Build vs. Buy: Empowering Contact Centers to Make the Right Tech Investment

5 minute read

Samantha Middlebrook Director, Product Management

The Dilemma of Contact Center Technology 

Contact centers face immense pressure to deliver exceptional experiences while streamlining operations. As technology rapidly evolves, a critical decision looms: Should businesses build custom solutions or buy pre-built offerings from established vendors? This choice has far-reaching implications for cost, scalability, and overall success. 

Building Custom Solutions: Risks and Considerations 

The allure of building a custom solution lies in the promise of tailored functionality and complete control. However, this path is not without its pitfalls. Developing and maintaining a bespoke contact center technology stack demands a significant investment of time, resources, and expertise. Moreover, the risks associated with in-house development, including cost overruns, technical debt, and the challenge of keeping pace with rapidly evolving technologies, cannot be overlooked. Organizations must carefully weigh these considerations against the potential benefits of customization. 

Total Cost of Ownership: A Closer Look 

One of the most critical factors in the build vs. buy decision is the total cost of ownership (TCO). While the upfront cost of building a custom solution may appear lower, organizations must consider the long-term expenses associated with development, maintenance, and ongoing support. Additionally, the opportunity cost of diverting resources from core business activities to manage an in-house solution can be substantial. In contrast, pre-built solutions often feature predictable pricing models, bundled support services, and regular updates, making them a cost-effective option over the long term. By conducting a thorough TCO analysis, organizations can gain valuable insights into the true cost implications of their technology investments. 

Insights from Industry Leaders 

In the quest for insights into the build vs. buy dilemma, we turn to industry leaders for guidance. Nicola Morini Bianzino, Chief Technology Officer at EY, offers a valuable perspective: “Often, companies believe they must build the perfect solution themselves. However, in the long term, they may be better off with a solution that meets 70 to 80% of their needs but is easier to manage within their existing ecosystem.” Bianzino’s wisdom underscores the importance of striking a balance between customization and manageability in the pursuit of effective contact center technology solutions. “If you’re a bank, should you spend time trying to build better software hosting infrastructure than major cloud providers? Focus your build efforts on the core capabilities in your organization that create, deliver and capture the value that drives your business, especially those that give you a competitive advantage.” 

Advantages of Buying Pre-Built Solutions 

Contrary to popular belief, buying pre-built solutions from reputable vendors offers numerous advantages. These solutions are backed by years of industry expertise, extensive research and development, and a commitment to ongoing innovation. Moreover, pre-built offerings often feature predictable pricing models, regular updates, and dedicated support, making them a compelling option for organizations seeking to minimize risk and streamline operations. By leveraging the expertise of established vendors, organizations can focus on delivering exceptional customer experiences without getting bogged down by the complexities of in-house development. 

Decision-Making Framework: Factors to Consider 

To assist organizations in navigating the build vs. buy decision, we recommend a comprehensive decision-making framework. Factors such as industry expertise, total cost of ownership, scalability, technology integration, security, and key person risk should all be carefully evaluated. By weighing these considerations against their unique business needs and objectives, organizations can make informed decisions that position them for success in the competitive landscape of contact center technology. 

Conclusion: The way forward 

The choice between building and buying contact center technology solutions is not one to be taken lightly. By embracing a strategic approach informed by industry insights and a clear understanding of organizational priorities, businesses can chart a course forward that maximizes value and drives sustainable growth. Whether opting for customization or pre-built solutions, the key lies in aligning technology investments with business objectives and customer experience goals, ultimately empowering organizations to thrive in an ever-changing marketplace. 

Expert Insights: The Value of Partnership 

As organizations embark on their journey to enhance contact center operations, the value of partnership cannot be overstated. By collaborating with established vendors such as Upland who understand the unique challenges and opportunities of the contact center landscape, organizations can unlock new possibilities and drive innovation. Through ongoing support, guidance, and collaboration, these partnerships enable organizations to stay ahead of the curve and deliver exceptional customer experiences that set them apart in the marketplace. 

Upland Software stands out not only as a leader in software solutions but as specialists in contact center and knowledge management technologies. With a global team of dedicated experts deeply passionate about tackling the challenges of modern contact centers, Upland offers a comprehensive suite of products and consulting services tailored to meet the diverse needs of organizations worldwide. From robust development teams driving innovation to consulting services aimed at facilitating seamless technology and business transformations, Upland is committed to empowering organizations to excel in customer service. With a strong focus on AI integration and advanced features, Upland is well-positioned to partner with organizations, providing the expertise and support needed to navigate the complexities of the ever-evolving contact center landscape. 

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