Should an organization design and develop its own custom applications that address its specific quality & safety needs (build), or should it purchase a pre-made package from an outside software firm (buy)?
After years of concentrated development from leading ERP and CRM vendors, would you really want to build your own ERP or CRM application? Then why look at building your own quality & safety application?
The advantage of building software in-house? The ability of the product to meet 100% of the organization’s requirements. You define the requirements; you build the software and you maintain it.
The disadvantages? The software is developed in-house and the domain knowledge that goes into defining the requirements is limited to the expertise and experience of a few people within the organization. If a few key individuals within the application development team happen to leave the organization, a big chunk of knowledge walks out with them.
On the other hand, a good COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) application typically is developed by a vendor after studying the market requirements across a variety of industries or from a specific industry segment. Vendors who focus on different market segments tend to make an effort to better understand the requirements by involving their existing customers as design partners in a good product development strategy. Since their business is software development, they understand cutting-edge development and the new trends in technology, and would be more likely to include the new trends as part of their continuous improvement strategy.
This whitepaper outlines the advantages and disadvantages of both the Build and the Buy approach, and in the end, concludes that it is possible to attain the best of both options.