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When to Choose the “Buy” in “Build vs Buy”

Build vs buy

“Build the innovation. Buy the commodities.”

A classic evolution of maturing industries and markets is the rise of commoditization within the value chain. If there is limited value in building the foundation, then it’s more cost-effective to buy it from an optimized supplier and move on to building higher-level value.

Homebuilders don’t make kitchen cabinets. Carmakers don’t build seats.

While the principles are sound, the application has been limited in the app development market. We almost always see in-house development teams building everything themselves or outsourcing all the work.

At Onymos, we’re changing that. The decision to build software in-house shouldn’t have to be all or nothing.

Build the hero, buy the zero

By their very nature, software engineers are ‘can-do’ people who want to do their best work. But just because we can build something doesn’t mean we should build something.

All professionals know there are highly visible ‘hero’ tasks and mundane (yet required) ‘zero’ tasks. Realistically, zero tasks are only recognized when they break or fail. You probably won’t get any 5-star reviews from your users because your app offers Google Sign-In… but you might get some 1-star ones if they try to use Google Sign-In and it doesn’t work.

And Google Sign-In isn’t your business anyway. It’s not your competitive advantage. Everyone offers their users Google Sign-In. Deciding whether to build or buy software should start with recognizing what is and what isn’t your IP.

In today’s competitive market, having developers focused on hero tasks is crucial. With Onymos, now there’s finally a viable option for when you want to buy the basics. Instead of building and maintaining Google Sign-In (or push notifications or biometrics or over a dozen other software commodities), get your developers to do what they do best. Let them be the heroes and build the innovation.

Features as a Service

Onymos is a Features-as-a-Service provider. We offer a suite of pre-built software solutions you’ll recognize as the app dev commodities. These are the same app features and functions every app has — things like geo-services, OCR, and authentication. These app features are so complete out of the box that developers can simply drop them into their app, configure the parameters, and move on to the next task.

Certainly, places like GitHub and others are awash in ‘plugins’ and code snippets. But Onymos software is fully integrated with third-party services and is delivered with complete functionality.

It’s like a carpenter watching a how-to video about building drawers versus getting a whole set of kitchen cabinets delivered.

“The average Onymos app feature has thousands of hours of software engineering investment. Plus, Onymos provides ongoing updates and enhancements.”

– Bhavani Vangala, VP of Engineering, Onymos

For example, Onymos Access comes with social logins for Apple, Facebook, and Google. It supports OAuth 2.0 from partners like Okta and Ping Identity. It handles user sessions, tokens, offline mode, and data normalization.

It simplifies all of it through an easy-to-use API. Drop Onymos Access into an app and drop the mic. Your work here is done.

Making an informed decision

When time and resources are limited (they always are), making the decision to “buy” must be viable on several levels:

  • Technical — the software needs to address the basic customer and business requirements
  • Implementation — the software must reduce the initial engineering effort required
  • Maintenance — the software must reduce your team’s ongoing support and technical debt burden
  • Trust — the software needs to be built how you would expect your team to build it, and you need to be able to verify that

Onymos delivers on them all.

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