We’re taking a deep dive into that age-old debate: build or buy?

It’s never easy to avoid the siren song of building products in-house, especially when it comes to tech. You’ve got a talented engineering team and a wealth of plug-ins that seem to fit your needs — why not build a custom technology solution yourself?

When a Build Goes Bust

There’s one very simple reason why you’re better served buying an off-the-shelf solution instead of doing it yourself — DIY solutions are often over-budget and under-equipped at best, and disastrous at worst.

According to a terrifying McKinsey survey of IT executives from 2012, large IT projects run over budget 45% of the time, while delivering 56% less value than planned. And it (and IT) gets worse — McKinsey also found that 17% of projects prove so disastrous that they “threaten the very existence of the company.”

As ThomasNet President Mark Holst-Knudsen told a 2014 CIO Symposium at MIT, “Really, you shouldn’t build anything that’s available off the shelf because it’s not a source of competitive advantage if everybody else can avail themselves of it. The only scenario where you should build is if it’s your core technology — the core source of your competitive differentiation and competitive advantage.”

And even when everything does go according to plan, consider the opportunity cost to your engineering teams and other stakeholders. Not only does building a solution that is already available distract teams from projects that could better advance your business, but it also means that engineering team must maintain the custom solutions — squashing bugs, updating APIs, and more.

It’s Not Just the Lesser of Two Evils

Relationship Commerce is a holistic solution to customer engagement — it relies upon a set of core competencies and domain expertise that encompass every part of the user journey. In other words, it’s not something that can be accomplished piecemeal.

In fact, when it comes to the great Build or Buy? debate, we’re probably asking the wrong question. The right solution provider for effective Relationship Commerce should be a partner, not just another vendor.

All Relationship Commerce is not the same — people don’t buy cosmetics the same way they purchase groceries — so any RC-centric tech solution should reflect your customers’ unique needs. And a partnership with a platform provider like Ordergroove means that you’ll have the ability to customize customer experiences to match your differentiated brand and leverage API’s for integrations that are optimized to your business.