News & Insights

CEO Insights: When to Buy and When to Build Software for Your Business

Buy it or build it? It’s the first decision enterprises must make when bringing in new software solutions. As a custom software development company, Connamara naturally hopes all companies will someday adopt built solutions.

However, in my 25 years as founder and CEO, I can honestly say that building is not always the best or only path. I’ve actually counseled hundreds of companies to simply purchase a product that fits their needs just as much as I’ve encouraged organizations to consider developing a personalized solution. Ultimately, everybody is looking for the same thing: the best return on their investment.

A Classic Dilemma

Connamara’s engineering team empathizes with decision-makers weighing their options. Leaders hope to solve a business problem, but they worry that products on the market may not solve 100% of their issues. On the other hand, a custom project brings up uncertainty with risk, budget, and time.

Building Can Be Built Up: Perceived Challenges of Custom Products

Management teams sometimes hesitate to schedule consultations for apparent reasons.

Will we go over budget? Will there be hidden costs? Will this project take forever to be built? Will it stretch our internal teams thin? Is the vendor worth the risk? Will the project handoff be smooth?

We can’t speak for our competitors, but at Connamara, we have a proven track record of customer satisfaction and success.

  • Budget: Our Connamara Agile project management mitigates cost risk by prioritizing the highest priority features. That’s because our team values delivering demonstrable value at each iteration.
  • Transparency: Through constant communication of project status, budget, and calculated delivery dates, customers can change the scope and witness our process each step of the way.
  • Project Management: We estimate feature complexity and calculate the expected delivery date using the development velocity of the engineering team. You’re always kept in the loop as to when the project will complete.
  • Time: Connamara prides itself on being one of the most efficient development teams in the business.
  • Knowledge & Risk: Our business analysts have deep domain knowledge regarding Capital Markets solutions. Our decades-long insight reduces the time it takes to specify the functional requirements – faster than a generalist business analyst.

Shopping Around: When Buying Makes Sense and When It’s a Risk

Some problems have tried-and-true solutions. Vendors know this and sell commercial solutions that address everyday, mundane issues. Most often, if an organization believes it will not change, evolve, or require add-ons to this existing product in the future, then buying is the way.

To time-conscious leaders, buying has a potent allure. It seems easier and faster. The approach supposedly involves less risk and less internal approval.

But hindsight is 20/20. Over the years, we’ve had several experiences where a client came to us because they bought software that only partially addressed their business needs.

These clients either found:

  • They lacked control over the software’s design and flexibility.
  • The software did not have the expected functionality or compatibility with internal systems.
  • License renewals and hidden costs that were not upfront during the initial purchase.
  • The vendor went out of business or changed hands.
  • No control over the support service levels, leaving employees feeling dependent.
  • Their company, like all growing enterprise operations, evolved.

Evolution is an exciting, necessary part of being an enterprise organization. If your industry grows and changes, so should your software.

Designing Your Perfect Solution: When To Build

Connamara’s engineering team is comprised of passionate architects of the possible. We love finding solutions to your complex technical problems.

We’ve discovered that the clients who engage in our services have commonalities. They’re ambitious and creative. They value long-term investments over quick fixes and understand their industry’s changing nature.

Thus, custom application development speaks to their needs. Simply put, Connamara’s builds offer clients several things.

  • Total Customization: developing with Connamara means a point solution for your specific use case will be solved.
  • Intellectual Property: Ownership of your IP is an asset on the balance sheet, enhancing company value.
  • Value: Instead of buying a product full of impractical, expensive add-ons, streamlining your custom software means only building relevant, applicable features.
  • Integration with In-House IT Team: Our software can be built to work with any desired programming language, any existing cloud platform, security profile, or internal legacy system. We want your teams to feel comfortable and heard when creating this solution. 
  • A La Carte: Because of our use of test-driven development and our Connamara Agile development methods, our software solutions are flexible and can constantly be enhanced with affordable, new functionalities down the road.

Uniqueness = Competitive Advantage

When I think back to the buy vs. build dilemma, I think of Connamara’s successful software delivery to Rosenthal Collins Group, LLC (RCG).

Several years ago, most of their competitors used a common trading system called Pat Systems. But the leadership team noticed RCG’s customers could use Pat Systems at any firm – thus enabling poaching and competitor engagement. Customers were “stuck” to the product they had learned to trade on, but because RCG’s competitors offered Pat Systems, customers could easily move from RCG to a competing brokerage firm.

A “sticky,” unique trading platform was in order. One that addressed RCG’s specific customer needs and was faster and better than the competition. Rosenthal Collins Group hired Connamara to create a custom trading system, Onyx.

Onyx wasn’t just a fantastic tool for traders – it was priced differently from Pat System. Rather than paying Pat System’s expensive licensing fee, RCG was able to use funds to develop the perfect platform, undercut the competition, and successfully offer customers pricing flexibility.

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