Blog Posts

Buy or Build? No-code solutions vs. custom solutions

Peter Brittliff
December 7, 2022
3 minutes

Do I buy or do I build? It’s a tale as old as time. In 2022, it’s a dilemma almost every organisation is grappling with as they look at their technology stack. Contact centres in particular are facing the merging of Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) and Contact Centre-as-a-Service (CCaaS) technologies. They know they need to build new systems but are struggling to weigh up their options. 

Do you buy a lego set that gives you the bricks to build exactly what you want yourself? Or do you buy a puzzle, which can be put together much faster, but isn’t bespoke to you?

The build-your-adventure route may sound appealing - you get exactly what you want, right? For example, you can choose the exact channels you want to build, from bots to voice and messaging. However, going it alone comes with a lot of responsibility. Using APIs to build your own solution is a huge investment of time and budget to get the outcome you’re looking for. And it’s not over when the tools are down. You then need to maintain the systems you’ve built all on your own, this is particularly important when it comes to managing cyber threats. Over time, those lego bricks will deteriorate and the cost of maintenance is high compared to buying something off the shelf with its upkeep managed by the vendor.  

The time and cost to build also mean you can get pigeonholed into particular technology stacks that will limit your flexibility in the future. Technology moves so fast, there is almost no way of predicting what you’ll need in five to ten years' time, and many organisations find themselves not wanting to start over because of the amount they invested in current systems. This means you might not be able to keep up with best-in-class technologies and could get stuck with limited multi-carrier diversity which will lead to higher costs, more outages and poorer call quality. 

And what happens if the team that spent years building the solution leaves? Unfortunately, your IP goes with them. 

So, what are my options?

A low-code solution will give you all the infrastructure you need to build your puzzle quickly and with fewer resources and expertise. The beauty of a low-code solution is that you can fail fast and stay agile. You can quickly do up a proof of concept with a particular technology stack before setting out to build your puzzle and making long-term decisions. 

Whilst yes, it’s not a bespoke solution, what it does mean is that you’re not pouring potentially millions of dollars into pieces of a puzzle that might not fit how you want them to in a decade's time. Typically a cloud migration project for example measures in the years and millions, particularly if you’re in a highly regulated industry like banking or government. Low-code solutions allow you to realise the benefits of your project much faster, letting you move on to new projects. 

What questions should I ask?
  1. To help define the scope of the project, consider the entire customer engagement technology stack and how it all fits together before you start. From your contact centre to compliance, marketing and workforce management. 
  2. Think about whether you have the development workforce to build what you need using custom APIs
  3. Carefully consider how the infrastructure will be maintained - when something breaks, do you have an army to support you? 

As I started with, to buy or to build is not a new conundrum. Should I buy an existing home or a piece of land? Do I make the birthday cake from scratch or buy a packet mix? Like many of these situations, it comes down to the level of time, resources and skills you have to devote to building a bespoke solution and maintaining it over time. What low-code solutions provide is a middle-ground. It provides an opportunity to create a solution that fits the basics of what you need, whilst realising the benefits for the organisation and its customers much sooner.