the ground up?
- How much will it cost to buy software that fits most of your needs (i.e., a workable solution)?
- How much will it cost to maintain either option over the next five years?
- What do you need the software to do?
- Is there already a product available on the market that can fulfill those needs?
- If not, is your team capable of developing software that can fulfill those needs?
- Even if you would love to have your own creation, when we talk about security software, there is a certain know-how needed to get things rolling. Do you have this know-how in house or do you need to hire people?
- The additional costs of hiring knowledge might shift the balance
- Is it critical for your company to own the IP of the product?
- If the software is going to be core technology, then think about building it instead of buying it
- Any decision doesn’t have to be forever.
- You can buy software for some time, until you have know-how or additional funds available and then you can build it.
- You can build the software, but if you see that the ongoing costs are too high, you can externalize some of the effort (e.g. Support, SW Development). If these don’t work, think of selling the product as you have it or do a joint-venture with someone who wants to continue the product for you and probably for others as well. Think about the fact that it might be more expensive on the long run if you continue to build yourself.
- Calculate all costs of each decision
- Support (and SLAs)
- Planning for future versions