Build vs Buy – The Eternal Debate for Enterprise Software Solutions


Aug 16, 2021 • 9 min read

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As business demands change, the rate at which the requirements of businesses evolve provokes the eternal question: should you consider building your enterprise software solution, or should you consider buying it?

In the case of most small and medium businesses, it has always been relatively straightforward: hustle to get things done. It becomes increasingly complex as a decision when the size of the business grows and increases its complexities.

Some businesses require custom solutions, and most require solutions that can address the maximum number of use cases to support the breakneck pace of business. Enterprises with ample resources might feel that building their software solution is more efficient, but is it ultimately better than buying?

This article will cover:

  • The buy vs. build dilemma
  • The pro and cons build vs buying
  • Why buying is the superior option
  • Indicators that you need to buy your software
  • Tips before buying your software

A never-ending dilemma

At a glance, it’s wholly sensible and understandable for enterprises that choose to build their software solution for some reason.

It offers a higher degree of customization; it might also be preferred by businesses with limited budgets and feel that custom-building will cost them less or already have capable teams to build one. Or, enterprises might feel they are the only ones best qualified to create the perfect software that matches their specific needs. What about buying?

These days, many SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions exist to help businesses create the most suitable software. SaaS providers are a part of the subscription economy, which benefits businesses because they make an upfront payment to receive the software, support, maintenance, and all other upgrades needed in the future.

Right now, the market for SaaS is booming with an annual growth rate of 18%, as the automation and agility it provides are proven to fuel market growth, as reported by ReportLinker.

However, some enterprises might still avoid buying a software solution from SaaS providers due to many considerations and misconceptions. SaaS gives an attractive alternative to custom-building your software in the business environment.

With SaaS, the enterprise is authorized to order and use the software according to a predetermined period with a subscription fee.

To build or not to build?

Whether you end up building or buying your software will significantly impact your enterprise as a whole. Here are some significant pointers for the pros and cons of both sides of the coin to help you reflect on your enterprise conditions and decide which is best.

Why You Should Consider Buying a SaaS Product

Here are the top advantages of buying your own software:

build vs buy

1. It saves time and cost

When it comes to building your own software, you will need to spare a lot of time and cost solely dedicated to its development. With buying, the time spent on installation and configuration is significantly reduced.

Besides, it also allows more efficient cost savings as your software will be part of a shared environment. You’ll gain access to new technology that your enterprise might not be able to afford if you build it on your own. 

2. It is scalable

For businesses that choose to build their own software, scalability might not always be available since it means more costs, more features, and more training for the employees. The good news is, scalability is superior with a SaaS product.

Software can be upgraded and upscaled in no time and your SaaS provider will take care of the server capacity planning. If at any point you need to scale your software up and down again, this can also be done in a breeze.

3. It has high compatibility

SaaS assures that the end-user will always have access to the most up-to-date version of the software. Software as a service definition includes eliminating software maintenance and incompatibility problems, thus providing your enterprise with streamlined focus and higher productivity.

When can You Choose Buy as Your Option?

Enterprises might benefit more when they decide to buy from a SaaS provider. Here are some pointers to let you know when buying is the ideal solution.

1. When cost is one of your concerns

Building might not be the best option for enterprises with fixed budgets since they have to bear the entire cost throughout the process, from initial installation, QA testing, bug fixes, future upgrades and maintenance, and much more.

What enterprises should realize is that the costs to be considered while building their software do not stop after the software has been developed. Maintenance costs can be up to 4 times more expensive than development costs.

Buying software costs less because you don’t have to pay for the costs mentioned above. You need to pay for the subscription fee, while the provider will take care of the whole building process.

Since the provider focuses on building software for a large customer base, you’ll be charged much less as they distribute the costs across their customers. Moreover, if you, later on, decide that the software is not a good fit for your business, you can unsubscribe at any time without bearing any other costs.

2. When you or your team lacks technical proficiency

Tech might not be your enterprise’s strong point, and that is understandable. Enterprises that do not have a strong enough technical team are better off buying their software. SaaS developers have software-building as their sole focus and forte, so you’re guaranteed to be in good hands.

Although indeed, you’re not in total control of the building process, the SaaS developers have a better understanding of the features your enterprise needs the most, as they have experience from all the clients they’ve had. Hence, they can offer you better features that you truly need.

3. When you have other priorities to attend to

Building your software drains more time than you might initially predict. It’s not just about the building process but also the testing, upgrades, team training, and troubleshooting. Moreover, as your enterprise grows, you might want to upscale your software to encompass your growing business needs. These tasks might get neglected due to other priorities.

By buying a Saas product, since building software is the developers' main focus, you have more time on your hands to take care of other operations, requiring no special efforts from your business. You can also onboard new systems, features, and applications at any point of your subscription.

How to Proceed After Deciding to Buy Your Software

1. Know what your enterprise truly needs

It might be tempting to incorporate as many features as possible into your software, but it’s not always best to do so. A recent study found that U.S. enterprises lost $30 billion per year for software they ended up not using.

This reflects how many enterprises often buy software without properly assessing their needs wisely. So, have a thorough discussion with your SaaS developer and consider each feature carefully before agreeing on the kind of software you want.

2. Think long term for future initiatives

Make sure the SaaS provider of your choice can upscale your software as your business continues to grow. Are you satisfied with the subscription costs should your enterprise software needs scale up? It's also a good idea to look at the complete "menu" or features offered by the SaaS provider.

Do you see technologies that you might need in the future? If yes, then you might be on to choosing the right SaaS provider for your enterprise.

3. Choose SaaS with third-party integration opportunities

Integration opportunity is one of the critical advantages of SaaS. Choose SaaS providers that will readily help you integrate your software with third-party partners through the use of APIs, increasing flexibility and velocity.

Inquire further about whether the integrations are as simple as plug-and-play or if they require additional paid applications or support.

You also want to ensure that the integration offers full functionality. If you're not sure which APIs are compatible with your enterprise, discuss with your SaaS provider so that you won't make unnecessary spending for integrations that do not suit you.

Final Takeaways

The Buy vs. build dilemma is an ongoing debate for enterprises looking to develop their software to ease business processes. While building your software seems like a more efficient solution, this is not always the case.

Using a SaaS provider can help you save cost while still offering features you genuinely need and is worth the investment if you are looking to grow your business on a meaningful scale. It is also more scalable, flexible, and can be integrated with third-party partners suitable for your business ecosystem. 

Tada has helped many businesses create the most suitable software that answers their specific needs. If this looks like something your business currently needs, don’t hesitate to reach out for more information because we will be happy to help! Contact us today.

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Nida Amalia

SEO and Content Marketing Specialist who loves art, music, and movie.