Decision Point for the Build vs. Buy Software Sourcing Decision

Archived Published: 03 July 2012 ID: G00235090

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Every organization has a perceived software buy-versus-build policy. But one policy cannot fit all situations, and more nuanced options are available, such as borrow (open-source software [OSS]) or rent (software as a service [SaaS]). Ill-advised purchases, pet custom development, and inconsistent decision making have contributed to technical debt. What constitutes a consistent set of evaluation criteria to remove biases from the decision? This Decision Point provides guidelines for organizations that are sourcing software so that they can make form-factor decisions that match their architecture principles, requirements, and constraints.

Table of Contents

  • Decision Point
  • Decision Context
    • Business Scenario
      • Supporting Business Strategies
    • Architectural Context
      • Timing Is Everything
      • Systems Thinking Required
      • All Build or Buy Decisions Require Brokering
    • Related Decisions
    • Decision Assumptions
  • Evaluation Criteria
    • Requirements and Constraints
      • Software Type
      • Resource Constraints
      • Strategic Sourcing Considerations
      • Technical Architecture Requirements
      • Financial Considerations
      • Risk Management
    • Principles
  • Alternatives
    • Custom-Developed Software (Build)
      • Summary of Advantages and Disadvantages of CDS
      • Support for Evaluation Criteria
    • Open-Source Software (Borrow)
      • Summary of Advantages and Disadvantages of OSS
      • Support for Evaluation Criteria
    • Commercial Off-the-Shelf Software (Buy)
      • COTS Upgrade Cycles
      • Summary of Advantages and Disadvantages of COTS Software
      • Support for Evaluation Criteria
    • Software as a Service (Rent)
      • Summary of Advantages and Disadvantages of SaaS
      • Support for Evaluation Criteria
    • Comparing Form-Factor Examples
    • Comparing and Contrasting Alternatives
  • Future Developments
    • Trend for ISVs to Move Toward SaaS Delivery Model
    • Relieving Demand Pressure with Shadow IT
    • Emergence of New Custom Development Sourcing Models
    • Application Delivery Trends
    • Custom Development Productivity
  • Decision Tool
    • Software Type Decision Tool
    • Form-Factor Decision Tool
      • Form-Factor Assessment Scores
      • Individual Score Sheets and Explanations
      • Alternative Assessment Tool
      • Gap Analysis
  • Decision Justification
    • Use CDS (Build)
    • Use OSS (Borrow)
    • Use COTS Software (Buy)
    • Use SaaS (Rent)
  • Recommended Reading
  • Notes
© 2012 Gartner, Inc. and/or its Affiliates. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction and distribution of this publication in any form without prior written permission is forbidden. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartners research may discuss legal issues related to the information technology business, Gartner does not provide legal advice or services and its research should not be construed or used as such. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.

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