First, there was "Why make what you can buy?"​ Now it's "Why buy when you can rent?"​

First, there was "Why make what you can buy?"​ Now it's "Why buy when you can rent?"​ Thoughts about solving some business challenges.

The company I now work for was founded by a man who couldn't book a squash court when he wanted to, and this irritated him to the point he wrote a booking system.
First, there was "Why make what you can buy?"​ Now it's "Why buy when you can rent?"​ Thoughts about solving some business challenges.

Jump a decades work and you get a global company with staff on 3 continents. Simple appointments and events systems seem like a simple challenge, but actually, they can accrete complexity until adopting a DIY approach starts to work less well. Now there are a number of SME-targeted solutions in the marketplace, and with Salesforce and others looking at the problem the easier end of the problem set is starting to get sorted.

But building a system which covers hundreds of locations, thousands of staff, resources and complicated skills starts to become rather hard. Making the solution work across platforms, in a user-friendly way and configurable to the changing needs of a business with marketing, sales, delivery and IT teams in the mix is a whole other challenge. Now add analytics, larger system integrations (including with 3rd parties) and conversations with files to the mix. Most in-house development teams will have run for the hills long before.

In another article, I spoke about how doing "non-core" activities in-house is a terrible use of an IT department’s time and resources. This area is another prime candidate for getting help from experts who really understand the problems. In the decade since Glenn wrote BookingBug v0.1, his growing team learned hundreds of painful lessons. The outcome of these comes wrapped in the software without having to repeat the mistakes. So it's obvious ... Time to get out the chequebook and buy the software to fix it.

Why buy when you can rent?

The SaaS model popularised by Salesforce and leapt on by practically the entire world has become a game changer. More and more purchases are made on the basis of "it works for a year or two so let's get it for that period and evaluate afterwards.” And if the new solution integrates well with existing solutions, then keep renting it until our business needs change. Really, the goal of an in-house IT department should be helping the business access the right tech, integrating solutions to meet business needs.

None of that means re-inventing the wheel, or for that matter re-inventing a CRM solution or an email platform. The ISV does the hard learning and has the focus to keep innovating based on their knowledge. But an ISV like BookingBug doesn't build a DIY mail or helpdesk system, they go to a cloud platform. They cannot afford the dilution of focus from what makes them money. I believe that most IT firms & departments should do likewise.

So - how do I pick a winner?

It is not easy - and a question that deserves an article all of its own.