The Challenge of Software Developers: Build or Buy?

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Your customers demand dashboard functionality for their systems to add Business Intelligence software functions – do you build it for them, or source an existing solution you can customise?

One of the biggest challenges facing developers is extending and enhancing their product to meet changing customer needs, creating Business Intelligence software functionality in the process. The increasing importance of data analysis and visualisation means that more and more clients are demanding dashboards to provide instant access to their key performance metrics, even for “standard” applications such as accounting or CRM.




Adding this dashboard functionality means developers are faced with a dilemma: build or buy? This blog post should help you decide which is the right option to create visual Business Intelligence software tools.

Why Build?

The number one reason for building your own dashboard solution is that you have complete control over the final product. Whatever your customers demand, your Business Intelligence software functions can be built to satisfy.

Building dashboard solutions also makes sense if:

  • Your proposed solution is unique and there is no existing module that provides similar functionality.
  • A custom dashboard module provides your product with a competitive advantage.

“Custom software is extremely valuable in this way: It can give your business an edge. Needing custom software is actually a really good sign for a business. It means that you’re doing something different, something innovative. It means you’ve found a way of conducting your operations that none of your competitors have figured out.” – Dan Briody, author and tech journalist.

Why Buy?

There are also several distinct advantages to buying and using an existing module capable of providing the functionality you need:

  • The hard work has already been done, so your developers need only customise the module to provide the data display your customers demand, immediately reducing development costs.
  • Deployment of dashboards is quicker, shortening the time to market.
  • Why reinvent the wheel? If a suitable option already exists, your developers can focus on other projects designed to improve your core product.
  • Using a tried-and-tested module means that most of the bugs will have already been discovered and corrected, further reducing the burden on your development team.
  • Maintenance of the module remains the responsibility of the provider, allowing your developers to focus instead on maintaining your own core product.

“If you outsource, there are a lot of problems that you can simply hand off to the vendor. As long as I can get a strong enough solution from a vendor at a comparable price, I’ll buy instead of build.”
Debra Massey, CTO, Crystal Equation Corp.

“The great majority of organisations adopt new technology conservatively. They prefer systems that others have “road tested” and are on their third or fourth version.” – Build vs. Buy: Ten Lessons Your CIO Should Share About Enterprise EHS & Crisis Management Software

Which is right for you?

Adding Business Intelligence software functionality to your application from scratch is time-consuming, and therefore costly. If your company has an unlimited development budget, and a user-base willing to work with your initial attempts at dashboard functionality, you may want to build.

If your customers are demanding dashboard functionality sooner rather than later, the choice may already be out of your hands. Your team are probably more than capable of creating a suitable solution, but time and budget may not allow the resources required. In almost all situations, buying a pre-built dashboard solution and customising it for use with your software will provide the functionality your customers demand, at a cost that is more acceptable to your business.




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