Are you looking for your first webstore or considering material changes to the one that you currently have? No matter which scenario you fit into, there is the age-old question that each possible software project runs into; Buy vs. Build. Do you evaluate a commercial application or just “do-it-yourself"? Before you answer this question, you’ll need to look at a few more to lead you down an educated path.
What problem are you trying to solve? You would never run a race without at least knowing where the finish line was, right? A great starting place is to figure out if you have a problem that needs a solution or a solution that is looking for a problem. Once you have a worthy problem to solve, it’s time to look internally at your organization. Do you have the staff to tackle this? You'll need to focus on your staff member's existing skill sets and who has the right experience in these types of projects, including project management. Does your current staff have time in their schedules to work on this type of project? Will it affect their responsibilities?
The other internal staff issue that many companies forget about is maintaining & supporting what you build. If you develop an in-house solution then you are responsible for its ongoing maintenance and providing functional/ technical support to internal (or external) users.
Finally, there is speed to market. How fast does the problem you are solving need to be addressed? Is this a “within the quarter” problem to solve, or do you have time to address the issue from a more paced approach?
Bear in mind that the answers to all these questions can be somewhat nuanced; make sure you get feedback from multiple stakeholders. You’ll want to root out any implied bias to get to the best path for your company's interests. In Part 2, we’ll discuss the Pros & Cons of Buy vs. Build.
-Written by Dennis Bruce, VP of Sales at Nomad eCommerce