Applications - build or buy?

Rackspace Technology has published the results of a new survey, “To Build or To Buy?,” which reveals that while the ratio of building vs buying applications has not changed, the way that customers assess whether to build or buy has changed.

Enterprises are consistently weighing the benefits and drawbacks of building their own solutions in-house or purchasing existing solutions to fit their individual needs. Over the past decade, this decision has been heavily driven by the accessibility and ease of each approach. Consequently, the build/buy equation has fluctuated back and forth, with organizational preferences leaning toward the method with the most accessible tools at the moment. The latest survey by Rackspace Technology takes a closer look at what the future of compute holds for the build/buy equation.

The key findings from the “To Build or To Buy?” survey by Rackspace Technology include the following highlights:

The decision to build applications vs. buy applications is becoming more strategic — The research reveals that tech decision makers don’t plan to move strictly away from build and toward buy (or vice versa), but rather to shift in strategically choosing when to build and when to buy. For example, 72% of participants prioritize building customized applications for customer-facing purposes because it creates differentiation. With hiring and training skilled workers amongst the greatest business challenges today, it is essential that valuable developer hours be used to build applications that customers will notice and will eventually impact revenue. In fact, 67% of respondents agreed that digital transformation and the need for differentiation is driving the need to build applications in-house.

In cases where organizations choose to build, adoption of low-code/no-code solutions will increase — The high preference for low-code/no-code solutions appears to continue the trend of “working smarter” even within the build approach, democratizing application development and allowing organizations to leverage user-friendly build tools to bridge the gap in developer skill sets. When building applications, 72% of participants said their organization uses low-code/no-code platforms and 86% said they are satisfied or extremely satisfied with low-code/no-code developments.

In cases where organizations choose to buy, SaaS adoption will increase — SaaS products are rising in favor as they continue to become more robust in capabilities, highly customizable and easier to implement. Rackspace Technology’s research indicates a rise in SaaS as the preferred option when buying applications to enhance crucial but non-differentiating areas of business. Of survey respondents, 62% said ease of use and implementation is the main reason for buying software. Further, 65% of participants did say that with today’s SaaS advancements and customizations, it is possible to create differentiation in a pure SaaS world.

“When it comes to the buy vs build dilemma, rather than one approach dominating the other, our research and experience tell us that both methods have immense value if implemented for the right reasons,” said Jeff DeVerter, Chief Technology Officer – Solutions at Rackspace Technology. “It’s clear that right now the trend is to reserve developers and their build time for the highest impact work while filling in the gaps with purchased technology. We look forward to continuing to support organizations of all types as they navigate both sides of this equation.”
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