When to Buy vs Build Business Apps: What’s Right for Your Company?

Sep 26, 2018
8 Min Read
When to Buy vs. Build Business Apps: What’s Right for Your Business?

You’re in the market for a cloud-based work management solution; something that will break through all those efficiency and collaboration barriers frustrating your staff and keeping them from performing at their best. Do you tackle the problem with a ready-made SaaS solution or do you build your own using a no-code development platform? Let’s take a closer look at your needs and explore your options.

The buy approach: why point solutions are popular

For many businesses looking for an immediate fix to a pressing business problem, an online point solution is an attractive choice. It doesn’t require hardware procurement or IT systems maintenance. It’s easy to deploy, and it’s ready to use right out of the box. They get a set of prebuilt features that they can start using right away to help improve things like customer support, HR onboarding, IT service management, project management, and other common business operations. They also don’t have to worry about scaling, software upgrades, or security, because the services provider takes care of all of that for you.

If your data and process needs are static and generic, and you don’t mind a one-size-fits-all approach, this could be the perfect solution for you—and for many companies out there, it is.

Sounds good, but what are the downsides?

Designed for the masses, point solutions do just that; they target pain points within areas that are common across all businesses (think CRM or ITSM). So, if you’re looking for a unique solution that’s outside the realm of typical mainstream operations—like a system to more efficiently support internal compliance activities—finding an out-of-the-box solution that fits will likely end in frustration.

A point solution also won’t be your best bet if you want to streamline and automate existing processes, or need a solution that requires regular updates to keep pace with changing business or customer requirements. Prebuilt, single-purpose solutions offer a “what you see is what you get” proposition. They’re not set up to easily accommodate customization or future updates.

Many companies that choose a stand-alone system approach to problem-solving often end up deploying multiple systems from different vendors. Managing across an environment of disparate applications and tools can be a complex endeavor, and the data silos they create can impact interdepartmental collaboration. Integrating systems, if it’s even possible, will require learning their different data structures, understanding their business rules, and using application programming interfaces (APIs) to connect.

The build approach: can I really build my own apps instead?

A common misconception about today’s business app development platforms is that you need to have programming skills to use them. The truth is no-code platforms, like Quick Base, make it easy to build and maintain your own problem-solving apps with basic spreadsheet skills and knowledge you already have about your data and processes.

Most of the application code is generated automatically, triggered by point-and-click actions and visual cues. Not only will you be able to easily build and deploy your own custom apps, you’ll also do it faster than going through a busy IT department—and much less expensively and more flexibly than prepackaged point solutions.

Compared to out-of-the-box solutions, building your own applications may require an upfront investment in time to map your processes and plan your app. But you’ll benefit in the long run by having a tool completely customized to your processes now and one that can adapt with your business as your needs change.

Four good arguments for modern app development

No-code app development platforms, like Quick Base, have become increasingly appealing, cost-efficient alternatives to single-purpose applications, especially when:

  1. You want a better fit and a broader focus. A no-code app development platform empowers you to create apps that simplify and automate tasks, processes, and workflows that are already in place for a custom fit with a familiar look and feel. You’ll also be able to solve for a multitude of business challenges across teams and departments, building a connected ecosystem of apps that share one database with a single source of truth.
  2. You need seamless collaboration and fewer integration headaches. Everything happens on a secure, scalable cloud platform where all your apps and their data resides. Information within and between apps is effortlessly shared with the right roles and permissions access. And the means to connect apps with external systems and data sources is broader and more straightforward than with prebuilt solutions.
  3. You want to speed time-to-value. Each new point system deployed represents another learning curve for your team, and likely another vendor you’ll need to work with. With one development platform and a common user interface across all apps, everyone from app administrators, to new builders, to users can hit the ground running—no matter how many apps are introduced.
  4. Responsiveness is vital to your business. A no-code app development platform not only enables you to quickly create problem-solving apps when and where needed, but it also lets you make real-time updates without having to call in costly and time-consuming professional coding resources. In your hands, operations remain highly responsive to changing business needs and customer expectations.

Catching the no-code wave

No-code app development platforms are fast becoming the preferred way for business professionals to quickly and economically build and deliver results-getting solutions to all levels of an organization. Even large corporations that have traditionally opted for prebuilt point solutions to support the needs of core departments are recognizing the transformational successes that today’s “build it yourself” crowd is achieving. Who wouldn’t be interested in driving a more cost- and time-efficient, agile, and competitive business?

Learn how easy it is to put your ideas into action and step into a no-code builder role with Quick Base

Contact us to learn more!
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