Going Downhill from “Let’s build it in house”

Are you ready to support something that is not your core product?

Engineers usually have an itch; An itch to build everything they have from the ground up because at first thought it feels like it will be cheaper. They go to the extent of building a product & open sourcing it or providing it for free (Which is what probably fuelled the free App Culture in Android).

It is due to this that many a times tech guys tend to look away from SAAS services when trying to solve a requirement. Yes, it might seem simple to dump data into a MySQL Database and then query it to say you have an Analytics solution. But do you really have a solution? What if someone from Marketing wants to build a funnel? What if your CEO wants to know each user’s LTV? What if the Sales VP wants to know which region is underperforming? Your Duct-tape solution may not have all the answers. It is even worse if you have to now build those features in, it is time you could spend building and polishing your product.

Here are some of the reasons you need to shy away from building a side feature in-house:

  • It’s Not your Core product feature: Let’s face it, we all have limited time in a day, time is best spent on your product’s core features.
  • You are probably not competent enough: I am not trying to be rude, but that is a fact. In one of my organizations while trying to digitize our Human Resources department, we thought we could just build it in-house, alas we knew nothing and decided against it, which in retrospect was a great decision.
  • Save Costs: This is trivial if you are using a SAAS service you don’t need to set up infrastructure or hire a team to maintain it. You also don’t need to hire a team to build the solution, which is a massive saving in cost.
  • Faster Integration: Since you don’t have to build it, you don’t need to hire a team or train a team. You probably just need to integrate an SDK and then never bother your tech team.
  • One Less Product to worry about: If you are using a SAAS provider you don’t need to worry about updating features, improving efficiency or reducing costs. The SAAS provider has that covered.

That being said if you really have a unique need, it might make sense building a solution in-house, but remember, products & features are like relationships, they need a lot of commitment from your side.

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