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Decisions, Decisions, Decisions…. Make or Buy

The age old question for many cities (as is the case in private industry) is whether to purchase or build the tools its needs to manage their operations…. the old “make or buy” decision. The factors driving that decision are typically driven from both a technical/performance perspective and a financial perspective. In many instances these two perspectives are at odds with one another when evaluating them from the 50,000 foot perspective.This was truer several years ago when the availability of tools capable of meeting the needs of a city were to say the least scarce.


So what are the realistic evaluative factors to be considered? Obviously when one considers the technical or performance factor one needs to determine whether there exists a Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) product that satisfactorily meets the needs of the city or agency that will be the end user.In making this determination one needs to be pragmatic about what meeting those needs really means.It is highly unlikely that any COTS product will meet the needs and requirements of an organization 100%.So the question here becomes what % of need is met by the product under consideration, and is that performance level acceptable? The problem in this instance is that this question in and of itself does not address the full range of issues associated with making the critical determination of whether the best solution is to “Buy” a product or to “Make” the product...


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