We talk to many ISV’s (software developers) and often the topic of them writing their own solution comes up.
Even I have to admit this idea is very tempting, after all, you write software for your customers, you know what you’re doing. It should be simple to knock-up a PSA solution that is perfectly designed for your business, not a compromise package that leaves you frustrated and still using spreadsheets. With all that open-source code out there, system build is getting significantly cheaper and quicker, this should be easy.
Plus, PSA solutions are inevitably sold on a per user basis so any package you buy seems like a tax on success. If you build your own there is no additional charge for growth, brilliant! However, once they’ve finished celebrating all that money they are going to save and the vendor freedom they will delight in, the real world and reality creeps in.
The first, and perhaps most important argument against and internal build is that it will detract from the purpose of the business, the software you write for and sell to others. The revenue from this pays the wages, any time spend on in-house development just costs you money. Plus, this is not just about building, it’s also about testing. Think of the time you will be distracted testing the internal solution and getting it right. This cost is frequently overlooked in business cases, it shouldn’t be.
Presumably you are considering a PSA solution because you have an immediate problem to solve (otherwise why now?). Companies never consider improved automation when they’re shrinking, but it is always on the agenda when they’re growing. A bought product can be live almost immediately, an internal build will take a long time to develop and so delay the benefits. While you’re waiting for the internal solution, that problem is only getting worse and probably inhibiting the potential growth that started the thought process.
Then there is the functionality you want. It starts simple, tight and focused on the main inhibitor to growth. Our enquiries are the same, “I just need this thing solved, I won’t use the rest…”. Three demo’s later, we’re showing them the entire system. An internal build is not immune to scope creep, indeed an agreement could be made that in encourages it. If you build it, you will have to develop every feature yourself, with a purchase, you get benefits from money others spend on the product to develop features you can use.
Lastly, do not think this is a one-off distraction. No system can remain unchanged. This decision is about investing in an internal solution forever. There will need to be a standing budget representing an on-going headcount distraction from the purpose of the business. If you take a typical 30 person software shop, you can license a SAAS PSA tool for the equivalent cost of about 1 developer day per week, roughly the same as the time the in-house solution would probably take to support and enhance. This is without considering how much it cost to write.
So, do the maths correctly and it will never make sense to build what can be bought. The real challenge is finding a system that is flexible enough not to leave you with the frustrations.
HarmonyPSA is designed with total flexibility in mind, why not contact us and we will show you how it can work for your business and help you grow, fast.
About the Author: Harmony Business Systems Ltd (HBS) is the company behind HarmonyPSA, the most complete cloud PSA software on the market. Developed with functionality to cater for even the most complex needs of MSPs, VARs, ISVs and Professional Services organisations, HarmonyPSA truly is the next generation of PSA systems. HBS is an independent company based in the UK. Follow HarmonyPSA on Twitter or LinkedIn