To build or not to build, that is the question… 💀🤔

Shakespeare musing aside, this is something SaaS orgs, and RevOps teams especially, have to navigate countless times –

After concluding there’s a business function to be filled (or a Job To Be Done), is it more cost-effective to build something in-house or to buy an external solution?

Determining the true “cost”, particularly in B2B, can quickly become a big friction point between team members. That’s because depending on who you ask and their distance to the pain point, naturally people will include and exclude different factors in its calculation.

So what factors matter most? I know this phrase is triggering for some but… it depends!

If you’re part of a buying group in the midst of deciding that for yourself, here are some considerations that extend past monthly subscription rates that have a major impact on the silent cost guzzler – time and resources.

🛠 If building:
– Based on the business focus and complexity of the challenge, does it make sense to divest an internal resource (or resources) into developing this solution?
– How long will a dedicated resource be needed to develop the solution and how will that impact their current team / workload?
– Could the solution be maintained if the in-house resource left mid or post implementation?
– Do you even have an SME in-house with the core competencies needed or will the complexity require paying an outside consultant?

📦 If buying:
– Is there a solution on the market, built for organizations like yours, that does exactly what you need as a core function?
– Does their implementation process align with your timeline?
– Does it require an integration or is it built natively on a system you already have internally?
– If it is an integration, is it compatible with your current environment or will there be major configuration work required upfront? Do you have to maintain the integration, is there a risk for data spaghetti?
– Can you extend the functionalities, or is it a complete black box?
– Are you getting nickel and dimed for table stakes features or is the proposed solution flexible to your needs?
– How much manual intervention is required for it to provide your desired outcome, day-to-day or month-to-month?

When designing new features or new solutions at ForecaaS Software Inc., we put them through the test of building vs buying in the context of our clients and target market. This allows us to get clarity on the features that should be part of the core system – simplifying our customers’ key Jobs To Be Done -, and the ones that would better be handled as customer-specific extensions.

What questions have you asked in your own build vs buy decisions? Anything you wished you knew before going one route or the other?