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Make it yourself vs outsource

The pros and cons of building your own database or paying someone else to do it.
© Edinburgh Napier University

Should You Build Your Database In-house or Outsource It?

In today’s data-driven environment it is crucial that you build a data analytics competency to avoid a competitive disadvantage. In determining whether to build a database in-house or outsource it, you should take your business’ unique circumstances into consideration. Also be aware that the choice you make can have wide-ranging consequences for your ability to exploit data in the future. To help you decide, here are the pros and cons of of outsourcing and building in house.

In-House Software

Pros Cons
Developing your own software allows a higher level of customisation and control. Interfaces can be designed to fit your specific needs and can therefore be much more efficient than commercial packages. It is important to talk to your developer about where you think opportunities lie. Frame your ideas around these opportunities so they can create suitable solutions for you. Having your own team can give you access to knowledgeable support which can minimise maintenance expenses and reduce downtime from technical errors. In-house skills shortage may represent the biggest drawback to developing sophisticated software that can handle all of the business-specific tasks you require. You may find yourself forced to consult external experts who may lack familiarity with your specific business needs. It is therefore crucial to make sure you know exactly what you want from the database and that you are able to communicate this clearly to outside consultants. Other aspects to consider with custom software is scalability and Future proofing. Can it grow and adapt to evolving technology? If not, this can result in ongoing costs.

Commercial Software

Pros Cons
Commercial software can be beneficial because it is usually tried and tested by other businesses which can ease integration. Because it has been created by highly skilled developers, it tends to be cutting-edge and has fewer errors, issues and complications. Commercial off-the-shelf software can usually be deployed and installed immediately, which means predictable cost and time-saving advantage in a fast-paced business world. Commercial software can be accompanied by high maintenance and support costs as you will be dependent on the vendor to resolve and technical issues. This restricts control and can result in high expenses and time-loss. You may have to wait for support or struggle to reach a technician.
© Edinburgh Napier University
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