Developing your own technology can seem like a great idea, but it can eat up your time, budget and is at risk of quickly becoming obsolete. In contrast, an already-developed system can quickly, easily and seamlessly be implemented into your site, allowing you to benefit immediately.
At Digital Visitor we’ve seen potential clients choose the in-house development route only to come unstuck as the project progresses. In this article, we share the most common risks organisations that go at it alone typically face.
Other projects always take priority
We’ve seen this scenario happen time and time again. Client A decides to develop their own technology to enable website visitors to submit reviews, and six months – or more – down the track, they are still without a solution.
In fact, one organisation we talked to two years ago is still yet to develop their own solution due to frequent departmental changes. According to our calculations, they could have captured approximately 50,000 reviews during this time and driven at least 50,000 new organic visitors to their site.
A robust reviews solution requires a massive amount of development time, testing and project management – something that most organisations in today’s climate simply do not have.
Anyone who has worked on a complex project will agree that no matter how well you plan, there are always unexpected hiccups that set you back – from small tasks which take much longer than expected, to third party changes (e.g. on a web browser or social network) which require you to adapt your solution – even staff holidays/sickness can set you back by several weeks.
Developing a completely new system is a very steep learning curve, which will undoubtedly cost you more and take you much longer than initially expected.
Frequent updates are required
Even if you do end up getting your technology developed, your journey certainly doesn’t stop there. Today, technology develops at a rapid pace, particularly when it comes to solutions and applications that involve social media. Facebook has undergone countless changes over the past few years, and Twitter, historically noted by many developers as having a poor API, has just announced changes to restrict third party applications – with any new Twitter apps which serve more than 100,000 users having to seek their permission before launch.
An up-to-date solution requires on-going development, usability and multiple browser testing – and if you want an application that users enjoy interacting with, continued development of new features and services is required. All this involves time and money.
Furthermore, depending on what technology you want to develop, the industry may be so fast moving that by the time you actually get round to completing the solution of your dreams, it’s 12 months on and it’s now out of date.
It’s difficult to keep up with the experts
Developing a reviews system or piece of content-gathering technology may be one of many projects your IT or development team have to deliver, and they may find their expertise does not run towards this niche area – or if it does they may not have the level of knowledge needed to deliver a best-in-class system.
An off-the-shelf system will have been developed by experts in the field, who are solely focused on the development of their platform, enabling them to deliver a superior product that is also constantly evolving with both business and consumer needs.
The Software as a Service (SaaS) solution
While the investment of a pre-packaged solution might seem more than developing something bespoke in-house, the cost involved in both the initial development and on-going improvement and management of an in-house tool will actually far exceed it.
So what is the average cost and time required to develop a web application? Many developers would say ‘how long is a piece of string’. One web agency shared their experience on TechCrunch a few years ago – to build a very simple tool took them 4 days, a team of 9 people and cost approximately $10,000 (£6,152) excluding hosting fees. Others claim a web application can take 6 months to 1 year to develop and up to £200,000.
This year at Digital Visitor, we launched the 4th generation of our award-winning Social Reviews Application, after investing the significant time and budget required to develop an innovative reviews solution.
By using our technology, you will gain all the benefits of being a SaaS customer while we continue to do all the hard work for you. Plus you get the added bonus of knowing your solution has been developed by a group of experts who understand what it takes to develop and maintain a successful reviews solution.