As someone who runs a business, you probably look for ways to save money, and one of those ways is to build software in-house. While that may have seemed like the cost-effective thing to do, it's not. Buying new software may be a better option.
Wait, don't turn away just yet. There are reasons you should consider it, and those reasons have to do with saving money and increasing profits.
In this article, you'll discover why outsourcing new software isn't as expensive as you may believe, and how it can put your business on the fast track to a higher level of success.
When Building New Software In-House Doesn’t Save Money
Since saving money is the #1 reason people decide to build new software vs. buying it, let’s tackle that one first. Have you considered how much money you’re spending on the development? Not only will you pay for a pricey developer to develop the software, but you’ll end up having to pay that person or other people to manage it. Software is never a once and done type of solution, it needs to be updated, upgraded and problems happen that need to be troubleshot and fixed.
Not only do you have to pay people, but you also have to pay for the platforms to run it. It may need to be on a network and the network comes at a cost - a big one. This is exactly why when you decide to outsource this type of project, you end up paying $300, $500, or $800+ for the monthly maintenance in addition to the costs of developing it. Yes, it seems like a lot of money BUT have you ever compared the cost of building software in-house with outsourcing it? Buying the software is nearly always more cost-effective.
When You Don’t Have to Pay a Developer
Some of you reading this may be thinking, “Well, I can do it myself - I don’t have to pay a developer.”
Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should do it. Read that last statement again…
How will you grow your business if you're spending all of your time developing software for the business? Sure, building new software will help you grow your business in the long run, but what if you spend your time in a better way that will yield bigger gains WHILE the software gets developed? Imagine having the software developed while you’re working on marketing it. You work on the business part of it, and the software developers work on what you’re going to market. As you’re finishing up your marketing plan, the software will be ready, and all you have left to do is push it out.
For example, you have a great idea for telehealth workflow management software. You want to promote this software to hospitals and medical centers throughout the United States. If you develop it yourself, it may take a year to complete it while you run your existing business, and then you have to market it. If you buy it, you could be ready for launch in a couple of months AND you can use those couple of months getting your sales assets together and booking appointments for demos.
Now you can see how not building the software your company needs is better for your business, but in the above example, the software is your business. What if it isn’t your business?
When the Software Isn’t Your Business
Software can be used in two ways:
It is what your business focuses on; it’s what makes your business money.
It can help your business grow or operate more efficiently.
We’ve covered how buying new software trumps building it yourself when you’re going to sell it to others. Now, let’s focus on when the software is simply a tool for your business.
Software that complements business operations doesn’t depend on it. The software is simply a way to make the business achieve goals faster and easier. This is unless the business uses up resources to build the software and then maintain it.
Think about it. If you’re trying to make a specific process of your business run smoother, but you end up using more people to achieve that, you’re canceling out what you’re trying to do. The work the software is doing is supposed to replace the work that employees are doing, not put more work on employees or bring in more employees to do it. This is exactly what happens when you decide to build new software in-house.
Not only will you need people on the project, but you’ll need to support it. This may mean building out your computers, networks, and other hardware capabilities just so you can implement the new software. This means that you’re not just using the software as a tool, you’re growing a part of your business with it. This may sound good, but if it doesn’t produce enough return from all of the changes you’ve had to implement, it won’t be worth it.
When you buy new software, you simply buy it, integrate it, and the software company does the rest. If it doesn’t produce the results you were expecting, you can cut it off and you’ve lost only the money you invested on it temporarily. This is much less than what you would pay if you had built the software and everything needed to support it.
One of the problems many people face is that they get in over their heads. They build software in-house, and as the company grows, they see that it doesn’t quite scale in the way they need it to despite pouring tons of money into it. The next decision they make is usually a sad one - they kill the software even after all of the work and money they put into it, and all that was missing was the support it needed to scale with the company. It wouldn’t have been a problem if the company didn’t try to do it all themselves, but instead, outsourced it to a software company that could build scalable software.
If you have an idea for software and you know you can build it in-house, it doesn’t mean you should do it because you will likely hit a roadblock somewhere down the road. As your company grows, you’re going to need software to grow with it or you’ll end up suffering financially and operationally.
When you have a company that will scale the software, you do not have to worry about:
Everything you ever need is taken care of by the company that built the software. Do you know what that also means? Less stress.
How to Reduce Software Build Stress
Building new software is stressful. From the idea stage to planning to develop it, there’s stress to face with every step. When you’re doing it in-house, that stress is because of the stress of the business, and that can derail what is really important.
With buying software, those stressors don’t infiltrate your business. Those stressors remain with the software company. All you face is the development progress and then the software’s launch. From there, if anything ever goes wrong, it’s not on you or your team to fix it. It’s the company that you pay to take care of it.
The Alternative - A Hybrid Solution
There is an alternative, which frees you from deciding between buying or building software - the hybrid option. With the advancements in technology, there are ways to build your own software, but not from scratch.
People who are looking to build an App, for example, can use a site like BuildFire. This platform helps you build an app for iOS and Android with no technical skills. However, if you are looking to customize the platform further, it allows you to develop on top of it to extend its functionality limitlessly. With this solution, the end product is created, but it’s not done with all of the money and stress that it would be if it was developed from scratch.
Why Buy vs. Build New Software
Always consider buying software before building. The reasons are:
It costs less to buy software than it does to build it.
You will save time when using a software company.
Your time is better spent on other matters pertaining to your business.
Buying is less stressful than building.
The software will be scalable, upgradable, and useful for longer.
When you’re trying to decide whether you should buy new software versus build it, you should consider the factors addressed in this article and ask yourself the three questions in the video below.
Do what is best for your business’s future. This means outsourcing what makes sense - the building of new software. Even if you can do it yourself, and you know you can make it just the way you want it, the time and money you invest in it will likely not be worth it. Buying software is the way to go and it’s the way to achieve your business goals faster and easier.