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Sounds very Shakespearean, doesn’t it? ‘Tis the question you should ask, as the list of SaaS software companies that try to disrupt or replace current systems continues to grow: do I build it, or do I buy it?Here’s what you need to think about when deciding between an out-of-the-box sales enablement solution and building a tool yourself.

Cost of development
The most obvious consideration to make is your total cost of building a tool. How much would it cost to create a solution tailored to your business needs, either in-house or with an agency?

App design is not a one-time cost. The cost of creating an app is only the tip of the iceberg if you line up all associated spends. In addition to a project manager or in-house engineers, you might need to hire consultants or pay hidden fees to get everything sorted out, not to mention pay maintenance fees and buy support packages – which I’ll elaborate on in a bit.

For your reference, the average cost to build a custom business app on a single mobile platform is $270,000 – and that doesn’t take into account any additional costs required to maintain the app. Moreover, most build projects go over budget by 27%. One in six end up costing three times more and take 70% longer to deliver than the original estimates, according to Harvard Business Review.

Buying an out-of-the-box solution, on the other hand, can free up your budget and your team. In most cases, you’ll know the total cost price of a SaaS solution up front. And, when the solution can be deployed quickly, there’s potential for a quick return on investment. Since SaaS companies are typically built to solve a specific problem, they have the best resources to solve your business problem readily available – all included in the known price.

Quality and maintenance
Let’s say you’ve built an app that addresses your current business needs together with a team. Don’t forget about that team, as you’ll be dependent on them to maintain the system and push updates that are compatible with your needs, and the latest technology and industry standards.

How will you address these dependencies? Here’s the answer: by paying extra.

  • Around 70% of the cost to develop a custom solution is needed year after year to maintain it.

  • According to Gartner, the average annual licensing cost for mobile app development platforms ranges from $25,000 to $100,000 per year.

  • Monthly maintenance costs for medium-sized enterprise applications range between $5,000 to $11,000 per month, and can cost up to $25,000 per month.

  • More than 80% of enterprise mobile application development professionals report updating their apps at least twice a year, and nearly a third update at least once a month. 

Looking back at our SaaS example, you can bet that continuous updates will be delivered, proactively, to ensure the best user experience at all times. Dedicated QA teams will make sure these new updates have been thoroughly tested in diverse environments with varied use cases, including yours. That while only paying a monthly subscription per user.

Time to value
Now that you have your newly-built solution, can I ask how much time it took before it was rolled out? Let me rephrase, as this question is actually two-fold:

  1. How long did it take to define the desired features of the solution?
  2. How much time was spent to design, develop and test your custom app?

Chances are the realization of your project took a bit longer than anticipated. Don’t worry though –this happens to everyone.

An out-of-the-box solution can be very quick to deploy. Ours, for example, can be set up and deployed in 6 to 9 weeks thanks to our dedicated customer success team.

The comparison doesn’t stop here either. If you’d like to get a full overview, take a look at our infographic below.



Last update: May 10, 2017
To build, or not to build?

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