Sergej is the CEO of amastyone of the leading Magento extension providers who build their products and services around customer needs.
Before ecommerce platforms, technology like this was affordable only for large-scale businesses with deep IT budgets. Now any store with a budget of a few thousand dollars can successfully open a fully functional online store. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Yes, until you face the challenge of growing the platform’s functionality and developing it in response to increasing business needs. So one day you are faced with a choice: buy a turnkey solution or outsource the development. I tend to believe that the answer to this question is always case by case.
What to keep in mind when making your choice
Every choice is a risk. In a previous article, I shared some common practices for approaching risk management. The risks arising from the choice of software relate to the concept of: complexity, which refers to events that you can predict, but are difficult to manage due to the high number of interactions. The best way to deal with complexity, as cliché as it may sound, is to simplify.
So let’s simplify to the pros and cons of each of the options – this is essential for assessing risk.
There are benefits to buying software that’s already built. They contain:
• Rapid implementation: Good quality software, delivered quickly and reliably.
• No extra equipment: Installation is done on the platform and you can configure the settings as you like.
• Relatively low price with lower start-up costs: You can use the product immediately after purchase, without spending more money.
• Flexible cooperation conditions: Many software comes with special offers and support services.
As for the cons:
• Product Layout Limitations: Customization options are very limited and there is no or very little variation possible.
• Costly support and maintenance: There are additional costs for regular maintenance and technical assistance.
• Long-term relationship unlikely: Long-term relationships with a supplier are difficult to establish and are the exception rather than the rule.
Custom software development
These are the benefits of outsourcing custom software.
• Thoughtful process: The project is designed based on your unique business requirements.
• Custom Layouts: There are no restrictions on the customization options, so a lot of variation is possible.
• Full control: As a stakeholder of the project you always have the last word.
• Support costs included: The necessary support is provided in all phases of the project.
• Long-term relationship likely: This is because project delivery takes a much longer period of time and includes post-production support.
• Real-time change and flexibility: The development conditions are flexible enough to meet all your wishes regarding the end result.
However, there are also drawbacks to this approach.
• Expensive: Developing custom software from scratch is much more expensive than buying a ready-made software.
• Time consuming: Time to market will take much longer than buying a turnkey solution.
• Additional Resources: You need the extra time investment to complete the project.
A hybrid solution
If you can’t find a turnkey option that meets all your business requirements and aren’t willing to pay a large amount for outsourced development, consider at least two approaches.
• Software based: Let’s say you have and use out-of-the-box software, but it doesn’t fully meet the needs of your growing business. You can outsource the customization to ensure that it fully meets the new requirements. When you compare this approach to developing the software from scratch, you tend to spend a lot less time and money, especially if you bought this solution from the same vendor that provides custom services.
• Business based: If you don’t have a turnkey solution, to save money on custom software development, you can contact a company that offers both turnkey solutions and custom development. With a wide variety of extensions available, they can build a complete solution from pre-built and modified pieces of code, while saving you time and money.
Keep in mind that your business is unique, keep in mind that you will inevitably have to solve the dilemma of functionality or speed.
Functionality: For special functions, it may be worth outsourcing rather than creating your own team with non-core expertise for your business. But be prepared to spend more time and money than originally expected.
Speed: You can buy ready-made products, but be aware of restrictions. This can be a good reason to first find out exactly what you are looking for and establish a clear vision. Then consider whether a hybrid solution can give you the best of both worlds.