Is “Build” vs “Buy” necessarily a dichotomy, or can you do both?


472 views2 Upvotes8 Comments

Senior Executive Advisor in Software, 10,001+ employees
Many executives treat Build vs. Buy as comparable to the question that Morpheus asks Neo in The Matrix regarding the red pill vs. the blue pill. The situation, however, does not demand a dichotomy. You can have build AND buy, and in many cases, that is usually the right approach. The value is in what you can build and what you can buy.
4
CIO in Education, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
It’s possible to do both with a well defined strategy on when it’s appropriate to do one or the other.
6
CIO / Managing Partner in Manufacturing, 2 - 10 employees
It really depends on what you are trying to achieve. Ideally you need to work out what your objetives are and how best to achieve them.
3
Head of Enterprise Applications in Software, 501 - 1,000 employees
The answer is it depends, depends on several factors such as business area, stage at which the company is, how critical this problem is? 
Example: Do you want to build your own billing system, most of the time answer is No, but if are a multi-billion $ company, most of the solutions do not work for you (you tried it in the past) then build may be an option.
2
Worldwide Strategy & Portfolio, Cross Industry (Supply Chain, ESG, Engineering, Customer Experience, Intelligence Automation, ERP) in Manufacturing, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
Generally the challenge statement is defined first. It is then vetted through a build, buy, or partner approach. We are not a software company, don’t intend to be, but we have core competencies. We only bring in when there is a gap in competency that meets a strategic goal or brings value that didn’t exist before. We only build where it complements an existing program. Reducing the tech debt is important.
3
Senior Director, Defense Programs in Software, 5,001 - 10,000 employees
Almost always do both. Even when building there are components to buy & leverage. There are exceptional mission spaces, and it’s good to evaluate the trade offs in value, but if the decision is always build or buy, it’s fairly unique.
1
Senior Information Security Manager in Software, 501 - 1,000 employees
IT is far too complex to be answered in a binary A or B answer. Those types of questions are often self-serving.

Many times technology requires a hybrid approach, which in the long-term, is much more effective.
2
Director of Technology Strategy in Services (non-Government), 2 - 10 employees
What's the problem you're trying to solve? That's the true question to be addressing.

Companies should have a list of underlying principles that guide their Tech decisioning. Principles are general rules and guidelines, intended to be enduring and seldom amended, that inform and support the way in which an organization sets about fulfilling its mission.

One of those rules may very well be buy over build.

But if you have an internal dev shop then buy might come under build.

Neither is wrong, unless it is in breach of your principles.
3

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