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Enterprise Software – Buy or Build?


Buy or build your new software?


Enterprise software - Buy or Build?

Traditional IT departments are having a very tough time at the moment, and in many companies, the level of satisfaction in IT is at an all time low. One of the problems is that for years, business process owners have had to go through the rigmarole of working with internal IT to scope, procure or build their requirements – taking time, and resources from an already stretched workforce.


Not sure what the business needs, but know you want it now?

As applications became more difficult to implement, integrate, and adapt, IT got caught holding the baby. Add to this the world is now moving on at such a pace, and demands from the business for new applications, new customer engagement models, and just the relentless demands to adapt and change, and IT departments face an impossible job.


You need to keep the lights on, and take on the exponentially growing needs of the business, but how?

So, if your IT department can’t cope with all the demands and says it is going to take months before they can even look at your request, then the business is drawn out to the sirens of “off the shelf” application providers. This new shadow IT function involves process owners going out to market directly to procure a ‘point’ solution. It all sounds so sensible until you end up with hundreds of disparate IT systems that are quickly handed back to IT to look after, integrate and manage. (But more on that in my next article.).

For now, let’s consider this simple question …


Should I buy an off the shelf solution or build it myself?

The lure of off the shelf is that it is ready to go and mostly meets your needs now - maybe with just a couple of tweaks. So, you procure the system, and then realise that you need to integrate it into all your other systems. You reach out to your IT team who wouldn’t have chosen that technology deployed in that way, as it makes it really hard to work with all the other applications in house.

But you plough on …
... You then realise that whilst the system off the shelf met most of your needs there are a couple of things that you do that are unique to you. You then find out the cost to custom develop and change what you thought was going to be a quick and cheap answer to your problems. It ends up being expensive and time consuming, and you wish there had been an alternative route.

Of course, there is …

Build it yourself

No, not with coders or developers, but with Rapid Application Development (RAD) tools. One of these, OnBase from Hyland Software, is a truly outstanding example of why you should adopt a 'build it yourself' approach.

Consider the table below.


Off the shelf

Build it yourself (With a RAD System)

  • Cost per application maybe 100’s across your company
  • Customisation needed to meet your exact needs
  • Changes controlled by external vendor
  • Often difficult to integrate
  • Requires you to know your requirements
  • Fixed solution


  • No extra cost, you already have the system
  • Configured without code to exactly meet your needs
  • Changes controlled by you quick and easy
  • Already integrated
  • Change your needs as you go along the system adapts
  • Agile


So, if you choose the right solution you can be truly agile and build solutions to your exact needs - without a line of code. In fact, your users can build their own solutions themselves, and change and adapt them at the speed of need. There really is no contest, as you can build or change it - cheaper, quicker, better, and it already complies with all regulations, internal audit, security. Add to that the integration into your existing environment, and this could be the easiest decision you have ever made.

If you would like to know more, reach out to me on InMail or complete the form below.

Tim Miller Digital Transformation expert Twofold Ltd

Tim Miller

Digital Transformation Expert