Why the DIY Approach Almost Never Works with Software

You’re leading the key operations of your business and things seem to be going reasonably well. As you consider the long-term growth and viability of your company you’ll eventually be faced with the decision to buy your software or do it yourself (DIY). Making the right choice early on will save you hundreds of thousands of dollars over time.

Most of us don’t anticipate hidden costs

The lure of the DIY approach can appear quite attractive. Why wouldn’t you want a customized solution? In the past, there were much fewer options and you would not have had much of a choice unless you were willing to spend exorbitant costs on software. As you may have come to realize, DIY projects are ALWAYS much more complicated than anticipated and have a significant amount of hidden costs.

If you want to run a successful business do not try to build a software company within your business as this approach will almost always guarantee you fall short at both.

Most of the time these costs do not appear until three or four years later when you realize the solution isn’t actually scalable. You’ll have to dump so much money to get things where they need to be but now the cost of switching is even more expensive than when you started. You are now in a position where you are locked-in. At this point you have not only wasted time and money, allowing your competition to get ahead, but you have also have not solved any of your key business problems.

DIY projects always take shortcuts

It would take you several months and several business analysts to document and properly review all the things you will need to build. There are many components that may get overlooked in the process (since you are a software company of one customer):

  • The customer and employee user experience
  • Openness, API, and system interoperability
  • User and role administration
  • Security, stability, redundancy, and disaster recovery
  • Code maintenance and support
  • Succession planning - what if your engineers leave?
  • Hardware infrastructure, scalability, and maintenance

Focus on what you know best versus trying to be a software company

If you want to run a successful business do not try to build a software company within your business as this approach will almost always guarantee you fall short at both. While you may gain from some small wins in the early days, there are so many underlying processes required that the time and effort needed to understand them is just not worth it. Working with a software company will give you flexibility and scalability - this means you can focus your time on your customers and running a successful business!

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