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Why DIY? Reasons to Build or Buy

11.08.2021

CIOs and other organizational decision-makers are looking past the so-called digital sprints of 2020 and planning on transformation technology efforts, according to industry analysts. But when it comes to transformational efforts, does it make sense to go it alone–that is, do it yourself?

Often, companies favor building software projects in-house, fearing that third-party solutions may not meet their specialized needs or be compatible with existing systems. The challenge is two fold: determining whether some of your IT staff has specialty skills, such as data mining or data visualization. And if you are lucky enough to have a large enough team to tackle a transformational technology, does it make sense to tie them up with one project?

When considering the age-old problem of whether to build or buy, you’ll get a different answer depending on the business landscape and project urgency. To determine whether to keep a software project in-house or search for a collaborative technology partner, it makes sense to look at the following four major factors: cost, control, connectivity, and maintenance. 

Is Building or Buying More Cost-Effective?

According to Gartner, global enterprise software spending is projected to climb 9% in 2021 to a total of around 4.2 trillion dollars. According to John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner, “This means building technologies that don’t yet exist, and further differentiating their organization in an already crowded market”.  CEOs are much more willing to invest in technology that has a clear tie to business outcomes, and less so for everything else, according to Gartner.

The challenge is that IT projects tend to exceed both time and cost estimates. In short, IT teams often find themselves wishing they had found a reliable software or solutions partner.  While purchasing software from a third party can sometimes have a higher upfront cost, it’s also a known cost for a product that is ready to use immediately or by a set date. As one Forester report put it, technology implementations – even those “really easy” software-as-a-service based implementations – are no different than the DIY home improvement project gone totally awry with surprise time and cost requirements.

Control of the Final Product 

One of the biggest appeals of building in-house is that the software can be customized. On the other hand, that approach can leave a company entirely dependent on its coders and developers to deliver a perfect product. And companies are often left with unusable code bases created by developers who no longer work at the company, meaning they might need to hire new developers to rebuild code from scratch or maintain a legacy codebase. When you build, you have 100% control of the software’s function. This comes, however, with weaknesses, as it creates a burden on IT teams, and also leaves them without the benefit of collaboration with dedicated developers who are focused solely on the type of software they are deploying or coding.

Considering Connectivity to Greater Systems

Each company has its own unique ecosystem of applications that all need to be compatible with systems beyond the company. Building your own solutions should help ensure total compatibility, something that isn’t guaranteed with all third-party vendors. It’s important to assess if a third party has pre-built APIs or an open-source platform that allows for integrations, or a way to leverage your existing systems.

Will Third-Party Vendors Maintain the Software?

When you buy software, SaaS vendors handle all the maintenance behind the scenes and usually roll the costs onto a subscription fee. It’s important to understand that these external vendors have hundreds of hours of experience setting up and maintaining their software. If you choose to build, you will be responsible for all the maintenance of your new software: managing the launch, resolving any bugs, training people to use the software, setting up passwords, etc. All of this maintenance will require increased bandwidth, and possibly additional staff. 

How Armored Things Surfaces Spatial Analytics

The Armored Things AI-powered platform provides facilities and security teams with an accurate, real-time understanding of how many, and how often people are utilizing different spaces. The software enables smarter decisions related to crowd density, space utilization, safety, maintenance, and guest experience while also providing easy access to valuable data trends for ROI related to space management.  If you’re unfamiliar with spatial utilization and the terms surrounding it, check out our blog on some key definitions. If you are considering installing a space utilization software. For more on how spatial representation software can bring density data to life, check out our blog on spatial representations.

Layering our Armored Things software over existing infrastructure turns data into actionable intelligence. Our software monitors occupancy in real time and provided predictive analytics for space planning. We’re helping transform corporate and higher education campuses into smart spaces.

To learn more about how Armored Things helps facilities teams deliver on priorities like this, schedule time with one of our experts today.