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  • Writer's pictureParade Team

Buy vs. Build: Should You Purchase Software or Create Your Own?

It’s a question as old as software itself. Here, we explore the top five reasons why you should consider a third-party software provider instead of building your own.

1. Building Software Can Take Forever

The average time to build a program from the ground up falls somewhere between 4 and 12 months according to most experts, and it’s a common occurrence that a build exceeds the estimated timeline. With software, that overrun can be costly, according to McKinsey.

That’s not to say that it doesn’t take time to get to the point where you can use a purchased software in operations; it takes time to implement, integrate, test, and train staff to work with new programs. However, you can expect the implementation of a third-party program to take approximately a quarter of the time that a build would take.

2. Keeping Up with the Market is Tough

You’re not done with your software once it’s up and running. The supply chain industry is ever-changing, and those changes necessitate changes in the programs you use, and then you must train your team on those changes. Third-party software is updated by the company it’s purchased from to ensure that it keeps fulfilling its duty even as the market evolves, and they’ll help get your team up to date with changes. In-house builds have no such luxury.

When you build software from scratch, you always run the risk that it will become obsolete or simply doesn’t fulfill the purpose that was intended. You can’t take back the investment of time, money, and resources that the build ate up, and you’re in the same place you were in the beginning: in need of a new solution. Plus, maintenance and necessary updates can get expensive when you’re footing the bill for them yourself.

When you opt to use a pre-built software like Parade, scaling is handled by the software company. We handle your growing book of business and your expanding capacity pool. We also handle the updates and new integrations you need to carry out operations at the top of the market.

3. Developers and Engineers Who Know the Industry Are Hard to Come By

There’s a major talent shortage in the tech industry, and that shortage is being acutely felt in the supply chain, where tech talent needs not only a tech background but a supply chain background, as well. The shortage could make it difficult to contract out a logistics software build and using an internal team would absorb a lot of resources and potentially take away from other projects within your organization.

Plus, when you contract out a software build, what happens when those developers and engineers are onto their next job? You’re left unsupported and hiring new professionals to make changes or updates to your program could be difficult. New contractors would have to dig into the system and see what makes it tick before they could make changes.

When you purchase software, you get to lean on your provider for the years of industry expertise and many hours spent developing and improving the program. You have access to their experts and those experts have access to a wealth of information and feedback from current customers so they can improve your experience with the program.

4. Integrations with Other Programs are Complicated

Our partners at Tai found that most brokerages they work with use between 11 and 20 different programs for their operations. Since systems need to work together and share data, many of those solutions would need to be integrated into any new software, whether it’s purchased from a third party or built in-house.

Even with modern-day APIs and other types of integrations that are “simple”, plugging into them can eat up a lot of time and resources, and once integration is complete, programs still may not work together as well as you’d hoped.

When you purchase software from a provider who has already integrated with large players in your industry, you don’t have to worry about integrating or the functionality of integrations. The provider integrates with current programs and tests those integrations during implementation.

5. Making Feedback-Driven Improvements is Difficult on Your Own

Say your company just completed a software build. An end-user comes to you and says, “It would work much better in my job function if it worked this way instead of that way.” After all the time and money you poured into the program, would you be likely to go back and make changes, even if it would make the program more functional and productive for your end-user? It would be a tough pill to swallow, even if you decided to make the changes.

When you work with a third-party software vendor, that feedback and the resultant changes aren’t on your shoulders. They listen to that feedback and find ways to make the system work better. For example, the customer success team and the development team at Parade are constantly seeking out feedback from our customers and working on improvements to make the program more user-friendly, more comprehensive, and less complicated.

Still wondering if buying capacity management software from a third party is the way to go? Reach out to the team at Parade for a demo that will give you a peek into everything Parade has to offer.


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