Build or Buy: How do you select the best software solution for your company?

06 June 2019

Build or Buy: How do you select the best software solution for your company?

Business is booming and your company is expanding. The time may have come to invest in your first hire system, or perhaps you are looking to upgrade your current system to a solution which can better manage your business as it grows. 

The first thing to consider is whether to invest in a bespoke solution developed especially for your business, or choose a commercial rental solution already available. Understanding the pros and cons of both options is critical to ensure you make the right decision for your business, both now and in the longer term.

A bespoke system comes with some advantages. It will be developed especially for your company so has the complete functionality you require – nothing more and nothing less. You would expect to obtain maximum usage of the functionality you have paid for, as it is exactly as you require.

However, a bespoke system also has downsides. It comes with a very high initial outlay. As the system will be designed and built specifically for you the cost will be solely yours, and it is important to ensure that you get a high enough return on that investment for your business and that those costs are sustainable. Having a solution designed for you is also a time consuming process, and you will need to consider that there will be no immediate solution to your current business needs. Will developers support your product in years to come? What costs are involved for future development to keep the system up-to-date, for example during changes in legislation?

A specialist rental management solution on the other hand, provides a much shorter start up time at a significantly reduced cost. One of the main benefits of this option is that you don’t actually own the system. It will always be developed, maintained and supported by the provider as a fully managed and proactively improved solution, and have industry best practice built in. Although you may run the risk of paying for some functionality you don’t actually need, most providers are now flexible enough to make adaptations to meet your specific requirements. You may also find that you discover useful functionality you didn’t even realise you wanted! 

An off the shelf solution gives you the opportunity to partner with a stable, knowledgeable, experienced company that specializes in providing solutions for the hire industry. This will help to guide you through the process of a system change and ensure a seamless integration with existing systems for more efficient workflows. You will also have the added benefit of online user groups / communities for additional support and for the opportunity to influence future software development. 

When opting for a dedicated rental solution, it is good to bear in mind that some working processes may need to change to adapt to the new system. The right provider will have the skills and knowledge to advise and support you through these changes.

In summary, your business needs, your processes, your infrastructure and your budget will determine which is the best option for you. It is important to ensure that the system you select meet your needs, both now and in the future; a system that is flexible and has the scope to grow and expand with your business.

If you are looking for a new or replacement software solution for your rental business, download our Buyer’s Guide to Rental Software that outlines some of the criteria to look for when selecting a new operational software solution.

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