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Buy vs Build: the debate regarding billing software

Running a business means many things for many people. General Managers, team leaders, really, leaders in generals should excel in every little aspect that is even remotely linked to their company. However, while all these goals swirl around the big brains of the company, sometimes in complete silence and without actually being noticed in the absence of a crisis, there is that goal they need to really focus upon. And the truth is, unspoken or otherwise, shouted, companies need to make the expected, if not a higher, profit amount. Therefore, at the end of the day, it all comes down to money, lots of them, billed. So, that’s why discussions on which is the best billing software out there are left open often enough.
So, the goal is simple: make money. The structure is clear: the billing software. The tools needed are known to everyone involved: use everything and anything that gives results.

However, even in this context which seems rather clear, there is one debate, that wild spirit kind of discussion, that seems to take some of the popularity of the king discussion regarding the effectiveness of billing software. Indeed, in this hands-on IT-driven world, a DIY billing software system appears to be the solution to all problems. But is it really? Now, no one questions that this possibility is real and that there are even companies that have decided to put this idea into practice, to give it a try. Some of them might have even turned out to be successful. Others, we have to say it, have failed. Now the big question arises: is it really more effective? Is it really a big breakthrough in terms of B2B insights? Let’s take things one at a time.

We all know what buying a solution is. So, when thinking about this big debate, naturally the aspect that draws your attention is the concept of building billing software.

The first thought that might be running through your head as we speak and may even be responsible for part of that A-Ha expression is that who better to administer your sales, customers and your profit than yours truly, right? Because at the end of the day, you know your business best, you know your goals, your strong points. You are even aware of your weaknesses, correct? So, yes, definitely, you are the right man for the job.

Before you go running to your IT department, looking for those smart programmers you were thrilled about hiring to give them to good news, take a deep breath and analyze things a bit, based on a few clear-cut aspects: time, cost, knowledge and finally, unique features.

# Time

So how are you doing these days? Are your team members booked in terms of tasks? If you are a start-up in search of fame or fortune, surely, your time is limited, being booked by software testing, marketing, sales and so. Developing your own billing software requires a bit of planning beforehand and testing of course. You wouldn’t want to risk the wellbeing of your customers, so when going ahead with the software, any type of software for that matter, you need to be 100% sure that it functions perfectly, without encountering any issue.
It’s not that we are trying to discourage you from building billing software. In fact, the fact that there is this option among consumers makes other developers struggle harder to create that software that can answer all demands. But in order to decide if building this type of software is the right option for your company ask yourself the following question.

When do you need it?

Need is the one that shapes time. So, if you urgently need a solution of this kind and by urgently, we do not mean tomorrow, but rather 3-6 months from now, then you might discover that buying is the right solution for you.

# Cost

So, we started this discussion with a little thing called profit. As you know, before you can rub your hands to see how much profit your company has made, you need to eliminate costs from the equation. You don’t want to stumble on expenses or take them as part of the profit. When developing software, you should prepare yourself to cover certain expenses. These, of course, depend on the nature of the software that is being created, as well as the work of IT experts, designers, maybe a bit of research, all are part of your expenses. And ok, we hear you: at a first view, you might think that it is cheaper to create billing software rather than buying one. But we beg to differ.

When you are taking on your developing expenses, you are perceiving them as investments, because through the application you are creating, you are bringing in profit. Thus, you are covered.

You’ll say: Ok, but I can’t bring in profit as long as I don’t have a billing software system. And by the way, weren’t you talking just now about need? Where did that go?

You are right, you can’t do without software, but then again, you can buy one. The idea is that you are creating a new one from scratch, in a limited amount of time, simply to make a need shut up. Yes, you are going to improve it, no doubt about it. But it will be in time, generating extra costs as well as the patience of your customers.
So, we ask you again. Are you sure that over time, after the initial version has been completed, after all the revisions have been made, after fixing all issues, building your own billing software is, in fact, cheaper than buying one? You don’t have to answer right away.

# Knowledge

Now, let’s talk about skills. Sure, you have the manpower and since you have handpicked your team of IT experts, which we’re sure you did, you know they are good. So, you can say they have skills. There is just one tiny problem here. Skills in IT are pretty general because, in this domain, the key to success is to specialize.

And yes, building a billing software system is not quite the same thing as building an app. You need a team of dedicated software developers that can take on this kind of project. Otherwise, training your staff to be able to develop billing software can be a rather expensive ordeal, not to mention time-consuming.

# Unique Features

For the sake of the argument, think of how billing software developers market their product. They start to explain the benefits clients can enjoy, benefits such as support, customer and vendor support that is, fast error handling, reputation, promotion management and so on. These are features you need to offer yourself.

When deciding to build instead of buying, you need to be able to offer yourself everything an already existing solution would otherwise provide you with. Sounds simple, but in reality, it’s not.

Bottom line

This debate can go on forever. You are the only one that can decide upon the direction your company is heading. The only thing you need to remember before calling up your IT team is whether or not you can afford a project of this magnitude. And one more thing. There is no recipe for developing the ideal billing software. It’s not going to happen on your first try.

Do you have the time to handle all sorts of hiccups and still grow your business?