Build vs. Buy: A Not-So-Objective Take on In-House Product Selectors and CPQ

“Why would we buy your software when we could just build it ourselves?”

This is another common question we hear from our customers, and—as we’ve discussed in previous posts—homegrown solutions can be problematic for a myriad of reasons.

While we tell these customers, yes, indeed, they could build their own solutions, there are certain things that should be considered before they, in fact, do.

What to Consider Before Building an In-House Solution

1. Do You Have All the Resources & Expertise to Build a Solution?

Building a Selector or CPQ solution may seem like a quick, easy task for your internal team, but once you consider the resources required to successfully build and maintain the solution, you may realize it doesn’t make sense for your business. Here are a few things you’ll need:

  • A team of programmers,
  • Domain experts,
  • Project management,
  • User training,
  • Integrations,
  • And the resources to maintain the solution into perpetuity.

Are you sure you have and can maintain all of that?

2. Have You Considered All the Costs Associated with Building & Maintaining a Solution?

Deciding to build vs. buy your SCPQ solution comes down to cost. Do you want to pay a vendor, or boot-strap a project yourself? Here are some things you’ll need to do if you decide to build it yourself: 

  • Develop the runtime application,
  • Develop the data model,
  • Oversee maintenance, and
  • Develop the secure hosting environment, not to mention...

You will also need maintenance teams such as user support, development, and integration support as long as you have the solution. And that’s just to get you started.

3. What Happens to the Solution When Your Developers Leave?

Many of the manufacturers we work with have an expert—and that expert knows everything about the company’s products, processes, and how to manage their IT systems, including the homegrown selector. But eventually, the expert retires, or takes another job. Without the expert, who at your company has the knowledge and ability to maintain the solution? Who can step in? In many cases, we get a call for help when the expert leaves or retires.

Why Finding an SCPQ Partner May Be Your Best Bet

As a manufacturer, you provide the best solutions to meet your customers’ needs. But when it comes to software, while you may have the ability to create your own solutions, is that where your company’s core competencies reside?

At FPX, we deliver a complete mechanical equipment selection and quoting solution purpose-built to handle unique complexity challenges while connecting with front- and back-office platforms. Our platform’s out-of-the-box SCPQ capabilities surpass those of other vendors and are more cost-effective than building it yourself. These capabilities include:

  • A tightly integrated Selector to our CPQ tool which can integrate with your existing ERP, CRM and others
  • A mobile-responsive solution
  • Performance test tolerances
  • Performance curves, true weighted efficiency, and units of measure all built-in
  • The ability to create performance data sheets and curves
  • BI reporting and analytics of products selected in the tool
  • 19 languages and international currencies built-in

We set the standard for equipment selection, configuration, pricing, and quoting with built-in capabilities no homegrown or horizontal vendor’s solution can match. So when pump, blower, motor, and other manufacturers come to us and ask, “Why would I buy your solution when I can build it myself?”, we respond as follows:

You can, but to do it right, you’ll need a team of engineers and developers, experts who can codify the logic of selection equipment based on conditions of service, someone to maintain the solution, and someone to integrate it into your ecosystem. Therefore, the question becomes: Why would you build it yourself?

Trygve Dahl, Ph.D. P.E.

Trygve Dahl, Ph.D. P.E.

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