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Should you build or buy your next product feature?

Understand the pros and cons of each approach

Today, it’s no longer viable as a software vendor to sell a single solution for a single purpose. Modern end-users expect the software that they purchase to not only come with a set of features they see as standard, but also to constantly be upgraded with new features and options that will make their lives more convenient.

Some providers decide to build new features from the ground up to incorporate them into their solution. Others decide that the more viable approach would be to outright buy their desired feature from a technology partner, before integrating it with their solution.

Both approaches have their pros and cons, and are suited for unique businesses and scenarios. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at both options.

Building a solution

Software developers who are seeking to add to their solution may opt to build their own solution from scratch. If the capabilities of the feature are core competencies of the developer team, and the company has the resources to dedicate to the project, the decision to build makes sense.

Let’s look at some of the advantages and disadvantages a software vendor can expect when building a solution to add to their product.

Advantages of building a solution

Customization

Providers that decide to build a solution from the ground up can also tailor that solution to their liking. This allows you as the provider to create something that is completely complementary to your original solution while satisfying the needs of your customers.

Easier to onboard and support

The process of building a new feature means that you have intimate knowledge of the solution, inside and out. This knowledge can be passed on to your support agents and onboarding specialists, and make any required fixes to the software that much easier to accomplish.

Disadvantages of building a solution

Requires knowledge and expertise

Building a solution from the ground up to include an additional feature may require more expertise than you currently have available. Setting your own developers up to produce something they are not yet proficient with often results in a higher number of bugs and user experience glitches.

Requires resources

Software developers that have the expertise may not necessarily have the time to develop new features or solutions, and any senior developers you assign to the new feature takes them away from their core tasks.

Buying a solution

For some software developers, buying a solution from another developer or buying that company out may prove to be a more convenient option than building from scratch. If the organization is large enough, and the capabilities are aligned to broader business objectives, buying a company that has the capabilities may be the right decision.

However, just like building a solution, buying a solution has its own advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few.

Advantages of buying a solution

Used by other businesses (proof of concept)

Other businesses have most likely used the solution you’re preparing to purchase, which means that there is not only a need and market for the solution, but that most of the bugs, kinks and challenges have already been dealt with in some way.

Fast deployment

Since the solution you’re looking at buying has most likely been adapted to suit other businesses, it should be relatively quick to deploy and integrate with your own solution, enabling you to get to market faster.

Disadvantages of buying a solution

May require additional support and maintenance

Once you buy a solution to incorporate with your own, you may need to hire additional staff and developers to help support the solution while you train your own agents to become familiar with it.

Requires a high initial capital investment

Of course, buying a solution requires an initial capital investment that some companies may not find currently viable.

The third option: Partnership

Whether it be lack of expertise, finance or resources, many companies decide that neither of the above is the right way forward. The question for these companies is how then do they stay competitive and relevant in an ever-shifting marketplace?

The answer is partnership.

Why partnership is the future

Often, software developers require capabilities that are not core competencies of their staff and are not strategically aligned with the overall direction of their business. In these cases, it makes sense to partner with an organization that can provide the desired capabilities.

Partnership includes the advantages of buying a solution without any of the disadvantages associated with a capital investment or company takeover.

With partnership, software providers gain access to an licensable solution along with the team that built it to provide support and additional features in the future.

Partner with OpenText OEM

OpenText™ currently offers the broadest selection of information management technology available. And now offers these solutions to other developers through the OpenText™ OEM Program.

The program enables enterprise software vendors to customize, embed, white-label and sell OpenText’s solutions as part of their own product offering to their customers. With solutions covering seven core Information Management disciplines, building complex business solutions has never been this achievable.

If you would like to find out more about how OpenText can complete your own solution, contact OpenText today. To find out more information on these solutions and digital transformation, download this free white paper, or check out this webinar.

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Ryan Smith

Ryan is a Senior Product Marketing Manager for OpenText’s OEM team. He is an experienced analyst, consultant, and practitioner in the enterprise information management (EIM) space, serving both enterprise and vendor audiences. He covers best practices, market trends, and shares his EIM expertise in his blogs.

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