For IT teams to deliver the best portal solutions for their customers, partners, agents, and employees, they have to carefully consider how to structure the best solution by asking: do we build an in-house portal or buy portal software from a vendor?
By Greg Gatherer, account manager of Liferay Africa
To answer the question, IT teams have to keep in mind the following three considerations:
How much will buying portal software versus building a portal cost?
One of the biggest factors IT teams must consider is the cost. But this total investment isn’t just in the cost of the portal solution itself. It also includes the time and internal resources needed to implement, maintain, and upgrade the solution.
After factoring in the cost of the initial build, support, bug fixes, upgrades, and future improvements, it’s no surprise that Gallup reports one out of six IT projects have an average cost overrun of 200% and a schedule overrun of almost 70%.
While IT teams are capable of building a tailored portal solution, the question is not a matter of ability but rather: is it worth the resources?
How long will it take to buy portal software versus build a portal?
With project timelines, IT teams have to consider how long it would take to either build their own portal solution or buy and implement existing portal software from a vendor.
For those looking to buy an out-of-the-box solution, these teams must take into account the time required to find and validate a vendor from watching demos, filling out RFPs, and even consulting with internal teams.
A conservative estimate puts buying a dedicated tool that is set up by an experienced team as much as 10 times cheaper than attempting to do it yourself and five-times faster.
For those looking to build, teams must remember that build time is only one facet of the expenditure. IT teams must also consider how long it will take to:
* Get the solution to be fully up and running;
* Train both technical and non-technical users on how to use the portal; and
* Get a return on investment or meet the goals that the solution initially set out to meet.
How much control does the business need?
One of the biggest appeals of building in-house is the control businesses will have over the entire solution. Control is especially needed for highly regulated industries, like financial services or the public sector.
While it may be faster and more straightforward to purchase a portal software from a vendor, businesses will have less control when it comes to their solution. Whereas building entirely in-house guarantees that stakeholders can mould the portal to their needs. Everything from data, customisations, and integrations will be in the hands of the business.
However IT teams must also consider that in-house solutions will always be reliant on the developers building it. This means that when these developers leave it may be difficult to hire new developers who can still work within the codebase.