Build vs. buy: The great debate

22nd November 2022

Richard HigginBotham

by Richard Higginbotham

Financial services CIOs are under the thumb. Ballooning inflation is squeezing them into doing more with less, while tighter regulations are driving a need to deliver positive customer outcomes. And then there’s the build vs. buy question.

In today’s high-pressured market, CIOs need cost effective solutions that meet exact compliance needs, talk to your existing tech stack and keep you in control of ongoing changes needed over time. But therein lies the rub. How do you deliver new digital features in a volatile market, while making existing infrastructure work for longer? And when you do add new solutions, should you build or buy?

Here’s how successful financial organisations approach it:

Get creative

Maintaining financial compliance relies on control. Customers place their trust in your organisation — and you need to adapt to ever-evolving regulatory requirements, while delivering an excellent customer experience. That means any new IT spend has to support robust processes and be aligned with other priority business outcomes.

Taking a creative approach means finding a solution that keeps you in control. So, rather than reacting to changes in legislation, you’re ready to roll out new features as you help grow your business, retain customers and reduce costs.

Automate for competitive advantage

The new rules mean you need to drive good outcomes for customers across products and services, price and value, consumer understanding and support. This is where low-code and automation tools are worth their weight in gold. Robots can automate processes and speed up data analysis tasks, ensuring you’re able to support sound financial decisions. And the true leaders are those that who lead with automation, making sure it’s driven by an interest in improving customer and employee experience.

The build vs. buy debate

Operational efficiency relies on using your tech in an optimal way. You can start by making your existing infrastructure work harder. But how do you go on to deliver the features you need to meet compliance standards? All while improving customer (and employee) experience?

You could buy something off the shelf — or you can hand-code a solution using developers. There are pros and cons to both:

  • Off-the-shelf solutions may be cheaper, but don’t always meet your exact requirements. They’re fairly quick to deploy so time-to-value is faster (and it’s lower risk). But, it can be tricky to make changes — which can leave you with another siloed point solution.
  • Hand-coding is expensive but can give you the precise solution you need. That’s if you can get the apps built, as scarce professional development resources can stretch out delivery times. And while you wait, your employees revert to scattered spreadsheets which are difficult to maintain.

But before you throw your hands up in despair, there is an alternativeA cost-effective, clever and simple one that gives you the control you need.

Enter low-code

With low-code you get the best of both worlds. You get the benefits of hand-coding a solution plus all the benefits of buying off the shelf. You can deliver apps quickly, without being held back by external vendors — or integration issues with your existing IT stack. And that means more control (something our customers tell us they need most!).

There are different types of low-code platforms. Some focus on the needs of pro developers, while others give business users — the people who understand processes — the software tools they need to drive more automation.

With those tools at hand, the job of building robust compliance processes becomes easier. Through automation you can, for example, give customers access to data, or pseudonymise sensitive information — or shore up security.

Why it matters now

Every process, policy and procedure that makes up a business or organisation needs to be turned into software. And as these change, so should your approach to software acquisition. Buying off-the-shelf applications may work for you today, but you’ll need to manage ongoing customisation needs. That’s why there’s a greater shift to multi-purpose platforms which address the digitisation needs of the organisation as a whole. By choosing the right automation and low-code platform, you can go beyond the build vs. buy debate to ensure greater cross-organisation buy-in and involvement, with quicker delivery times.

What to look for

When evaluating a low-code and automation platform solution, look for one that empowers people and improves processes, fast.

So for developers your solutions should let you:

  • Build faster – develop up to 10 times faster than traditional coding methods.
  • Use business users – use the people who understand the process best to build what they need.
  • Maintain governance – even if business users are building apps, IT can stay in control of your apps and builders through one central controller, with permissions to control what builders can and can’t do.
  • Build what you need – ensuring you’re not limited by what you can build in your platform.

And for business users the right solution will allow you to:

  • Build what you need – to stay agile and build apps 80% of the way with IT to finish them off.
  • Make changes yourself – once your app has been built, users can make changes when you need them (not waiting for external vendors or IT to do it).
  • Get to market quicker – your apps can be built in days rather than weeks or months.
  • Design apps for your customers – to do exactly what the customer needs and not be limited by the tech.

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Get all the benefits of hand-coding a solution plus all the benefits of buying off the shelf. You can deliver apps quickly, without being held back by external vendors, or integration issues with your existing IT stack. And that means you get more control.