Team of coders working

Making the Build vs. Buy Decision for Automated Conversational Voice Services and Solutions

Companies often want to compare options for in-house builds vs. outsourced solutions.

Anyone selling products or services to enterprise customers has probably heard this conversation many times:

Sales Person… “So, what do you think of our product?” 

Prospect….” Well, we really are trying to decide if we use our developers to build out a product, or we pay you for your product. And right now, we are just not sure.” 

Congratulations, you just stepped into an enterprise buy versus build exercise. 

What does a buy vs build analysis usually involve? It doesn’t have to be a super complex exercise to look at making a buy or build decision. It can start with these questions:

  • What are the must-have features for this software? Can an existing product deliver those features?
  • What’s the timeline? The feature set will determine what’s going to be faster: off-the-shelf or custom. A super-tight timeline might make the decision for you.
  • What’s the build vs. buy cost analysis? Once you know the must-have features and the time required to build them, you can start scoping out what it will cost to buy vs. build.
  • What’s the ROI potential? This is the biggest question to answer: Will this product make enough money to justify its costs? Sometimes this answer will push you toward custom or off-the-shelf. (For example, the ROI with Plum Voice’s automation tools is HUGE.) Sometimes it will force you to return to step one and rethink the features.

Let’s crawl into the mind of the person advocating the build it strategy. For example, for a customer-facing conversational voice app, that CTO or IT director might be thinking….  I have all these coders around. And those folks are costing me money too, so why don’t I just put a few of my VXML programmers on it and let them build it. Sure, it will take longer, but If we code it ourselves, we save that investment in an outsourced solution and we own the service when it’s done. And they might even think it will in the end cost less than if buying from a vendor and paying monthly.

But it’s not just the estimate for the initial internal development costs. There are other considerations as well like ongoing maintenance required. When going the BUY route, the burden of product development, quality assurance, maintenance, platform migration and patch fixes are owned by the solution provider, while in-house development will usually require years of continued development beyond the initial project scope. In most cases, the vendor gains efficiencies because of its large customer base, so it can often charge less for implementing and maintaining an established product than it would cost to support a one-off, homegrown application.

As a general recommendation: if the requirement fit of commercial software is 60% or more, BUY is the way to go.

This is why the Plum Voice product suite is so appealing to enterprise customers. Plum Voice can actually help solve for both sides of the buy versus build equation. If a customer wants to buy SaaS Plum Voice offers Plum FUSE…a no code platform where from a blank canvas a customer can create their own voice automation using Conversational AI, ASR, or DTMF technology. There is also a selection of ever-growing prebuilt application templates that just need some minor programming and API integration to get up and running in minutes. Sign up for a free trial of Plum FUSE here.

And for the customer who says they want to build their software solution themselves. No problem, because with Plum DEV, they can code their own application in VXML. VXML is a standard developed and supported by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Customers with existing VXML applications can use that code. And if they ever decide to leave we don’t hold their code hostage. They just export their VXML code out. Sign up for a free trial of Plum DEV here.

Plum DEV and Plum FUSE can be used in tandem so coders can code, and non-coders in any department or call center can control their pre-built applications. Another benefit of working with Plum Voice is that our team will work closely with customers when designing and/or improving our products. 

Click here, if you are interested in partnering or selling Plum Voice as a Reseller or Referral partner.