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Someb issuesb tob considerb whenb decidingb betweenb buildingb inb houseb softwareb orb purchaseb
commercialb off-the-shelfb softwareb (COTS)b isb cost,b customizationb needs,b andb time.b COTSb
canb beb ab quickerb andb moreb cost-effectiveb solutionb thanb buildingb in-houseb software,b butb thereb
isb lessb abilityb tob customizeb tob exactlyb whatb youb wantb fromb theb software.b Whenb decidingb
whetherb tob purchaseb COTSb orb buildb in-houseb software,b companiesb alsob needb tob considerb ifb
theyb haveb theb resourcesb tob properlyb developb andb supportb theb software,b orb ifb theyb canb beb
betterb servedb usingb pre-developedb andb testedb software.b Howb muchb controlb isb neededb overb
theb functionalityb ofb theb software,b andb howb muchb theb initialb costb ofb developingb vsb longb termb
costb ofb maintainingb areb twob ofb theb biggestb factorsb inb myb opinion.b In-houseb softwareb willb
carryb ab greaterb upfrontb investment,b asb itb takesb timeb andb resourcesb tob developb andb testb theb
software.b Whileb COTSb mayb endb upb costingb moreb inb theb longb term,b withb theb upfrontb costb ofb
theb softwareb andb possibleb licensingb feesb thatb follow.b Whenb decidingb tob purchaseb commercialb
off-the-shelfb softwareb (COTS)b orb developb softwareb in-house,b manyb factorsb needb tob beb
considered,b includingb customizationb needs,b cost,b expertise,b andb time.b Itb hasb beenb foundb thatb
developingb softwareb in-houseb canb beb time-consumingb andb expensive,b butb itb helpsb tob controlb
andb offerb customizationb optionsb overb theb finalb product.b Onb theb contrary,b purchasingb COTSb
softwareb canb beb ab quickerb andb moreb cost-effectiveb optionb tob implement,b butb itb mayb notb helpb
tob achieveb theb specificb requirementsb ofb theb organizations.b
Whenb decidingb tob purchaseb ab COTSb applicationb orb buildb in-houseb byb evaluatingb differentb
COTSb applications,b itb isb crucialb tob focusb onb certainb criteria,b including;b integration,b security,b
support,b functionality,b andb customization.b Thereb isb ab needb tob askb b Isb thereb ab customizationb
optionb forb theb COTSb applicationb tob fitb theb specificb needsb ofb theb organization?b Doesb theb
COTSb applicationb ableb tob achieveb theb requirementsb ofb allb organizations?b Doesb theb COTSb
applicationb ableb tob achieveb theb securityb requirementsb ofb theb organizations?b Doesb theb vendorb
offerb ab highb levelb ofb technicalb support?b Willb theb COTSb applicationb integrateb withb differentb
existingb systemsb orb software?b Theb decisionb tob purchaseb ab COTSb applicationb orb buildb itb in-
houseb shouldb beb madeb inb termsb ofb ab thoroughb evaluationb ofb theb availableb resources,b budget,b
andb requirementsb ofb theb organization.b Here,b conductingb ab cost-benefitb analysisb canb beb
effectiveb inb comparingb theb benefitsb andb costsb ofb eachb optionb andb ab teamb withb relevantb
experienceb inb procurementb andb softwareb developmentb mustb beb consideredb tob makeb anb
informedb decision.b Someb issuesb tob considerb whenb decidingb tob eitherb buildb inb houseb softwareb
orb purchaseb commercialb offb theb shelfb softwareb isb budget,b time,b expertiseb levelb andb
customizationb /b control.b Whenb consideringb inb houseb software,b itb canb endb upb beingb moreb
expensiveb becauseb youb haveb tob payb theb teamb designingb theb softwareb versusb ab one-timeb costb
ofb commercialb offb theb shelfb software.b Itb willb alsob beb moreb timeb consumingb tob haveb ab teamb
takeb theb timeb tob buildb anb inb houseb software.b So,b ifb youb areb lookingb forb lowestb costb andb
quickestb timeb thenb youb areb goingb tob wantb tob gob withb COTS,b howeverb someb thingsb tob
considerb are:b willb itb growb withb yourb businessb needs,b willb thereb beb softwareb updateb issues,b
howb longb andb howb interruptiveb willb theb updatesb be?b .Takingb allb thingsb intob consideration,b ifb
ab businessb couldb affordb tob buildb inb houseb softwareb Ib wouldb definitelyb gob withb that.b Itb allowsb
forb businessb customizationb andb itb canb growb withb theb businessb needs.b Althoughb theb costb willb
beb higherb initially,b longb termb costb wouldb beb lowerb becauseb youb wouldb avoidb anyb
subscriptionb costsb thatb mayb beb associatedb withb COTS.b Theb issuesb thatb ab businessb shouldb
considerb theb mostb whenb determiningb tob buildb softwareb orb purchaseb commercial-off-the-shelf-
softwareb isb budgetb andb expertise.b Itb isb importantb tob reviewb allb theb detailsb ofb ab COTSb
providerb sob thatb onceb it'sb integratedb itb doesn'tb createb issuesb withb theb currentb system;b ifb
problemsb ariseb withb systemb compatibilityb itb couldb beb costlyb tob resolve.b Budgetb tiesb inb withb ab
business'sb abilityb tob supportb ab skilledb ITb team.b Relyingb onb in-houseb ITb professionalsb thatb areb
notb specificallyb specializedb tob buildb softwareb customizedb tob theb systemb couldb resultb inb
configurationb issuesb thatb willb impactb theb business.Ib wouldb firstb evaluateb theb fundsb availableb
forb thisb projectb nextb isb tob reviewb theb businessb goals;b whatb theb businessb expectsb andb intendsb
tob achieveb withb theb newb software.b Anotherb significantb criterionb tob exploreb isb theb currentb
system,b wouldb itb beb moreb difficultb tob designb inb houseb orb easierb tob outsourceb softwareb basedb
onb theb detailsb ofb theb currentb system.Ib wouldb chooseb COTSb ifb theb businessb can'tb supportb ab
teamb tob buildb softwareb andb doesn'tb requireb muchb customization.b Otherwiseb buildingb
softwareb inb houseb wouldb beb theb bestb option,b becauseb theb businessb canb makeb sureb thatb theb
softwareb willb beb fullyb customizedb tob theb currentb system.b Whenb itb comesb tob choosingb tob buildb
yourb ownb personalb software,b orb tob useb commercialb software,b thereb canb definitelyb beb ab lotb ofb
prosb andb consb tob eachb side.b Onb oneb hand,b oneb ofb theb greatb advantagesb isb customization.b
Becauseb you’reb buildingb theb softwareb you’reb ableb tob makeb itb howeverb youb wantb andb you’reb
ableb tob getb theb exactb ideab thatb you’reb thinkingb ofb whenb workingb withb theb developers.b Oneb ofb
theb issues,b however,b isb basedb onb yourb ownb codingb abilitiesb isb goingb tob limitb howb practicalb orb
effectiveb itb mayb beb forb security.b Onb theb otherb hand,b ifb youb purchaseb ab commerciallyb madeb
application,b thenb you’reb goingb tob haveb theb advantagesb ofb havingb ab presumablyb betterb
securityb system.b Whenb majorb companiesb rollb outb largeb scaleb applicationsb itb hasb normallyb
beenb testedb severalb timesb tob makeb sureb thatb theirb areb asb leastb amountb ofb vulnerabilitiesb asb
possible.b Howeverb youb dob haveb tob workb withb whateverb GUIb theyb giveb youb andb giveb upb theb
customizationb flexibilityb thatb youb would’veb hadb ifb youb hadb builtb itb yourself.b Ib personallyb
wouldb gob withb oneb thatb wasb madeb byb largeb companyb onlyb becauseb youb canb transferb liability,b
ifb somethingb badb happens,b tob theb manufacturerb becauseb it’sb theirb productb andb you'reb
normallyb justb usingb ab licenseb for.b Whenb consideringb homeb buildingb softwareb orb acquiringb
theb rackb softwareb business,b anb associationb mustb takeb intob accountb systemb requestsb andb
associationb requests.b Anb organizationb mustb examineb whetherb anb activityb requiresb tailoredb
assistanceb andb whetherb theb programb canb beb developedb internally.b Theb clientb willb analyzeb
whetherb theb approvedb orderb isb nonexclusiveb andb whetherb theb programb requiredb forb ab cross-
functionalb businessb requirementb isb appropriate.b Inb addition,b ifb traditionalb andb immediateb
accessb isb neededb forb theb supportedb assignment,b minimumb ITb personnelb areb required.b Theb
associationb alsob needsb tob determineb ifb theb entireb costsb areb ab concern.b Inb addition,b theb
associationb willb determineb whetherb theb systemb neededb isb subjectb tob specificb requirementsb
thatb areb notb accessibleb inb currentb systemsb andb hasb theb properties,b andb theb personnelb andb canb
produceb theb systemb withoutb planning.b Theb associationb hasb tob determineb whereb ab systemb canb
beb obtainedb followingb anb examinationb ofb theb accessibleb alternatives.Inb orderb tob achieveb anb
association'sb system,b theb servicesb providers,b packagedb softwareb suppliers,b consultants,b
distributors,b open-sourceb software,b orb in-houseb engineersb mustb scan.b Theb companyb ofb rackb
softwareb (COTS)b isb theb subjectb ofb mostb associations.b Price,b availability,b sellerb support,b
merchantb reasonability,b adaptability,b documentation,b reactionb time,b andb easeb ofb installationb
areb theb requirementsb tob decideb onb theb bestb COTS.b Theb costb ofb creatingb anb optimalb structureb
isb important.b Ab companyb hasb tob thinkb aboutb theb wholeb licensingb andb revisionb costs.b Featureb
refersb tob theb system'sb highlightsb tob executeb theb requiredb basicb andb mandatoryb undertakings.b
Ifb theb programb isb re-appropriated,b merchantb assistanceb isb crucial.b Thisb includesb installation,b
training,b staff,b andb afterb installationb continuousb support.b Theb profitabilityb ofb merchantsb
shouldb beb takenb intob accountb onb theb groundsb thatb smallb companiesb andb businessb visionariesb
produceb ab creativeb vastb amountb ofb softwareb andb applicationsb forb theb techb industry.b Ab
companyb shouldb beb awareb ofb ab certainb seller'sb continuedb support.b Adaptabilityb isb importantb
tob ab programb asb itb definesb theb suitabilityb andb versatilityb ofb theb organization.b Documentationb
consistsb ofb manualsb andb technicalb archivesb whichb areb hardb tob followb byb theb workersb ofb theb
association.b Reactionb timeb refersb tob theb timeb requiredb tob reactb tob ab customer'sb request.b
Finally,b theb simplicityb ofb installationb makesb theb softwareb difficultb tob operate.b Thisb baseb
needsb tob beb assessedb urgentlyb inb orderb tob giveb theb companyb ab seriousb edgeb overb rackb
software.b Ib dob apologizeb aboutb theb laterb entryb here,b Ib hadb ab roommateb issueb andb isb nowb
sortedb outb asb inb theyb willb beb removedb fromb theb property.b Anyways,b tob theb
discussion.Buildingb inb houseb softwareb vs,b usingb softwareb thatb wasb madeb byb ab softwareb
makerb already,b isb notb alwaysb badb atb weighingb outb whatb tob do.b Let’sb startb byb lookingb atb theb
buildingb yourb ownb software,b itb wouldb beb ab goodb ideab tob buildb yourb ownb softwareb withinb ab
companyb ifb youb needb likeb ab POSb system,b dependingb onb yourb abilities,b youb mayb orb mayb notb
beb ableb tob actuallyb haveb ab creditb cardb processingb system,b orb mayb endb upb withb ab preexistingb
pieceb ofb software.b Nowb lookingb atb usingb premadeb software,b thereb mayb beb ab softwareb outb
thereb thatb mayb workb wellb withb yourb applicationb butb mayb needb tob payb ab monthlyb dueb tob useb
theb software,b orb youb mayb haveb tob purchaseb ab fullb versionb forb eachb computerb thatb willb haveb
theb softwareb onb it.b Thisb wouldb beb theb downsideb tob usingb prebuiltb software,b becauseb thereb isb
alwaysb ab cost,b thereb isb notb reallyb anb open-sourceb marketb anymore,b sinceb everyoneb figuresb
justb liftingb thereb fingerb evenb onceb isb worthb ab dollar.
Whatb Ib wouldb do,b isb Ib wouldb personallyb developb myb ownb in-houseb software,b thenb useb ab
creditb cardb processingb softwareb andb integrateb itb inb withb myb POSb system.b Theb criteriab tob keepb
theb longb termb costb lowb isb theb goalb andb theb immediateb costb mayb beb ab littleb upb there,b butb thatb
isb onlyb temporary.b Thatb isb tob buildb andb developb theb software.
Personallyb Ib wouldb ratherb buildb thanb useb premade,b buildingb yourb ownb makesb itb easierb tob notb
payb forb subscriptionsb orb otherb piecesb ofb software.b Ib believeb thereb areb ab fewb issuesb tob considerb
whenb decidingb tob buildb ab in-houseb software.b Theb issuesb beingb mainlyb controlb andb cost.b Theb
ultimateb aimb isb tob makeb theb costb asb smallb asb possibleb byb providingb highb control.b Ifb itb isb forb ab
internalb reasonb thenb theb in-houseb buildb softwareb isb theb bestb dueb tob theb amountb tob beb spentb onb
ab particularb projectb beingb knownb inb advance.b Implementationb timeb willb alsob beb lowerb forb
thisb kindb ofb software.b Theb mainb concernb withb thisb isb theb requirementb ofb veryb goodb
developersb whob don'tb comeb atb ab cheaperb rate.b Ab COTSb productb isb generallyb ab softwareb orb
hardwareb productb specifiedb forb ab particularb useb tob people.b Theseb areb developedb forb
immediateb use.b Forb theb purposeb ofb betterb functionality,b allb theb smallb scaleb productsb areb
groupedb asb ab biggerb one.b Theb variousb strategiesb tob considerb whileb purchasingb ab COTSb
applicationb areb Integrationb issuesb ,vendorb support,b compatibilityb issues,b functionalb
requirementsb andb qualityb levelb ofb theb applicationb becauseb theyb provideb ab overallb outlookb ofb
theb developedb andb finishedb application.b Ib thinkb ofb courseb thereb areb ab lotb ofb thingsb tob considerb
whenb tryingb tob decideb whichb wayb tob go.b Theb mainb onesb areb timeb andb money.b Ifb web areb inb ab
timeb crunchb maybeb web chooseb tob gob withb ab commercialb productb andb hopeb thatb itb fitsb withoutb
havingb tob tweakb itb voidingb anyb supportb youb mayb needb downb theb line.b Ib believeb moneyb inb theb
senseb thatb ifb youb gob oneb wayb overb theb otherb itb costsb more.b Buildingb yourb ownb seemsb likeb itb
wouldb costb moreb butb isb thatb justb anb upfrontb costb thatb paysb offb moreb withb time?b Isb thisb ab smallb
companyb thatb maybeb wantsb itsb ownb teamb tob buildb theb knowledgeb itb takesb tob createb andb
maintainb it.b Orb isb itb ab companyb thatb hasb ab highb turnoverb andb needsb thisb systemb inb placeb asb
soonb asb possible?b Ib personallyb wouldb gob withb buildingb itb myselfb tob haveb andb retainb thatb
knowledgeb butb againb whatb ifb itb failsb andb youb couldb haveb gottenb itb rightb outb ofb theb boxb andb
hadb everythingb workb aroundb itb insteadb ofb theb otherb wayb around.b Whenb tryingb tob determineb
whetherb tob utilizeb purchasedb COTSb orb buildb in-house,b thereb areb ofb courseb theb costsb tob
compareb andb consider.b Theb otherb thingsb needingb tob beb takenb intob accountb wouldb beb time,b
resources,b theb organization'sb needs,b andb theb abilityb tob rideb outb theb inevitableb wavesb whenb itb
allb launches.b Byb time,b Ib meanb theb organizationb needsb tob eitherb decideb tob takeb ab longerb timeb
tob developb in-house,b orb gob theb fasterb routeb withb COTS.b Resourcesb refersb tob whetherb theb
organizationb happensb tob haveb someb talentedb ITb onb boardb tob developb orb ifb they'reb lackingb andb
needb tob hireb outb forb suchb things.b Thenb thereb areb theb needsb tob consider;b ifb theb organizationb
hasb long-termb complexb goalsb inb mind,b anb in-houseb systemb mayb beb ab saferb investment,b
whereasb theb simplerb businessesb canb beb veryb successfulb usingb COTS.b Inb eitherb case,b thereb areb
goingb tob beb growingb painsb andb asb someb ofb usb learnedb inb securityb systemsb classes;b theb
organizationb needsb tob haveb theb abilityb financiallyb andb systemicallyb tob functionb regardlessb ofb
theb newb developingb systems.b Web shouldb lookb atb someb prosb inb consb whenb itb comesb tob
buildingb softwareb inb comparisonb tob buyingb commercial-off-the-shelfb (COTS)b software.b
Whenb decidingb tob gob inb house?b You'reb gonnab haveb tob spendb ab lotb ofb moneyb andb timeb andb
care,b seeingb thatb everythingb isb doneb correctlyb andb efficiently.b
Accordingb tob Mendix,b "companiesb haveb typicallyb lookedb towardb buyingb commercial-off-the-
shelfb (COTS)b softwareb overb theb pastb 20-plusb years."
Butb isb itb theb rightb decisionb forb you?b
Wellb tob many,b itb makesb senseb tob gob theb COTSb route.b
Benefitsb ofb COTS:b
It'sb readilyb availableb (productb alreadyb built)
Highb valueb forb solvingb simpleb solutions
Lowerb initialb investmentb
Consb ofb buyingb COTS:
Frequentb potentialb delaysb inb softwareb updates
Extensiveb customizationsb forb ITb integration
Difficultyb inb adaptingb itb tob yourb business'sb changingb needs.
Factorsb ofb choosingb COTS:b
Needingb predictableb cost
Needingb anb immediateb softwareb solution
Ib wouldb probablyb gob theb COTSb route.b Theb reasonb whyb isb thatb withb theb increaseb inb difficultyb
inb fillingb softwareb developerb rolesb (80b daysb tob fillb inb comparisonb tob 42b daysb forb non-
developerb roles),b Ib can'tb waitb thatb longb tob haveb ab systemb upb andb running.b Duringb theb designb
phase,b itb isb importantb tob considerb theb acquisitionb strategiesb forb theb system.b Eachb acquisitionb
strategyb hasb itsb advantagesb andb disadvantages.b Buildingb theb softwareb inb houseb offersb theb
benefitb ofb designingb theb softwareb exactlyb howb youb want,b itb canb alsob helpb tob giveb theb inb
houseb programmersb moreb experience.b Onb theb contrary,b thisb approachb canb beb timeb
consuming,b itb canb alsob beb expensive,b orb theb projectb mayb beb outsideb ofb theb scopeb ofb whatb theb
inb houseb teamb isb familiarb with.b Withb commercialb ofb theb shelfb products,b theb businessb willb getb
theb advantageb ofb havingb anb alreadyb knownb andb vettedb product,b thisb willb alsob translateb tob
moreb savingsb forb theb businessb andb asb wellb asb time.b Theb contrastb tob thisb approachb isb thatb theb
companyb willb beb forcedb tob relyb onb supportb fromb theb vendor,b andb thisb productb mightb notb fitb
asb seamlesslyb asb needed,b althoughb thereb mayb beb limitedb customizationb availableb forb theb
product.b Ifb Ib wereb askedb tob evaluateb betweenb choosingb ab COTSb orb developingb in-house,b Ib
wouldb takeb intob considerationb theb timeb alottedb forb theb project,b theb cost,b customization,b andb
howb ifb developedb inb house,b theb skillsb thatb couldb beb acquiredb andb honed.b Whenb decidingb tob
buildb softwareb in-houseb orb tob purchaseb COTS,b thereb areb severalb issuesb thatb shouldb beb
considered.b Firstly,b buildingb softwareb in-houseb involvesb ab certainb levelb ofb expertiseb andb
resources.b Anb organizationb shouldb haveb theb necessaryb skills,b capacity,b andb fundsb tob maintainb
theb softwareb andb itsb updates.b Onb theb otherb hand,b purchasingb COTSb softwareb requiresb one-
timeb paymentb andb maybeb lessb expensiveb comparedb tob developingb in-houseb software.b
Secondly,b theb organization’sb needsb shouldb alsob beb considered.b Ifb theb organization’sb needsb
areb uniqueb andb requiresb ab highb levelb ofb customizationb andb flexibility,b thenb developingb in-
houseb couldb beb theb bestb option.b However,b ifb theb organization’sb needsb areb general,b thenb
purchasingb ab COTSb applicationb mayb beb moreb practical.
Whenb evaluatingb severalb COTSb applications,b variousb criteriab shouldb beb considered.b Theseb
mayb includeb theb flexibility,b levelb ofb customization,b integrationb capabilities,b andb user-
friendlinessb ofb theb software.b Compatibilityb withb theb organization’sb existingb systemsb andb
hardware,b theb vendor’sb reputation,b andb theb totalb costb ofb ownershipb shouldb alsob beb
considered.b Otherb criteriab mayb includeb security,b scalability,b reliability,b andb technicalb support.
Tob decideb betweenb developingb in-houseb softwareb orb purchasingb ab COTSb application,b anb
organizationb shouldb conductb ab cost-benefitb analysis.b Theb analysisb shouldb highlightb theb
advantagesb andb disadvantagesb ofb bothb options.b Factors,b suchb asb cost,b time,b resourcesb
required,b levelb ofb customization,b andb usability,b shouldb beb considered.b Theb organizationb
shouldb alsob assessb theb potentialb risksb associatedb withb eachb optionb andb weighb themb againstb
theb potentialb benefits.b Theb organizationb shouldb thenb evaluateb theb resultsb andb chooseb theb
optionb thatb providesb theb mostb valueb forb theb moneyb spentb andb alignsb withb theb organization’sb
needs.b Whenb decidingb tob buildb softwareb in-houseb orb purchaseb COTSb thereb areb ab fewb majorb
factorsb tob consider.b Inb houseb developmentb canb beb greatb whenb itb comesb tob customizationb asb
yourb organizationb mayb haveb someb uniqueb requirementsb thatb mayb notb beb availableb withb ab
COTSb product.b Itb mayb alsob takeb someb specializedb technicalb expertiseb tob develop,b butb ifb youb
haveb thatb expertiseb inb houseb thatb canb beb ab goodb thingb (notb sob muchb ifb not).b Someb ofb theb
downsideb tob developingb inb houseb isb itb canb beb veryb costlyb andb timeb consuming.b Theb
convivenceb ofb professionalb servicesb supportb thatb comesb withb COTSb productsb canb beb veryb
helpfulb andb convenientb whenb thereb areb technicalb issues.b Dependingb onb theb levelb ofb serviceb
you’veb paidb forb youb canb haveb SLA’sb withb quickb turnb aroundsb withb theb vendor.b b
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