It’s time to do a video conference between your NY and U.K. office. Do you setup a free Skype meeting or do you call your I.T. department and ask them to start coding some half-baked video conferencing software?
Wanna build a world-class sales organization? Do you hire the most talented sales folks available and then support them with a best-of-breed SaaS CRM platform like Salesforce, or do you send around rainbow-colored spreadsheets?
Feel like social networking? Should you jump on Facebook or go out and hire the next Zuckerberg?
I can go on and on, but you know where I’m going with this. When it comes down to the build vs. buy dilemma in today’s mega-specialized and highly competitive technology environment, it almost always pays off to buy (or more appropriately, license a great SaaS platform).
In the performance marketing space, there are a very small handful of competent SaaS companies that do nothing but designing, developing, testing, improving, and supporting their software. Mission critical software is not something that you can do “on the side” or “in addition to” offering a publisher network, affiliate management services, etc. Those who attempt to do everything for everyone end up underserving their customers and the industry as a whole.
Some have already made that mistake and are now begrudgingly living with their homegrown systems, otherwise known in their marketing collateral as “their unique, proprietary, differentiating advantage.” When you see that language in a service-oriented company’s website, immediately shut down your browser and give your hands three squirts from the sanitizer at your front desk.
For those who are still considering the “build” option or are still married to their software babies like an owner of an ’82 DeLorean, make sure you’re ready to answer “yes” to the following questions that SaaS CTOs have to live with every day, including weekends and during the wee hours of the night:
- Are you willing to invest in the infrastructure to guarantee uptime and provide redundancies when your primary servers go down?
- Will your software and hardware be scalable enough to support a database with hundreds of millions, if not billions of rows?
- Do you know how to engineer a latency-free architecture without throwing endless amounts of money at the challenge?
- Can your team ensure that your system remains compatible with all the many popular browsers, devices and operating systems out there?
- Do you have the business vision and technical chops to continuously innovate and stay ahead of the industry?
If you confidently answered yes to all those questions, the performance marketing industry welcomes you with open arms – go build great software and help us make this industry rock. If your shoes are trembling a little, stop the coding and really consider what your company’s core competency is. The answer to the build vs buy question is a no-brainer for you.