Creating, purchasing software depends on publisher capacity, needs

By Amelia Labovitch


Antwerp, Belgium

In an increasingly digital and multi-channel industry, digital media players are having to make strategic choices to increase user engagement and loyalty. These decisions, however, are never one-size-fits-all, and one decision leads to another. Let’s zero in on what you need to know about choosing to implement a new software into the overall digital strategy.

Before implementing a new strategy or software, such as personalisation or recommender systems, publishers should decide whether to build their own solution or purchase one. If opting for the latter, they can choose between a standalone best-of-breed software or a single vendor offering. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages, and businesses should evaluate them based on their specific needs.

There are pros and cons to building customised software versus buying something that has already been created, and each publishing company needs to evaluate its own specific situation when making this decision.
There are pros and cons to building customised software versus buying something that has already been created, and each publishing company needs to evaluate its own specific situation when making this decision.

Build vs. buy

Businesses commonly face the question of whether to build custom software or purchase an off-the-shelf product. Here are the pros and cons of each option.

Advantages of building a personalisation software

  • Tailored to specific needs: Custom software can be designed to meet the unique requirements of a business and aren’t limited to the decisions taken by someone else.
  • Flexibility: Custom software can easily grow and adapt with the business. As the organisation evolves, the software can be modified to accommodate new requirements.
  • Competitive advantage: A custom software solution can provide a unique competitive advantage. It can be built to include features that set the organisation apart from its competitors.

Disadvantages of building a personalisation software

  • High development cost: Building a custom software can be expensive, not only in terms of finances but also in talent. The organisation must invest in a team of developers, designers, and project managers to create the software.
  • Long development time: Custom software development can take a significant amount of time. The organisation must be prepared to wait for the software to be completed.
  • Lack of expertise: To build something like a recommender system, the organisation needs to have the right internal expertise to build something that will meet the needs identified. Finding the right talent can be difficult and time consuming.
  • Maintenance and support: After the software is built, the organisation must also invest in its maintenance and support. This can be an ongoing expense from a staffing perspective, but it is also financial.

Advantages of buying a software

  • Cost-effective: Buying off-the-shelf software is less expensive than building a custom solution. The organisation only has to pay for the license, and the software is ready to use.
  • Quick implementation: Off-the-shelf software is pre-built and ready to use. The organisation does not have to wait for it to be developed.
  • Support and maintenance: The software vendor provides support and maintenance for the product.
  • Scalability: The software is designed to handle multiple customers simultaneously and provides guarantees that it can be deployed on your channels to grow with you as you increase adoption.

Disadvantages of buying a software

  • Limited customisation: Off-the-shelf software may not meet all of the organisation’s needs. The business may have to adjust its processes to fit the software.
  • Upgrades and compatibility issues: As the software vendor releases upgrades, the organisation may also need to upgrade its software. This can be time-consuming and may cause compatibility issues with other systems.
  • Security vulnerabilities: Off-the-shelf software may be more vulnerable to security threats because it is widely used by many organisations.

Multi- vs. single vendor platforms

When it comes to purchasing software, one of the biggest decisions organisations face is whether to go with a single vendor or a multi-vendor ecosystem.

Single-vendor software

Single-vendor software provides an all-in-one platform for an organisation. This can make management easier and may result in cost savings from discounted packages.

However, there are also disadvantages. Vendor lock-in is a major concern, as it can be difficult to switch to a different provider if the relationship sours or if your needs change. Additionally, single-vendor software may lack flexibility and customisation compared to multi-vendor ecosystems, and may offer only the basics without providing high-quality features.

Multi-vendor ecosystem

Multi-vendor ecosystems use software from multiple vendors, offering flexibility and customisation. Choosing the best vendor for each need ensures better quality.

However, managing these ecosystems can be challenging, and compatibility issues can lead to additional complexity and cost.


Ultimately, the decision of which approach to take is not one-size-fits-all and depends on the unique requirements of your business and the resources available. However, by doing an honest evaluation of two key criteria — buy vs. build and single-vendor vs. multi-vendor — your company will be on the right track to meet your business goals.

About Amelia Labovitch

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