The FutureList – Step into the Future



Coverage of top innovators and technology trends from across The FutureList community

How Startups Should Approach Building vs Buying Software

The debate between buying off-the-shelf software and building custom solutions is a challenge many startups and scale-ups face. George Ionita from Sand Technologies joins us today to share insights into making the right decisions for your business.

The FutureList: How should a startup or scale-up begin to evaluate whether to buy or build software for their specific needs?

George Ionita: Startups need to consider the core competencies and unique selling points of their business. If a custom solution gives you a competitive edge, building might be the way to go. However, you must also evaluate the time and resource constraints. Buying a ready-made solution can be quicker and more cost-effective in some cases, allowing you to focus on your primary business objectives.

The FutureList: What are the main advantages and drawbacks of building software from scratch?

George Ionita: Building software provides customisation and alignment with unique business requirements. It can lead to a competitive advantage if executed properly. However, the process can be time-consuming, expensive, and requires a skilled development team. The risk of project failure is higher, and maintaining the software can also become a challenge.

The FutureList: How can businesses ensure they don’t overpay when opting to buy existing software solutions?

George Ionita: It’s essential to align the purchased software with business needs. Doing a thorough market analysis, understanding the specific requirements, and evaluating different vendors ensures you select the right product without overpaying. Negotiating with vendors and possibly starting with a basic package that can scale with growth might also be sensible strategies.

The FutureList: Can hybrid solutions be an effective way to bridge the gap between buying and building?

George Ionita: Absolutely! A hybrid approach allows businesses to combine off-the-shelf solutions with customised components. This can provide the best of both worlds – the efficiency of ready-made solutions and the customisation to address unique business needs. But it requires careful planning and may still involve significant resources.

The FutureList: What role do long-term business goals play in this decision-making process?

George Ionita: Long-term goals are paramount in the decision-making process. A short-term fix might seem appealing, but if it doesn’t align with the company’s long-term vision, it can lead to complications and additional costs down the road. Both the scalability and adaptability of the solution should be evaluated with the future in mind.

The FutureList: How should businesses think about the potential impact on their customers when deciding between buying and building?

George Ionita: Customer experience is crucial. If building a customised solution significantly enhances the user experience and aligns with the brand’s promise, it can be a worthwhile investment. On the other hand, if an existing solution meets customer needs and allows faster market entry, buying may be the smarter choice. Always consider how the decision impacts the end-users.

The FutureList: Any final thoughts for startups and scale-ups grappling with this decision?

George Ionita: The decision between buying and building software is complex and unique to each business. Startups and scale-ups should consider their core competencies, long-term vision, customer impact, and resource constraints. Consulting with experienced tech leaders and leveraging hybrid solutions when appropriate can also be a wise approach. The key is to make an informed decision that aligns with the overall business strategy.

George Ionita’s insights shed light on a critical decision-making process for businesses at various growth stages. By balancing long-term objectives, customer needs, and resource considerations, companies can make an informed decision that fosters growth and innovation. Whether buying, building, or finding a hybrid approach, the path to success starts with careful planning and strategic alignment.

Need a second opinion on whether to build or buy your next software need? Get in touch with the team at Sand Technologies.