With IT spending rising dramatically every year, the question of building software for migration yourself versus buying it from a vendor stands more prominently than ever. On the one hand, you have the freedom to build whatever you want. On the other, the freedom to invest more money in other ventures.
This and many other factors play into the critical final decision. This article will explore them and help you decide between buying or building data migration software.
Key Considerations When Deciding on Data Migration Software
Data migration is a tricky process with many moving parts. So, it requires a suitable software solution. But what factors should be considered when making a decision?
The first factor any intelligent decision-maker will consider is the time and cost of the endeavor. It requires experienced developers and plenty of resources for design, development, and maintenance.
Estimating the cost of a project is somewhat tricky, which is proven by Gallup’s research. According to them, 1 out of 6 projects had a 200% cost overrun and 70% schedule overrun. Committing this much time and money to build data migration software might be a net loss compared to commercial software.
Commercial solutions typically have upfront licensing fees and might require a subscription. Nevertheless, they generally are much cheaper than developing from scratch.
Naturally, you can always opt for free data migration software but do not expect it to blow you away with functionality or reliability.
Time is money—you know it, we know, every organisation knows it. And building software can consume a lot of time, especially when you have no prior expertise. Here is just a small glance into the circles of hell you have to go through when developing a new product:
- Gathering requirements
- Selecting architecture
None of these things take a day or two; usually, we are looking at several months of development time for the simplest systems. Considering data migration software is inherently complex, you can expect the timeframe to be more than 9+ months. That is a lot of time dedicated to building something that a responsible data migration software vendor might have already built and tested.
Unless your company is primarily an IT business focused on creating data migration solutions, chances are your team does not have the required skills to craft high-quality data migration software that will match your needs.
On the other hand, experienced vendors like Hopp invest millions of dollars into their products' research, development, and support. Moreover, they are familiar with all industry standards, compliance, and required functionality - protecting you from unintentional substandard software. It sounds like a small thing, but it might cost you a fortune to learn this by just trying.
Security is also a massive concern, especially when sensitive data is involved. Commercial crucial data migration software is well-protected. And if the data leak is the software’s fault, you can recoup the damages with a lawsuit.
Functionality and Customization
Commercial data migration software often provides a wide range of features, such as data profiling, validation, transformation, and integration with different systems and databases. These features are developed based on industry best practices and customer feedback, providing a comprehensive solution for your migration needs.
However, if your needs are very specific and do not fit the typical functionality required by most businesses, you might want to consider building your own software. These are outlier cases; most organizations will be more than satisfied with commercial products.
Scalability is of the essence if you plan to grow your business. As data volume increases, the software must handle it without a hitch. Commercial products might have technical limitations but are proven to work in high volume and high complexity environments. Home build enterprise-level data migration software often lacks them, and building a solution that can efficiently handle large and complex volumes of data might be a challenge above what most organizations are capable of.
As with most other technical solutions, compatibility is key. It is pretty easy with custom-built software, since you will be telling your developers what stack the solution must fit.
On the other hand, commercial software is typically compatible with most popular solutions on the market. However, you still must check whether you can seamlessly integrate it with your existing systems.
Support and Documentation
Ongoing support and maintenance of your software is also a massive commitment. It requires constant attention from a team of developers. Trustworthy vendors like Hopp have excellent customer support ready to help you address any questions and challenges.
Moreover, pre-built enterprise data migration software typically comes with good training and documentation, which is invaluable when bringing new users on board and for general troubleshooting.
Finally, you have to test the waters and understand whether your company is ready to build new software or adopt an off-the-shelf solution. As mentioned before, building a custom program requires tons of resources, but it might suit your team better. On the other hand, a commercial product might require more training to use it effectively.
Therefore, ask all stakeholders which option suits them best. Ask your IT professionals, project managers, and key decision-makers to better understand the broad opinion inside the company. A company-wide survey might also help you choose the best data migration software on the market if you decide to go with a commercial solution.
Helping You Make the Build or Buy Software Decision
As you can see, there are plenty of factors to consider when choosing whether to build or buy a data migration program. Here are a few tips to help you decide.
- Consult an expert. You can ask Hopp or any other software development company for a consult to make the right decision. Naturally, they might be incentivized to persuade you to build or buy software, but a well-respected company values its reputation more than a quick dose of cash.
- Consult your team. Do you have the capacity to build a new solution? Are they ready to commit to a few months of development? Do they have any arguments for using an off-the-shelf solution instead? They are your team, and their opinion is as important as yours.
- Consider your needs. Typically, developing a solution for a fairly standard business is not worth it. Are the benefits worth the dramatic increase of your total cost of ownership? Unless you constantly deal with atypical problems, it might be better to save yourself the hassle of building a new product.
These are usually enough to help you make an informed decision on whether you should buy or build data migration software.