good reasons exist for favoring an in-house solution. Here are some of the arguments in favor of building:
- The business need is unique. It may be order entry, but your orders are nothing like the world has ever seen before.
- No off-the-shelf product exists for this business function. Maybe the problem is not order entry but predicting order quantities for raw materials based on projected weather patterns for the next 30 days. This certainly would not be your mainstream application.
- The interface is complex. By the time you integrate a packaged solution into your process control system, you could have written everything from scratch three times.
- You may be paving the cow path. Sure they do things this way, and you can program the system to accommodate that. But why do they do it that way? Do they even know? (And by the way, “Because we have always done it this way” is not a valid answer.) Just because the business processes have evolved over time does not mean they have been refined over time.
- It may be expensive to develop. No check was written, so it didn’t cost anything, right? After all, the programmer’s time is already paid for. First, if your company’s management is actually using this type of thinking, you are (or will be) in a world of hurt that package selection can’t begin to solve. Second, development can be much more expensive than you might think. Don’t let a single large package price tag scare you. The cost of your development team, the time taken from the user departments during all phases of development, and the opportunity cost of the work not done on some other project is the dollar amount that should scare you.
- It may be expensive to maintain. Maintaining an application and keeping it running on the current platform (which may mean dealing with a succession of platforms) can be an expensive proposition.
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Dec 13th, 2014
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