As software developers, we spend a fair amount of time listening to folks struggling with the question of whether to build “it” themselves or buy a SaaS solution that does “it.” This question seems never to escape their purview as they work through their discovery process. The challenge I’ve seen time and again, beginning with this cost comparison approach, is that in almost every instance the effort and priority given to come to the answer to this question derails companies from the most critical questions they should consider for their business. Unfortunately, as a result, the most important questions a business should be asking are the ones that are never asked.
We all know the tension that can be maintained between sales and operations. Even the best teams struggle with the quality of new orders and the ability to deliver on customer expectations. A slightly misaligned product configuration from a salesperson can produce quota attainment, but that same sale can translate into a missed installation interval for the project manager assigned. Round and round we go … doing our best to hit the sales number and also hit the installation-revenue numbers. All the while dealing with challenging customers who don’t understand or appreciate the complexity behind the scenes.