How to Know Whether you Need to Build or Buy Enterprise Software

  • Build customer software to address immediate needs without subtracting or adding anything.
  • Buy a commercial SaaS or off-the-shelf software that instantly solves the commonly prevalent business issues.
  • Here you will get all major parameters to answer your question if you decide to buy or build software.

An enterprise software

It’s software that a business uses internally to solve daily problems. It serves the organizational needs rather than client or customer needs.

Enterprise commercial off the shelf software (COTS)

SaaS or COTS is a ready-made software solving common business issues instantly. COTS has defined features that cover the needs of its targeted audience. It gets customized to a limited extent.

Enterprise custom software

It’s a bespoke or tailor-made software built from scratch and solves specific business problems.

Buy checklist or 10-point build

Here are the important parameters that can aid in making an informed decision between buying and building.

Unique problem: build

You build software from nothing when the solution or problem is unique. For example, basecamp initially was a web design firm that depended on emails for collaboration and communication. It didn’t work well for long-term projects. Several COTS solutions got done but didn’t serve their needs well. They then decided to build their project management app. The product’s internal success led the team to launch the basecamp and later SaaS.

Questions to inquest while deciding to build software:

Is your problem urgent and needs solutions immediately?

Common problem: buy

When businesses solve a common recurrent problem, choose the commercially available software. For instance, Salesforce is commercial software available that aids them in managing client relationships. The CRM software handles common problems like contact and leads management for the clients. A business needs to pay the monthly or annual subscription fee to have Salesforce.

Questions to have when deciding between the diverse COTS solutions:

Which software are your competitors using?

Buying vs. building: which one is the best?

When should you build?

When should you buy it?

The common problem and software are available.

The total cost of ownership (TCO)

TCO for building

Buy and build: what’s the best option?

When to build

Build for the PAI first approach

A business that supports legacy software will invest in the new software that can smoothly integrate. Available COTS solutions fail to implement API integrations to help merge data between modern software and legacy.

Buy vs. Build

When to build

The build opportunity cost

The software can be high mostly when development teams’ time can get better spent on other issues like managing operations, research, development, and client support.

The buy opportunity cost

The opportunity cost to buy old software is low. Your workforce can access the best off-the-shelf software meeting functional and business needs. Your IT teams can use their time and funds to ship codes faster while managing codes delivery, integration, and deployment.

Competitive advantage vs. the competitive parity

The Competitive advantage is when a business invests in software that permits leapfrogging competition. Competitive parity is when a business invests in software that provides the same as to what competitors can get.

The advantage of building to target competition

A software build improves main activities’ performance to attain a competitive advantage. A secret to unlocking differentiation comes from investing a custom software in solidifying the USP.



Aalpha is specialist India based Software Solutions company providing solutions for Web and Mobile development,

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Aalpha Information Systems India Pvt. Ltd.

Aalpha Information Systems India Pvt. Ltd.

Aalpha is specialist India based Software Solutions company providing solutions for Web and Mobile development,