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Buyer's Guide

The new (and winning) option in the BUILD vs. BUY debate

Resolving the Build vs. Buy Dilemma

The search for enterprise software can feel like a long and arduous journey, especially if you’re looking for a mobile inspection or audit solution for safety, quality, risk, or compliance monitoring.

Sooner or later, you’re bound to face the same dilemma that’s been dogging tech shoppers since the dawn of enterprise software:

DO YOU BUILD A SOLUTION?

It could take months or years to design and implement the right combination of form and function to meet 100% of your needs.

DO YOU BUY A SOLUTION?

Doing so could save time, but may mean sacrificing functionality you might need or want.

Despite the benefits of both approaches, each comes with major drawbacks. And with the high stakes of Enterprise Software implementation, can you really afford to compromise?

In this buyer’s guide, we’ll delve into the pros and cons of building vs. buying a mobile data collection solution, and dig deeper into how and why the flexible Form.com platform could be the "best of both worlds" for your company.

THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS

Form.com is faster and easier to deploy than an internal build, but is still fully customizable to meet your company’s unique requirements.

Build versus buy dilemma

ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS

If you work at a large company, your first instinct might be to build. After all, you already have the technical resources in-house to create a custom solution that checks all your boxes. But you also know that any major internal build can take a very long time to complete — probably longer than you or your stakeholders can wait.

You’ve probably also crossed paths with a few sales folks claiming that their preconfigured solution can satisfy all your requirements. But you know that most out-of-the-box solutions can’t be customized, and the way your company operates is far too unique for an off the shelf platform.

Before you venture down either path, there are some important questions to ask:

Will the solution make you change your business processes?
How customizable is each solution you’re considering?
Do you have complex integration needs?
How long would it take to build? Is that time better spent on other things?
How customized are your needs? Can off-the-shelf products meet them?
Does your team have the expertise to build what you need?
Does that solution meet your most important?
What are some of your competitors using? Can you oneup them?
How userfriendly is each solution?
How easy/complex is each implementation option?
Does the vendor have customers in the same field as you?

BUILDING
IN-HOUSE

The idea of building an in-house mobile solution seems logical at first, especially if your company isn’t interested in dealing with cookie-cutter platforms. But building a homegrown solution that has the right look, feel, and function comes with some drawbacks...

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BUYING
OFF THE SHELF

In the past, large companies didn’t have the option to buy off-the-shelf software. IT decision makers opposed them due to a lack of transparency and insight into integration, security, and hosting details. Stakeholders on the business side, meanwhile, were also opposed to ...

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THE 3rd
(AND WINNING) OPTION

At Form.com, we’re not about creating cookie-cutter platforms for individual industries. We’re also not about starting from scratch with long and drawn out projects that blow by deadlines and drop important features to meet promised launch dates. What we are about is ...

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8 REASONS
Form.com Is The Right Solution for You

Improve speed to market

At Form.com, we’re able to quickly design and deploy individualized solutions for our customers infinitely faster than a homegrown solution. This is thanks to our unique delivery approach.

The Form.com 80/20 Methodology is the rocket fuel that propels our custom solutions through delivery so quickly. Eighty percent of each solution we build starts as a pre-configured foundation of code, complete with all the bells and whistles that we’ve developed through a decade and a half of research and development. We then customize and fine tune the details to meet your needs.

Partner with experts in solution design & architecture

The right solution design and architecture can mean the difference between a user base that quickly takes to their new application (because it helps them do their job), and one that almost instantly rejects it (because it slows them down and they hate working with it).

When thinking about building, remember that most in-house tech teams aren’t experienced in designing enterprise-level data collection solutions, let alone architecting complex mobile apps with automated processes and task management. But, why would they be? It takes time to nail the user experience for a new digital tool that people will use to do perform their jobs. In fact, if done right it can take years of research and development—years that you don’t have to spare. So, instead of trying to re-invent the wheel, why not hitch your wagon to a fully functioning powerhouse that’s already done the heavy lifting for you?

Some (if not most) off-the-shelf solutions provide a decent user experience and design. But before you decide on one, be sure to ask yourself:

Will this tool give me the user experience design and architecture I need? Will it fit my business and make work easier for my colleagues? Or will I be force feeding a dud to my endusers? And if so, how will they react when the fancy new tools I deliver start messing with the way they do things?

At Form.com, we know how tools like these work because we’ve been in the trenches with companies like yours for years, helping safety and quality professionals implement mobile applications and solutions with the exact features and functionality they need to hit the ground running at an efficient and productive clip.

Make data-driven decisions

When you take time to analyze the data you collect with Form.com, you start to get a good understanding of problems that may be happening at the ground level, while getting a constant pulse on how safety initiatives are working at your current jobsites.

As data starts to accumulate, you can start making smarter decisions based on historical information. You can use this information to identify trends, which in turn can help you implement preventative actions for each of your locations.

The right data and a willingness to learn from it can help you start generating thoughts and conversations where real learning can happen. Over time, this can spark better ideas, smarter decisions, and ultimately lead you down a path towards continuous improvement.

Get more for your money

The flexible nature of Form.com combines with its feature-rich core to provide our customers with more utility than they thought possible. Not only do our customizable products solve the data collection problems that prompted you to search for software in the first place, but they also provide cutting-edge features like forms automation, GPS tracking, and camera integration.

Got another department that needs something similar? Simply re-use the Core 80 of your existing platform and adjust the remaining 20% of the solution to meet their needs.

Enjoy impeccable engagement

At Form.com, we believe client engagement is one of the most important parts of any project. After all, without constant communication and transparency, a project quickly can go off the rails. That’s why we empower our Account Managers to go beyond the normal range of client expectations to create truly effective and sustainable business relationships built on trust and mutual understanding.

It all starts with a custom demo: a working model that converts a client’s existing forms into a functioning prototype, complete with custom branding. Our clients can then share this working demo with stakeholders to provide the team with a concrete example of what a final solution might look like. Next, we gather feedback, make adjustments, and deliver a proof of concept.

The proof of concept can then be used in a pilot program where users provide additional feedback before rolling the solution out to the masses. Not only does this level of client engagement make sure that vendor/client expectations are aligned throughout the process, but it helps get the most viable product out to the field as quickly as possible.

Embrace the added value

As mentioned above, Form.com lets you re-use your platform over and over again to fulfill of your company’s data collection needs, so you can share the benefits of your new mobile application with other divisions and dramatically improve the value of your investment.

Also, while you may have heard the argument that building software in-house will pay for itself over time, the cost of the software you’re developing will pale in comparison to the ongoing maintenance costs and fees involved in a homegrown solution. Any solution that doesn’t require you to constantly update, tweak, and adjust it will almost always deliver at a lower total cost of ownership than a regularly maintained homegrown solution.

You also need to prepare for the inevitable scope creep that will happen when too many internal chefs are allowed in the kitchen. Without strict project management and constant transparency, your budget could be depleted before you know it.

According to a recent McKinsey survey, 45% of large IT projects run over budget, delivering 56% less value than expected . In fact, one in five internal projects fail so spectacularly (with overruns ranging from 200-400%) that they threaten the future of the company.

Manage change without fear

If you’ve ever been involved in an internal software build, you know that change requests can quickly spiral out of control and derail even the most diligent project managers. In fact, unexpected changes are the primary reason why so many internal projects end up delayed and over budget. Not only is it next to impossible to manage a budget when you’re constantly adjusting, it can also be very hard on your tech team. After all, nobody enjoys undoing two weeks of work just because a change wasn’t planned or anticipated.

As for buying a solution, expect change management to be extremely difficult. Point solutions are designed for utility, not flexibility. In fact, many vertical solutions are so rigid that it can be nearly impossible to solve your largest internal problems without making a significant investment into professional services. And as we mentioned earlier, you’re usually going to have to hire a third party to customize an off-the-shelf solution (if it’s even possible).

Any time you bring a third-party into the fray, you’re setting yourself up for additional work and the potential for confusion. You’ve already vetted your solution, and now you also have to vet your potential new partner, which could be a lot more complicated than it seems. Before you know it, you could end up paying multiple companies for the same solution – with licenses and subscription fees on one side and consulting and development fees on the other. Worst of all, once you start splitting up a project you no longer have one company or individual completely invested in the entire experience of your platform, which could come back to haunt you should something go seriously wrong.

When you invest in a solution like Form.com, however, you’re getting a tool that’s completely flexible and customizable. And our professional services are part of the package. That means you’ll never have to worry about paying out the nose for things like change requests, additional license fees, and consulting invoices. It’s the beauty of the 80/20 rule; you can always make changes if necessary without destroying your budget or derailing your entire program.

Prepare for tomorrow

Most internal development teams are so busy building and maintaining their data collection platforms that they have no time to stay on top of the latest industry tech trends or keep up with advancements by the competition. They’re already having a hard enough time completing tasks fast enough to meet their aggressive deadlines.

The unique Form.com approach means that you never have to worry about investing in new innovations to keep up with competition, and you never have to worry about any surprises down the road. That’s because all recurring costs for Form.com customers are pre-built into the contract, and updates come free of charge. Even our customers with self-hosted solutions gain immediate access to all of our new features and functionality whenever a new release is pushed out.

It’s important to know that not all products work this way. In fact, many will make you pay for upgrades and enhancements. So before signing any contracts, make sure the solution you choose includes ongoing upkeep and technology advancements.

Also, remember the potential for internal software envy. Chances are, another internal department is going to see your solution and wonder how they can get one. And since it’s unreasonable to expect an internal IT team to develop a homegrown solution for each and every data collection business case in your company, you’ll need to find new and creative ways to re-use and re-purpose similar solutions over and over again.

An investment in the extensible Form.com platform can help you do just that. You’ll rest assured knowing that if any internal requests pop-up in the future, you can re-use what you’ve already implemented and leave the minor tweaks and adjustments to the Form.com professional services team.

A few parting words

WORKING THROUGH YOUR DECISION

At the end of the day, Form.com is about finding the best way to manage the troves of data that your business produces, and optimize the way it’s moved and shared across your organization. But what truly sets us apart from the build and buy models is our unique ability to give you full control over a customized platform without asking you to wait years for it to be developed from scratch by an in-house IT team.

At Form.com, our approach is 100% focused on the success of our enterprise customers. We’re not a typical software company that outsources support and is never around when you need them. In fact, we consider ourselves more of a partner than a vendor to our customers, which is why we’re always doing our best to build and nurture long-term relationships with each and every Form.com client.

Thank you for taking the time to review the Form.com buyer’s guide. Hopefully it provided you with a clear idea of the functionality that our platform provides and how we’re leveraging our 80/20 Methodology to become the third (and winning) option in the build vs buy debate.

Got questions? We can help!

Form.com is a flexible platform designed to take time-consuming procedures done on paper and spreadsheets and turn them into user-friendly forms. Our mobile and offline app allows you to access and complete forms from anywhere, even while offline, and our team of exprerts will work with you every step of the way to create your ideal solution.


For more information

Call: USA: +1 781 849 8118
UK: +44(0) 1252 551 600
FR: +33 (0)1 84 88 54 94

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