Emergic: Rajesh Jain's Blog

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Return of Building (vs Buying)

November 1st, 2004 · No Comments

AMR Research writes:

Open source, new tools/technologies, and offshoring make building an application (rather than buying) an increasingly viable option.

While much of the focus for open source is on Linux and emerging for database technology, clever companies are beginning to supplement open source infrastructure technology (Linux, MaxDB, JBoss) with open source applications. For example, two of my clients recently swapped out purchased content management systems for their open source counterparts. They may have not had all the bells and whistles, but with a little bit of customization, the price was right, and my clients got what they needed.

The next leg of the trend to build is offshoring. One of the main (though not only) rationales of not wanting to build applications is the expense and amount of time it takes to create an application. The ability to significantly drop the labor cost of coding begins to remove one of the large impediments to looking to build. It does not, however, remove the costs and burden of long-term support.

Finally, if these two factors were not enough, the introduction of new tools using Web services technology promises to make customization even easier. An array of new tools has been introduced that is speeding development times. They range from delivering Web-service-based integration capabilities to composite application building tools that will assemble applications from a variety of customized and widely available application components.

Recommendations:
– Building applications is a real option. Application packages can be overkill for the functionality required. Start to explore what open source has to offer.
– Revisit application decision tree to build applications. It was never a no-brainer to buy rather than build applications. It is even less true now. Revisit old assumptions and economies of building applications. Dont forget to include total cost of ownership analysis as well as support costs.
– Investigate open source possibilities. While open source applications are in their infancy, the surrounding infrastructure and technology are coming up the maturity curve quickly. Look for opportunities to build uncommon applications around this technology base as well as to use open source applications for tactical, noncritical business processes.

Tags: Software

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