For growing and established businesses, it can feel like every day there’s a need for a new tool or technology that makes things easier or optimizes processes. One day you might need a project management tool, another day you may get asked for a multi-factor authentication system, and the next your accounting department could pop up and request a new payroll tool.
And as you evaluate all of these tools and requests, the same question comes up over and over again: do we build it or do we buy it? After all, like most other companies, you have tech offerings and engineers that build them — so why would you spend your budget on a new tool when you could ask them to create something similar?
Well, it’s not quite as simple as that. When you invest in a new tool, you get a lot more than just the technology. Here’s a look at some of the benefits of spending money on a new tool.
Imagine you need a tool to share your SOC 2 report or other sensitive materials with potential customers. You want the application to securely send those assets, with no chance of them being leaked, and you want to easily manage access to each document.
Now, your software developers may be able to provide these functionalities for you. However, they’d need the time to learn about this space, build the tool, test it, and then roll it out. In practice, this means pulling people away from their core tasks and limiting their ability to contribute to your company’s own software. In a time where tech companies have to move fast if they want to stay relevant, that’s an investment that rarely pays off.
Buying a tool, meanwhile, means you can have the functionality available almost immediately — and your software development team can remain focused on your own technology.
Chances are, you’re not a security company and you don’t specialize in secure tools. So having your engineers spin their wheels to create a tool that facilitates compliance, for example, is not only a waste of valuable resources, it’s also inherently risky.
By choosing an out-of-the-box solution, you get access to the deep expertise and knowledge that went into creating it. The developers behind the tool would have been chosen for their experience and ability to create the right functionalities — ultimately reducing the risk of something going wrong once you put it to use.
When you build a tool, the work isn’t done once it’s in production. You still need resources tasked with maintaining the software when an issue arises, when new security patches have to be deployed, or to set up new integrations.
When you subscribe to a new technology, however, it’s the vendor’s responsibility to manage all of those updates and implement them for you. For large enterprise contracts, many technology vendors will also provide support teams that are available to specific customers on an ongoing basis.
Building your own tools — tools that you don’t always have the resources to update and further develop — can significantly add to your technical debt. If you’re running old software and keep deploying quick fixes to big problems, you’re bound to end up with a major issue at some point. This could be anything from impeding the user experience to creating a security vulnerability that bad actors can exploit.
The upfront cost of a new tool may look intimidating now as you plan your budget, but it’s a drop in the bucket of what you could be spending on remediating a larger issue down the line.
Tech companies are always evolving their tools based on the feedback they get from their customers. If you buy a technology solution that’s used across multiple organizations, you indirectly get the benefit of their feedback and use cases as the tool evolves.
At Pima, for instance, we do this in a couple of ways. We’ve worked with some of our customers to get accounts of how they use our tool, so that others can leverage those same practices. Plus, we’ve evolved our secure document sharing tool to meet the needs of our customers with automated watermarking, NDA capabilities, document history data, and access management.
Pima.app makes it easier than ever to share compliance documents with third parties. Learn how.