HR Leaders

Buy vs. Build: How to Create a HR Software Program That Works

When considering new technology, business leaders often face the same question: Is it better to buy software or build a system in-house?

Building an HR Management System

For companies that already have a team of developers, that seems like a natural solution—have them build it. But there are a number of factors to consider before determining whether this is the correct course of action.

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The first question to consider is whether developing a people management program in-house would actually give your organization a competitive advantage. Would those resources be better spent on projects that have a more direct impact on the bottom line? Would developing an HR system help you win new clients or customers?

Another factor to carefully consider is whether your in-house developers have the necessary skills to build the type of program that HR needs. Human resources will need to be heavily involved in guiding the process, which means that you now have at least two departments dedicated to an internal project.

Also, if developers need to address a more pressing issue on another project, will that slow or halt progress on the HR project? Who will be in charge of planning and deliverables?

It’s also critically important to consider security and compliance. HR holds some of the most sensitive personal information within any organization. Does your in-house team have the skills and capability to develop and host software that will remain secure against cyber attacks?

The project isn’t finished once the build is complete. You will also need to consider the long-term day-to-day management and maintenance of the system. Does IT have the resources to handle this responsibility?

Buying a HR Management System

This also begs the question, “Will your in-house system be future-proof?” It may provide an immediate, affordable solution, but will it have the necessary capabilities to fulfill HR’s needs down the road? Changing technology, trends, legislation, etc. will likely require further development.

Speaking of the future, if one or more of your in-house developers leaves the company, will their replacements be able to pick up the project seamlessly, or will the unique code present issues?

The advantage of building a system is that you can customize it to fit your precise needs and integrate it with your existing systems. It may end up being less expensive than buying a system, however, as we’ve seen, building can present unanticipated costs and headaches over time.

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If you’re considering buying a system, don’t settle for a standard demonstration. Ask how their system would handle a specific issue for your HR department. Ask about customizable dashboards and tools. You may find that an outsourced software system is versatile enough to handle your needs, with the added benefit of built-in support, security, and system maintenance. Like this post? Read 4 Features Your HR Software Should Have next!

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