Make or buy / build or use - does a new app really make sense

  • Claes Lennman

Make or buy? Build your own or use the existing? These are recurring questions when dealing with digital strategy. I am happy, as a product owner and business developer, to share some tips with you.

Does a new app really make sense ?

Do not forget the first question. It has to make sense to develop a new app and write lines and lines of code. What will your total cost of ownership be when you compare building everything from scratch vs. integrating existing solutions as part of your product or service? Is there a benefit to reinventing the wheel? What part of your solution is your USP? Where do you need to stand out and have a high degree of control? Answering these questions should help you choose and optimize your ROI and time to market.

Pay attention to unforeseen costs

Another aspect that we like to consider when deciding whether to use existing products or services as part of the solutions we build is maintainability. How much will we need to tweek or customize those parts? Using existing products or services in your solution for use cases they were not intended for often seems like a creative way to go fast. But, the reality may be different. Maintaining the tweeks and the heavy customization in the solution can cause problems and unforeseen costs and delays.

Why should your target clients change their preferences?

Likewise, ask yourself if your goals are better reached by building your own solution at all! As an example, if you want to be part of your target audience’s world by offering them a space to communicate with each other, will they use it? Your product or service never lives in unoccupied spaces. Why should your target clients change their preferences? Will they really leave their existing facebook or whatsapp groups and switch to your solution? If you find a real pain point in their existing solutions and solve it much better, then you stand a chance.

Choosing an existing app allows you to move faster and take advantage of consumers' habits. Custom allows you to be unique. Always measure the risks and evaluate the needs.

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