For more than 20 years, I’ve marketed all kinds of B2B software solutions — content delivery network software, storage area network software, identity security software, and scheduling software — hosted on premises and in the Cloud. Customers, without fail, always faced the decision of buying this software or building it themselves.
There was a time when companies built all their own software. Back then, the infrastructure to host this software was located in their headquarters’ data centers. In contrast to today’s IT shortage, there were enough IT developers on staff to meet corporate demands at the time. And, frankly, there were few alternatives.
Then, the Cloud happened. Buying software got a leg up on building it for two key reasons — 1) the Cloud reduced the cost of ownership of applications, thus we could afford to have more apps, and 2) the Cloud busted applications out of HQ’s data centers, making them available to non-IT people.
The result was that business people started buying and running software — with or without IT involvement. It was these people, who understood the business data and processes, that became the owners and power users of applications like Salesforce (CRM), NetSuite (ERP), and WordPress (Website).
And thus ensued the debate over ‘Build’ versus ‘Buy.’ I found that the Buy side won the battle when the core business data elements and processes were standard across companies or industries. For example, the sales process for B2B software sales is relatively common, so Salesforce can sell you an out-of-the-box solution and the Salesforce Administrator can set it up, on and off-board users, configure it, manage it…basically, run with it.
It’s when companies have unique data, custom workflows, and proprietary something or another that the advantage goes to the ‘Build’ side.
But, the Build side has a few issues: (1) Not enough software developers to meet the growing demand for business applications, (2) Ongoing internal maintenance costs, and (3) Outsourcing to professional services can be outrageously expensive.
So, an entirely new software genre has emerged known as ‘low-code’ that allows you to Buy AND Build.
You Buy a low-code software platform to Build applications exactly as you need.
Low-code platforms are used by both IT developers and business developers, depending on the circumstances. IT developers look to low-code platforms as a means to deliver applications faster. Yet, many IT departments still face a lengthy backlog of application requests and struggle to meet business requirements on time and on budget.
Enter the business developer. These people use low-code platforms to build and maintain applications to digitize operations within and across multiple departments, as well as enterprise-wide. According to Forrester’s recent report The State of Low-Code Platform Adoption, 2018, two of the primary use cases for using low-code solutions are building: 1) business process / workflow applications, and 2) applications for gathering, tracking, and reporting on data. Who better to build these apps than the people who know the data and processes the best.
At TrackVia, we’ve built a low-code platform for the business developer to digitize critical processes according to their unique organizational requirements. With TrackVia, you won’t feel “boxed in” by a point solution or burdened by extensive professional services costs. In fact, we recommend that our customers start small on their journey to digitization. Even Gartner says mid-size enterprises, in particular, should experiment with low-code. Pick one manual process to digitize with a low-code solution. We then soon predict that you’ll expand to have at least five applications speeding up your business in no time.
I declare the debate over Build versus Buy is a draw. With low-code platforms it’s now Build and Buy. Curious as to your thoughts?
Read this paper to learn more about how low-code is better than point solutions.