Buy vs. Build – is there a 3rd way?

The age old CIO dilemma.  Buy vs. Build.

On the one hand, you buy in a package from a vendor.  They bring industry “best” practice.  They guarantee that your administration is as good as your competitors.  The trouble is that it is equally as bad as your competitors.  So it puts you in an equal position, not an advantageous one.  The lowest common denominator?  At the very least you are making your business subservient to the vendor’s view of the world.  Sometimes this can be good, sometimes it can be bad.

The traditional alternative is to build your own system.  For the purposes of this argument, I am placing this in the same category as buying a package from a vendor and then trying to tailor it to your environment.  The former can be very rewarding and can differentiate you greatly, but can also be very expensive.  The latter is almost always the worst of both worlds and creates expensive and long term projects, contorted business solutions, and a support headache long into the future.

So is there a third way?  I think so.

Your existing systems can adapt to changing business requirements if there is a process management layer capable of making sense of the existing infrastructure.  This can lead to business agility on a new scale if you implement it properly.

With the right tools and methodologies, new horizons are possible.  New standards in customer interaction, faster service, better compliance, process adherence, first time resolution and other desirable customer outcomes are all possible….in the short term.

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