Revel Blog

Build or Buy? Benefits of Outsourcing Your Tech Stack

Coral Drake | October 16, 2023 |

Build or Buy? Benefits of Outsourcing Your Tech Stack

Technology is now an essential part of doing business in today’s digital world. When you consider your tech stack, or the full set of technology you implement to handle your operations digitally, you’ll want to make sure you have the best possible solutions in place for your unique business needs. 

But should you build your own tech stack, or should you buy one? What are the benefits of outsourcing your tech stack? Here’s what you need to know to decide whether to build or buy. 

Advantages of Building a Tech Stack

    • Full creative control. If you decide to build your tech stack in house, you can configure everything from the color scheme to the operational flow and functions exactly to your business needs. Unbound by the constraints of a third-party brand, you can completely customize your setup and determine which features are the highest priority for you. 
  • Direct ownership of data and clear escalation paths. Your data (and your customers’ data) lives squarely with you when you decide to build vs. buy your software. That means the insights available within that data are yours as well, and you bypass potential security risks of data changing hands between multiple organizations. Not only that, but in the event of an issue or consumer questions, you’ve got a clear escalation path for troubleshooting when you keep your tech stack in house. 
  • Cost to execute. This can be an advantage of in-house vs. third-party software, but not necessarily. On paper, internal sourcing of your tech stack means you aren’t shelling out funds to an outside vendor for a significant upfront purchase or on-going SaaS fees. However, you have to consider total cost of ownership here, which means you should tally the cost of internal resources you dedicate to building and maintaining your tech stack. Is your business equipped to handle this type of demand for dedicated resources, or might it be better to outsource those tasks and allow your team to focus on your core business as a restaurant or retail brand instead? That question changes based on your size and setup. 

Disadvantages of Building a Tech Stack

  • Competing priorities. The “master of none” adage comes to mind here—it’s likely you didn't become a merchant because you love developing tech code, and if you fragment your attention into too many places, you’ll end up with too many competing priorities to execute anything well. Even sizable brands have to consider that the business is the first priority, not the technology helping it run behind the scenes. 
  • Taking on more risk. In the extreme, a poorly developed internal data stack can negatively impact your business’ functioning or introduce a security breach. When you build vs. buy, you’re bringing the risks of developing, owning and operating the technology completely under your own roof. It’s a good idea to understand your brand’s risk tolerance for this type of scenario before building an in-house solution. 
  • Cost to execute. As mentioned in the advantages section, the financial demands of building and maintaining dedicated internal resources can outweigh the program’s benefits. With the decision to keep your tech stack totally in house comes the challenge of acquiring a team with the specialized skills to develop the technology and keep it running smoothly. Especially in modern software development, tech trends move quickly, and recruitment is time-intensive.  

Benefits of Outsourcing Your Tech Stack

  • Rapid deployment. Outsourcing offers rapid project deployment, access to a global talent pool, and potential cost savings. It eliminates the need for hefty investments in infrastructure and other overheads. It also makes a significant failure of software or a security breach much less likely, as tech providers already have teams and systems in place designed as safeguards.
  • Adaptive flexibility. When you’re deciding whether to build or buy software another key factor to consider in today’s fast-paced world is agility. How quickly can your technology adapt and respond to shifting marketplace realities? For many, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the benefits of flexible tech platforms more clearly than ever, and third-party companies dedicated to tech solutions are able to adapt when the environment calls for it. That can be much harder to achieve with in-house bureaucracy and the competing priorities of a larger brand.
  • Cost efficiency. Another question for your budget when you’re exploring whether to make or buy technology is the efficiency of your investment. Where are you getting the most return on your investment (ROI)? If supporting internal infrastructure will divert essential funds from other core areas of your operations, buying is probably the best path forward for your business. 
  • Expertise. Especially if you don’t have extensive technical expertise of your own, finding and hiring the right people with the right background to execute a strong internal tech program can be a huge challenge. When you’re comparing third-party vendors, you know with relative certainty that they are experts in their field, and have resources like reviews and testimonials from other brands to help you identify the best option. 

Downsides of Buying a Tech Stack

  • Reduced oversight and control. As with anything you don’t own outright, you forfeit some oversight and control of your tech stack when you buy vs. build. While this won’t likely be a major setback, it could mean longer lead times for select functionality to be added if you have a specific feature request. 
  • Integration challenges. Look carefully at your integration options if you plan to build onto your tech stack in a way that adds robust functionality and works fluidly with your core operations. Brands with a truly open API are a great place to start, and most tech companies will list their integrated partners for software that has been pre-vetted and already works well with the code. 
  • Outsourced support for escalations. This is a curse and a blessing. On the bright side, you don’t have to answer inbound calls directly. However, it can complicate the escalation experience for end users, and can occasionally result in longer time to resolution when you have to contact a third party for a fix. 

Benefits of Outsourcing Your Tech Stack with Revel Systems

So, is it better to build or buy? If you take anything away from this article, note that the answer to that question is highly variable, changing from business to business. 

If you are leaning toward buying your tech stack, allow us to make our case: Revel Systems offers a flexible cloud POS platform designed for growth and adaptation. Start with the essentials and add layers as you (and your budget) expand. 

Our platform is adaptable, allowing businesses to customize an ecosystem of technology tailored to their needs. With Revel, businesses can manage multiple order channels, benefit from mobile solutions, and ensure they're always equipped with the latest technology. 

There are several advantages to cloud technology, including regular remote software updates, top-tier security, and the freedom to choose the best payment processor for your operational setup.

While both in-house and digital outsourcing have their merits, partnering with a reliable provider offers businesses the agility, efficiency, and technological edge they need to thrive in today's competitive market.