A CIO recently asked me what guidelines I use when consulting on a build vs buy decision. This is a fair question considering Volano Solutions is a premier custom software developer in Omaha.
My answer: only build custom software when it makes sense. By this I mean if you can purchase good software to satisfy your need, you shouldn’t build. Volano wouldn’t advise a customer to “build GoToMeeting”, but many times building custom software is the right choice. Here are three considerations:
Using software as a competitive advantage. If you’re using software as a utility, gaining a competitive advantage is not likely. For instance, everyone has email, so custom building a better email system isn’t going to give you a leg up on the competition. However, if your business involves managing a complex workflow process, like auditing medical records or installing water filtration systems around the globe, then a custom software system can put you ahead of the competition. Volano has built both systems and a good number more. We can attest that solutions like these allow companies to be highly specialized and very efficient. Would-be competitors cannot purchase off-the-shelf software and play in the same league.
Package software products don’t always fit the need. In our formative days, Volano used BaseCamp to track details about our projects, including our time entries. We quickly found the software didn’t allow us to effectively report our time. We couldn’t easily see actuals vs estimates. There were other irritations too. It became obvious that we needed to create our own system for managing project details and so we did. We call the system “Timefly,” and it is central to all aspects of our business. Timefly allows Volano to run effectively and efficiently across multiple teams, without the use of whiteboards or spreadsheets.
A simplified, native, tailored approach is preferred. Software should be easy to use, but if the software is ‘everything to everyone’ then ease-of-use is lost in a sea of buttons and un-used fields. Custom software is, by definition, tailor fit. Software is much more approachable when it is distilled to its requisite functions, and it is built from the ground up around your unique business processes.
Check out this post if you’re interested in 4 symptoms that your business needs software in the first place.
September 14, 2022
Why build software of our own? Any good story of a project starts with a problem that needs to be addressed. We work with many clients in the manufacturing vertical and during our time spent with them, we noticed a challenge with synchronization with their dealers. Much of the dealers’ in-office time was spent hunting […]
May 23, 2022
Is local the real secret sauce leaders deploy for a successful development project? Rod Smith, Volano Software Partner, and Co-founder defines the benefits of working with a local development shop.
March 25, 2022
Are you relentlessly passionate about every detail and every pixel when it comes to front-end development? We’re looking to add a Senior Front-end Developer to join our growing team. At Volano, you will work with a variety of clients and projects alongside a remarkable team of back-end and front-end developers, designers, and management to build […]
March 15, 2022
It was 8:00 am on a sunny morning in Hawaii in January. People were hustling to get to their typical morning responsibilities. Cars were on the highway commuting to work, school, and other destinations when all of a sudden chaos breaks out. People start to panic, kids have been thrust down sewers for safety, everyone […]
February 7, 2022
As we continue to grow, we’re looking for an experienced ASP.NET MVC Developer to join our team. At Volano you will work within our high-functioning team to build web and mobile applications for our clients that make their work easier.
November 5, 2021
As we continue to grow, we’re looking for an experienced Senior Front-End Web Developer to join our team. At Volano you will work within our high-functioning team to build web and mobile applications for our clients that make their work easier.