Digital collaboration is the practice of people working together using software platforms to help guide them through complex tasks that may previously have been addressed with long and inefficient team meetings.
Effective communication with better teamwork across disciplines and also between peer companies can be promoted by the adoption of collaborative platforms, which are designed to ensure that working together becomes significantly more streamlined and intuitive.
When choosing an end-to-end software solution for collaboration, you have the option of buying a finished product or building your own solution. In this blog article, we will discuss the pros and cons of both options.
As this article is somewhat extensive, we have for your convenience highlighted the content here:
1. What is Buying or Building
2. Buying a Solution
3. Building a Solution
What is buying or building
Historically, it’s been common to build a new software solution, as suitable commercial alternatives did not exist. In addition, each company believed it was unique in some aspect of the workflow being addressed.
However, this trend is about to change as several newly completed products are entering the market, allowing companies to adopt a domain specific platform and tailor it to meet the specifics of their workflows.
When buying a finished product, you get software developed by someone who has drilling and wells domain expertise. This expertise is utilized to build a common solution appropriate for a wide commercial audience, not specifically the processes you have developed internally.
Building a software solution requires that you hire a development company to develop and deliver the software. These companies are often generic developers, delivering products/systems to several different industries.
When hiring general competence in software development, you have to take charge of the scope, the user requirements, making sure that the developers understand the use-case and also managing cost and progress internally.
As you can see, there are positive and negative sides to both building and buying a software solution. When deciding whether to build or buy, begin by evaluating your needs and requirements. Next, identify if there are any solutions available in the market that meets those needs. Examine the pros and cons of the solution(s), and the cost of a finished product – then do the same with a build-solution.
Let’s have a closer look at the pros and cons of each option.
Buying a solution
When buying a finished product there are several things to keep in mind.
- You get to test the finished product prior to buying it. Companies will let you trial the product to complete a proper evaluation before signing the contract.
- The product is financed by multiple customers, hence you split the cost with other companies. Consequently, you avoid internal investment costs.
- It’s easy to get and easy to cancel. Many modern solutions in 2022 are licenced on SaaS (software as a solution) model where you pay an ongoing subscription charge that can be cancelled whenever you need. It’s easy to get the product, and easy to terminate the deal.
- You get a product from someone who has this as a core competence, opposed to having a developer who works in a broader generic area and might find it hard to understand the subtleties of the use-case.
- Feedback comes from a larger customer group (both internally and from other users externally) and suggestions for improvements are implemented to the entire customer group.
- Buying a product can force your company to progress the way you work in a positive manner, rather than sticking to the 'we’ve always done it this way' mindset.
- There are fewer opportunities for customization. It is the sum of industry needs and wants that count, not your own specific needs.
- The solution can demand changes in your work processes which might not be suitable for your company.
- Product updates and releases are controlled by the software company. It might not be possible to get updates with new features when you want or need them.
Read more: How to Test Digital Solutions for Drilling and Well Operations
Building a solution
You probably have an idea of what the pros and cons of building a solution are based on the previous section, but let’s have a look.
- You have total control over the functionality of the product, the development, and what features you want. In other words, you can create a completely customized product.
- When needing a small, specific software solution, building your own might be the most profitable alternative. If it is a small software tool, cost of ownership might be lower as you don’t need the monthly subscription.
- The cost of building your own solution is significantly higher than buying a finished product, because you have to finance the development on your own.
- Creating a product based on how you currently work can be a positive thing as discussed in the previous section, however it can also be a challenge as you keep working “the old way”.
- The project might not go according to the scheduled plan in terms of cost and time. You might agree on a scope before building, but as software solutions for drilling and wells is not their expert area, you risk the cost increasing by 2, 3, 4 times. Controlling the schedule and cost is challenging.
- You have to finance the support and maintenance cost on your own versus calling a 24h support line that is financed by a great number of customers.
- A software solution will need continuous development that you are responsible for doing and financing.
- The product will be based on your needs instead of on feedback from a large group of people, possibly leaving you with a product which is very 'person dependent'.
Read more: What are the Benefits of a Totally Integrated Digital Planning and Execution Package
As you can tell there are advantages and disadvantages in both buying and building a software solution for collaboration. It is crucial that you evaluate what you need and what products in the market fit those needs.
With this overview of pros and cons of buying or building we hope to assist you in choosing the right option for your company.