There will be a moment in the development of your business where you will have to decide between creating an in-house tool or using a standard version. Here are some tips to simplify this difficult situation.
Developing your business involves creating new tools to support this expansion. Whether it’s a CRM, a newsletter, a new website or an online payment system, you’ll have to decide if you want to use a standard or unique tool.
For your newsletter, you might want to use a pre-existing solution such as Apsis or Mailchimp. Your payment system could be managed by Google Checkout or Amazon payment. Your CMS could use WordPress, Drupal or Joomla.
All of these solutions exist and provide the tools you will need.
Another possible approach would be to develop the tools you need yourself.
How to decide? Keep in mind that your ultimate goal is to have a system that helps you update your content easily, without any technical knowledge, from any computer with internet access and without installing any software.
Use standard tools
This is what the majority of companies choose. Using a standard system and customizing it to your needs can be a very effective solution at a lower cost.
Why choose a standard tool?
The use of an existing tool such as a CMS or a newsletter management system is generally faster, easier and does not require special knowledge.
Develop an in-house program
Only a few people decide to develop their programs internally. In general, large companies with large budgets choose this option.
Personally, I have always developed all of my tools. Recently, I created a CMS, a newsletter sending system with tracking features and a payment system for an eCommerce platform.
Why bother creating tools while others are pre-existing?
Creating an in-house tool requires having a programmer on his team and takes considerably longer than using a standard system. In addition, your programmer must correctly document the program and have real project management skills.
On the other hand, your program will be more flexible, more adapted to your needs, in adequacy with your design, will not require any additional investment and will be unique, different from all your competitors.
How to choose
The decision can be easy to make.
You need to analyze three key aspects: your budget, your needs, and your ability to develop your system internally.
If you decide to use a standard system, you will probably have to buy it. Take into account your budget: purchase, installation, maintenance, update … all these elements have a cost.
Do you have very specific needs? Could you use a standard system? Will your needs change over time?
Do you have a pool of programmers in your team? Do they share their knowledge or are they specialized? Can one take back the work of the other? Are they able to document their work effectively (if you are not sure of this specific point, I invite you to read my article “The importance of an effective code structure”)?
In general, the use of standard tools is more suitable for 90% of companies. Creating your own tools makes sense only when you have extremely specific needs, a particularly unsuitable budget or a passion for internal development. To achieve this, your entire team will need to participate, comment and help identify problems so that the program can be continually improved.
If you decide to take this direction and create your own tool, let us know and share your experience below!