Make or buy decision – Benefits of third-party software providers

If you are planning to integrate scanning functions into your existing mobile app, the crucial question of whether you want to use a software development kit or program the features internally instead will inevitably arise at the beginning of the process. This guide will help you make a decision and demonstrate the benefits of an SDK. 

What does make or buy mean?

Definition: The make-or-buy decision (alternatively called Build-or-buy) determines whether the company itself should create a product or service (make, in-house production) or whether it should be performed by external parties (buy, external procurement). The use of external products is often called outsourcing.

What is the decision rule for outsourcing versus in-house production?

The decision regarding external production versus in-house production is based on a comparison of total costs. The costs for the independent production of the product (= in-house production = Make) are calculated in advance compared to alternative options for purchasing the same product from an external supplier (= external procurement = Buy).

The crucial question: Make or buy? 

At first glance, writing code for the desired functions in-house appears to be the most convenient option: Flexibility, customized features, cost-efficiency, and reliable employees whose skills are known to the company. 

What are the disadvantages of writing your own code?

  • Human resources: Especially in smaller companies, there is always the risk that staff will migrate over time. This circumstance can lead to a temporary lack of employees who have the necessary knowledge to maintain the software.
  • Resources: Internal concerns often have the lowest priority. If there is a capacity bottleneck, own projects are repeatedly postponed.
  • Know-how: Often, there is a lack of the required level of knowledge to implement specific software solutions. Bought solutions from specialized companies are based on expertise that has been developed through years of experience.  
  • Maintenance: The full responsibility for updates, bug fixes, and enhancements must be carried internally.
  • Costs: The initial costs for development must be considered and the total cost of ownership. Many factors are not even included in this calculation; as for example, the risk of personnel fluctuation. 

Definition: Software Development Kit

Before we take a closer look at the various benefits of an SDK, let’s first answer the most basic question: What is a Scanner SDK? A Software Development Kit (SDK) is basically a collection of different components for software development. Talking about the Scanbot Scanner SDK, these so-called components include documentation, tools, libraries, and examples. The main advantage is that this package is ready for immediate use and does not need to be created in a time-consuming, independent process. Besides the components mentioned above, the Scanbot SDK also contains an introduction and several use cases. 

Pro buy: What are the advantages of outsourced production?

Now we have to weigh up the various advantages and disadvantages. There are many reasons to integrate a third-party SDK into your mobile app instead of investing time and capital in a proprietary program. Take a look at the various advantages of the Scanbot SDK below: 

  • Sophisticated functions: Throughout the years of experience we have gained with our B2C app Scanbot, we optimized our scanning features and have them tested by our user base. Three million scans per month and 10 million downloads confirm the high quality of the scan features of the Scanbot SDK. 
  • Regular updates/extensions: Our developers ensure that the SDK is always up-to-date. All software updates are free of charge within your license’s runtime, which mostly avoids problems with new versions of iOS or Android. On top of that, all additional features added to your booked package are free of charge. 
  • Support: Customers who encounter a problem with the Scanbot SDK can always contact one of our experts. We provide dedicated Slack-Support Channels for each customer, allowing them to get in touch with our developers. 
  • Price/performance ratio: The license fee is, in any case, lower than the costs a company has to pay for developing its own code, which can take up to several years for more complex functions.
  • Easy integration: Thanks to careful documentation, the SDK can be integrated smoothly into your existing app. A ready-to-use user interface accelerates this process even more so that the SDK is often ready to use within one day, including a customized UI in your Corporate Design. If you want to customize the user experience itself, such as changing the scanning features’ order or combining different modules, the integration takes longer. However, it still undercuts the amount of work required to program the functionalities entirely in-house significantly. 
  • User-friendliness: Our user interface ensures flawless scan results that do not require any manual correction. This guarantees a fast, smooth workflow and thus a high degree of user-friendliness and recommendation.

Finalizing the make-or-buy decision 

There are numerous fundamental advantages for third-party production, i.e., implementing an SDK in your pre-existing app. Yet, this depends entirely on the use cases one is trying to cover and the resources a company can call upon. 

In summary, however, it can be stated that the development of functions that can compare to an SDK quality-wise and the subsequent test phase take years and thus have significant disadvantages in terms of cost comparison and workload. 

Developers, ready to get started?

Adding our free trial to your app is easy. Download the Scanbot SDK now and discover the power of mobile data capture.

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