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Platform Challenge 3: You Can’t Buy What Only You Need

Build vs buy is a perennial conversation in the software industry. Buying a ready-made product that promises to deliver multiples of productivity gains at a lower price than the cost of building and supporting a custom solution is the dream. We all look for that silver bullet, but the truth is the silver bullet does not exist. Your internal platforms and software solutions are nothing more than a codification of your business’s abstract processes, workflows and opinions—the essence that makes your company unique. No purchase can deliver that, only you can.

Taking high-level PaaS or SaaS-like platform solutions might buy you productivity gains, but efforts to bend their opinionated workflows to match the will of your organisation often result in frustration or failure. Often you end up changing to meet the needs of the tool rather than the other way around. Lower-level solutions like public cloud, or open source (OSS) ecosystems offer a different shape of problem: a bewildering array of tools, frameworks, and services that need coalescing into a solution that serves your org without resulting in the costs caused by huge tool fragmentation across your teams.

Public Cloud, OSS ecosystems, and off-the-shelf are all part of the solution but you cannot buy what only you need. The solution is deep thought and to treat your Platform as a Product: listen to your stakeholders, build your solutions for you, in a way that makes sense for your business. Choose tools and technologies that deliver value, enable a low cost of learning to help you to continually improve your business.

This blog is the third in our series, The 12 Platform Challenges of Christmas. Check back daily until January 5th, 2023 for new posts!

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