Build vs. Buy


It seems like each week brings news announcing yet another software vendor acquisition by one of the giant software conglomerates. This approach of purchasing a specific capability to fit into the ever growing portfolio of technology does not show signs of stopping in the near future. Matter of fact, several have made public comment to this point indicating the continued or even increased growth of acquisitions to come. One has to wonder at what point does this business approach become a burden rather than a competitive advantage and how does this approach really solve my customers problems?

I have often wondered how they get all those parts and pieces to work with each other as advertised. The answer is more often than not, marketing and LOTS of customer services. Granted, with today’s many industry standards and integration capabilities, there are ways to stitch together portions of these tools and capabilities. But does this give the customer the advantage and solutions that they need to make a difference to their constituents? Instead, the result of this approach often leads to more expensive services engagements plus extended and complicated project development implementations. After all, someone has to pay for the integration of these tools.

The “build it” approach comes with its share of pros and cons. The immediate advantage is these solutions are homogenous and fully integrated. Other benefits include faster implementations, less expensive services engagements, quicker time to results, more seamless upgrade paths and truly one vendor to service all your needs. The biggest question that often pops up with this type of vendor approach is whether the solution works well or is best in class? The good news is there are many industry experts and services out there to help you with your quest.

For our Government customers the decision to go with a vendor that utilizes a buy vs. a build methodology can be based on many factors. But with ever smaller budgets and the need to do more with what you have (or less) and show results now, sure makes the competent vendor that builds it very attractive.


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Robert Latham

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