In the search for the right MarTech solution, companies are faced with the decision to buy a ready-made, market-adapted software product or to develop a tool themselves. Both options have advantages and disadvantages. This article explains which essential factors decision-makers should consider when making their choice.
In order to clarify the question of whether a MarTech tool should be developed in-house or purchased in the form of a SaaS solution, decision-makers should not rely on just one argument. A multitude of criteria must be taken into account. These are:
A self-developed MarTech solution can be adapted exactly to the needs of the company. Instead of being overwhelmed by the multitude of features, half of which may not even be used - as can be the case with SaaS solutions - the range of functions can be limited to the actual needs. It becomes problematic when new functions are needed later. These have to be developed additionally.
A buy solution offers the advantage of having a functional scope right from the start that is based on the needs and expectations of the market. It can make sense to purchase a modular SaaS solution where the functions are provided to the extent that they are needed by the company.
In this context, it can be helpful to ask yourself the following questions in advance when considering the question "Build or Buy?":
If software available on the market can be adapted to the company's needs, it makes more sense in terms of complexity and cost to prefer the buy solution - although companies should bear in mind that customization usually requires the services of the vendor. They should take this into account when planning costs.
Conversely, self-development can make sense if existing solutions are not sufficiently adapted. It should be noted, however, that even if a SaaS solution does not exactly map the workflow that the company needs, it is often worthwhile to purchase it. Mostly, the software's functions are sufficient to cover 80 percent of the requirements, which already corresponds to a considerable gain in efficiency.
Build solutions are primarily characterized by the fact that companies are independent of the vendor's pricing policy, development cycles, or support.
However, this also means that companies are on their own with any problem that may arise and cannot fall back on the support of an experienced software provider. In addition, they become dependent on a different kind of developer: the one they hired. If the brains behind the MarTech tool leave the company, his successor and the remaining team are dependent on clean documentation.
With the build solution, companies have to calculate several unknowns: There are man-hours to plan for the development of the tool and later still costs for maintenance and further development. The first step would be to build a team of developers.
But developers are hardly available and would also have to be paid attractively. If sufficient financial resources are available and the company is considered attractive in the industry, it can make sense to write the software yourself. But if the budget is limited, there is more to be said for acquiring the SaaS solution.
The question of when a tool can be used is very important. If there is no time pressure, it can make sense to develop the solution in-house. But, the development can take a long time; in the end, however, there is a well-thought-out product that has ideally been subjected to comprehensive quality analysis.
If it is a short- to a medium-term solution, the buy option has the advantage. Many MarTech solutions can be used immediately. Quality analysis and upgrades are carried out by the respective provider.
Companies should ask themselves to what extent the tool can be used as a competitive advantage. An example: For a company that relies on making early contact with customers via chatbots, an appropriate chatbot tool is crucial. In this case, it can make sense to build the software yourself and tailor it to the company - also against the background that the tool can be resold if necessary. However, it remains to be considered that the development of the software can take years.
If the software only plays a subordinate role in terms of competition, it is usually advisable to purchase a solution.
If you answer "yes" to these questions, it may make sense for you to develop the software solution yourself.
If the answer to these questions is "yes", the purchase option is the better solution.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question "Build or Buy?" because the needs and requirements of individual companies vary. For most, the buy option will be the more suitable, as resources are usually limited. Companies that can afford in terms of time and finances to develop the software for their own needs in the long term are likely to tend more towards the build variant.