Build vs. Buy: How To Understand When You Need Custom Software?

To buy or not to buy? That is the question. The market offers thousands of software solutions for diverse industries and users, however, for sophisticated ones they may seem nothing more than “acceptable” in comparison with the opportunity to develop custom software. Being often confronted with “build or buy” dilemma, companies often overlook some considerations before implementing a new solution into their ecosystem. Let’s take a look at them.

Build vs Buy custom software


Once you start thinking about the software you need, create a use case where you can accurately state your requirements. Try to cover three core questions inside this document. Who is the user of the solution? What actions are expected from this software? How often will you need to update your solution over time? After that, analyze which features are critical, and which ones are “nice to have.” Note that if you’re developing a native app, every additional feature will be reflected in the price, but when buying a ready solution, all those extras could be included at no additional cost. On the other hand, if your organization is growing, the expenses for add-ons and further maintenance are inevitable.

Time & budget limits

Probably, the main consideration for custom software development is its cost. We have interviewed one of the business analysists of Elinext software development firm, Hleb Malyshau about it.

“The final price is usually known only after the solution is released, as the most popular (and the most flexible) payment model is “time and material” where you pay for the exact hours spent on the project.” – says the expert.

Proceeding with the budget considerations, look at buying vs. building paradigm as from the cost and benefit perspective. Custom software development vendors offer industry-specific expertise, and their time-to-value performance for already existing solutions is far more beneficial than custom development. It makes sound financial sense to buy a ready solution and saves you minimum 3x of the sum spent on tailor-made solutions.

Implementation of the out-of-the-box software will take you no more than a couple of days, if not hours, while coding routines can last for weeks.


When thinking to involve your tech team into custom software development, you should be led by common sense. Take your time and analyze what should go into your solution and whether the talents of your team are a better fit. You should understand that deciding to build a solution means relying on your development team to develop the solution from scratch, with all the pitfalls following from this, such as crashing after the new release critical changes. As a comparison, ISVs have probably spent a lot of time rolling out their products on a global market to make them smooth, control their quality, and support them.


The development of native software is always followed by meticulous security review process before it can be implemented. You should stick to the security model leveraged by other data in your software. In their turn, ready-made apps security is proven over time, as they’ve already been installed in multiple environments.

Simply put, it’s always cheaper and faster to buy, and there’s no need to reinvent the wheel if you can find a product that satisfies your business needs. However, if you have a great development team in house, your needs are too specific to find a good match among the existing offerings, if you want to create something unique or branded, go with custom software development. In any case, remember: time is better spent working on what you do best.

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