Build or buy? Solving the DIY software dilemma
On the surface, building your own software solutions seems akin to home DIY – and it kind of is, but it really kind of isn’t. Most people think of DIY as a lick of paint in one version or another. But the level we’re talking about here is more like a three-room extension with some form of waterworks involved, e.g. a kitchen or bathroom. That means ensuring there are solid foundations, safely installed electrics, plumbing paraphernalia with its incumbent tiling, various other technicalities and a roof that doesn’t leak.
That’s before you even get to the decorating and furnishing stage – and assuming everything goes smoothly. When it doesn’t, those unbudgeted expenses rapidly add up. So not only is it expensive and time consuming, it requires more planning and expertise than slapping some paint on the walls – then changing your mind because the colour doesn’t look like you imagined. But, when it is well-built and structurally sound, you have a beautiful space that lasts for years with a minor snagging list of easy fixes.
Now we’re a bit clearer on the measure of the task, let’s get stuck into some debate.
With numerous cloud providers offering various build your own software solutions, it’s tempting to waltz down that DIY road in your digitalisation journey. But first, let’s look at some concerns and hidden pitfalls because a major undertaking at least deserves some robust discussion.
These days, many companies are creating their own software to provide a specific service or fulfil niche consumer needs. So it seems natural to extend that expertise to construct back-end operational structures or front-end point solutions to support and maintain their IP. However, there are a few considerations that need to be taken into account:
- Tech uncertainty
- Skills shortage
Whilst many skills are transferable, your IT department still needs a deep understanding of specific elements and their compatibility to construct suitable solutions that support your existing systems (including your proprietary tech); performs the data mining and analysis of batched and real-time data; presents it in a consumable fashion for your less technical audience; and integrates with existing or new third party applications. If your IT team has never built an extension, from foundation to roof, this is going to be a mammoth task fraught with uncertainty.
Depending on your existing architecture, this process might also entail migrating data from legacy systems, which can present its own headaches.
If you are travelling this road, then a word of advice: for truly connected data with insightful analysis of hidden trends and patterns, opt for next-gen graph technology. But you don’t have to take my word for it, Gartner recommends it too. However, your IT team might not know where to start, so be sure to do your research.
Just as builder is not a synonym for plumber or electrician, IT personnel does not necessarily equal software engineer. Of course you can upskill, which, apart from the educational costs, uses that other valuable commodity: time.
It takes business knowledge, serious planning and a huge chunk of time (months, even years) to design, assemble and implement the architecture to provide impactful data intelligence solutions that address the complex business operations, delivery and analysis problems you will encounter. We know, we’ve done it!
And all the while, you are still waiting on that roof over your head.
Then there are the ongoing demands such as maintenance, security updates, governance and feature creation or functionality upgrades. As your business grows, so does this load – and that’s aside from the scalability issues that need to be managed.
So just hire more staff. It’s easy, right?
Unfortunately not. Sure many people can code, but a complex and intricate framework, utilising next-gen tech, requires a special type of technical expertise. And there’s a serious shortage of suitably qualified software developers and engineers – so the competition is fierce. Meanwhile, your IT department is already operating under some serious strain.
When you manage to land the requisite personnel, there are still other costs to factor in: salaries, onboarding, training and the time needed (theirs and yours) to understand the software roadmap for your business.
All of these issues draw vital personnel away from your core business and eat into your bottom line.
Say you decide to go for it. You have the budget, capacity and expertise to get the basic job done. If you need any extra functionality, you’ll make use of third-party point solutions. Problem solved.
With every additional point solution there’s another subscription to pay and a different supplier to deal with when issues arise. So multiple applications equate to an increase in costs and more time wasted to resolve any problems. Then there’s the lost efficiency or, worse still, sales that accompany those pesky software malfunctions. Another hurdle to overcome.
Though in this case, the easy answer is to opt for one subscription with a platform approach, which can deliver multiple solutions.
Job done. Right?
The dreaded lock-in
When you build your solutions in a global cloud provider it comes with a nasty surprise that can go undiscovered for years: the lock-in. Imagine that you invest all this time and money creating exactly what you want only to find that the functionality to leverage the latest incredible opportunity is just not available with your particular contractor or doesn’t quite do what you expected. What do you do?
Perhaps the simple answer is to migrate to another provider. But that’s when you come face-to-face with the lock-in and realise that this results in substantial costs, time implications and technical incompatibilities. So all the hard work, time and money that you have already invested is at risk. For example, the applications that you have created “cannot easily be migrated to other cloud platforms and users become vulnerable to any changes made by their providers”. But you might only realise this in five years’ time, when there’s even more at stake. So now you’re stuck using whatever is in that vendor’s toolbox.
Simple just became very complicated – again!
Though there actually is a simple answer: bring in a third-party graph intelligence platform, like Locstat LightWeaver®, to provide all the functionality you need in one platform.
Locstat LightWeaver® – next-generation graph intelligence
Whatever stage you’re at in your build or buy journey, we can offer you a solution. Locstat LightWeaver® is an end-to-end graph intelligence platform that does the heavy lifting at the back-end to deliver accurate, enriched insights and real-time, advanced analytics, to your existing systems or through user-friendly, visual and graph visual analytics. As a light touch on your existing architecture, it is data source agnostic, integrating with your software and any third-party applications, to unify your digital environment. Quick to implement, agile to adapt to your changing needs and rapidly scalable. The answer to all your problems!
Maybe you just need transaction monitoring, a strong rules engine, graph analytics, a recommender system, a segmentation engine, churn prediction or fraud analytics? Locstat LightWeaver® can provide one or all of these solutions– and so much more. Our customer-driven solutions span the full spectrum of point solutions and the beauty is there’s no lock-in. So if you decide that you no longer need our services, we won’t hold your data to ransom because it’s always your property.
We understand why companies want to build their own solutions and, on the surface, it seems like an easy option. However, if you hit a bump in the road, your needs are pressing or you don’t have the graph know-how, then we can provide you with an affordable advanced graph intelligence capability.
Graph Intelligence made easy!
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