Four Factors to Consider in Your Build vs. Buy Debate

Emily Rompola Picture

by Emily Rompola | Last Updated: Oct 13, 2017

To build–or to buy? That is (quite literally) the million-dollar question. This battle between building vs. buying a mobile software solution is nothing new, and if you’ve ever found yourself at this crossroad, you know it is a difficult place to be. This debate can quickly become daunting when you start to consider the numerous factors influencing this decision, which is why we want to break it down for you. Here are four factors to consider when deciding whether to build or to buy. Time and Resources The first two factors to consider in the build vs. buy debate–time and resources–go hand-in-hand. On average, it takes approximately one year for a dedicated team of developers with the right skillset to rollout new software, not to mention 95 percent of IT decision makers experience challenges during implementation and maintenance of their software built in-house. That is to say, building in-house requires a considerable amount of time and resources. When buying a software solution, the time to market is significantly shorter, providing value to your business faster, while keeping more internal resources readily available. Cost On to the next factor: Cost. The cost of building a mobile software solution varies, but can range depending on the the software’s size, complexity, and integrations. But building the app is just one costly factor to consider; There’s also costs associated with development and design, testing, and maintenance to consider. Nik Sanghvi, Head of U.S. Sales and Business Development at the native mobile app development shop Robosoft, recommends that companies expect to invest $200,000–$500,000 for a truly worthwhile mobile experience. As if that isn’t a large enough chunk of change to shell out for a single app, that doesn’t even take into account the costs associated with the internal resources being used for the duration of the app build and maintenance. The decision to build in-house means allocating resources that could be used for other projects, only increasing the overall cost. Buying gives you a better idea of the up-front cost, minimizes unexpected costs, and frees internal resources. Maintenance The fourth factor to evaluate in the build vs. buy debate–maintenance–influences the three other factors. A software built in-house places full responsibility of maintenance and upkeep on your shoulders, consuming time and resources in the process and leading to much higher costs. Do you keep track of how many times you get pinged with another software update on your smartphone? We’re keeping track, and Apple alone has updated iOS software 15 times this year. The work to maintain an up-to-date mobile software solution quickly becomes a full time job when you consider the various platforms and operating systems. Buying a solution turns over the maintenance keys to someone else, allowing your team more time to do the fun stuff (like making fun widgets and a wow-worthy UI) while keeping costs to a minimum. The age-old question of whether to build or to buy a software solution for your business can be complicated. While there are various factors to consider while making this decision, buying a mobile software solution takes less of your time to develop and maintain and frees up more resources all at a fraction of the cost of a traditional in-house build.

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