When it comes to software implementations, aside from choosing the right solution for your business needs, your next big decision will be whether you’ll manage the implementation in-house or outsource it to a third party. In this blog, we’ll be addressing some common pros and cons to help you decide.
- Implement your software in-house
- Outsource your implementation to a B2B e-commerce agency
Implement your software in-house
If you keep your implementation in-house, it means the responsibilities of managing the project, its deliverables and the people involved will lie with you. Here are the benefits and drawbacks of this approach.
Benefit #1: You have the deepest understanding of your business
The people within your company - your employees - will naturally have a deeper understanding of your business, the industry and all of its unique challenges than a third-party consultancy/agency.
Benefit #2: You have total control
From choosing who you want involved with the project to your roadmap and how you want to execute the tasks, you’ll have total control when you keep it in-house. Theoretically, that means you can also start the project as soon as you want (provided you have the resources and expertise in-house).
Benefit #3: It’s a chance for employee development
Whether you already had the talent in-house or you need to recruit and/or upskill your existing employees, this is a great opportunity for everyone involved in the project to learn new skills. Handling an implementation project in-house gives everyone a chance at further career and personal development which can also boost employee engagement and morale.
Drawback #1: You’re responsible and accountable for everything
A benefit we mentioned earlier was that you will have complete control over the project. Unfortunately, that benefit is a double-edged sword because that also means you’re wholly responsible for:
- Creating the team of people involved in the implementation
- Creating the strategy
- Gaining stakeholder buy-in
- Stakeholder management
- Managing the project (from chasing deliverables and redistributing tasks if people are on annual or sick leave to ensuring it’s within budget and your intended timeframe)
- Testing the solution
Drawback #2: It’s time-consuming
Implementation projects aren’t quick tasks. They can take weeks or even months. And this is before we consider all the things that could go wrong, such as errors occurring during testing and challenges with user adoption.
Unless you have a separate team intended for implementations, the time that your employees spend working on the project is time they can’t spend on their everyday tasks. Can you spare the time and resources for that long?
Drawback #3: It may not be the most cost-efficient decision
Keeping an implementation project in-house may not be the most cost-efficient choice. Here are some costs you must consider:
- Recruitment - if you don’t have the resources/expertise in-house
- Salaries - either to pay your newly hired specialists or if your existing team want pay rises due to the complexity of the project
- The right software and hardware for the implementation
- The time it takes (as we all know, time is money)
Outsource your implementation to a B2B e-commerce agency
If you work with an external agency, they’ll shoulder the burden of implementing your B2B e-commerce solution. That means you can gain instant access to the right amount of resource and expertise, plus the ability to easily scale them up or down as the project progresses.
Benefit #1: There’s no need to recruit
If you don’t have the manpower or expertise in-house, no problem. An agency will provide the top specialists to work on your project so you don’t need to hire any.
Benefit #2: You can access an exclusive talent pool…
The best agencies will have years - and maybe even decades - of experience in carrying out software implementations and transformation projects. That means a wealth of expertise in working across different industries, business sizes and challenges.
Partner with one and their exclusive talent pool will become an extension of your team.
Benefit #3: …including a wider skillset
As well as having years of implementation expertise across a variety of sectors and industries, the best agencies will also have consultants experienced in other aspects of the project.
For example, at Columbus, we have a Business Transformation team who can help you:
- Align internal mindsets by creating a bold, compelling vision
- Manage stakeholder expectations
- Plan the pace of change
Our expertise in value creation and change management will help ensure you can gain team buy-in and maximise your software investment.
Benefit #4: Gain time back
In contrast to keeping it in-house, when you partner with an agency, they will handle the individual deliverables of the implementation project. That doesn’t mean you’ll relinquish all control - you’re definitely very much in control.
For example, you can still set the direction, have final approval, own governance activities and participate in formulating strategies. But the partner will manage the individual deliverables so you gain time back.
Benefit #5: Scale up or down as required
Need more resources or expertise? Has your project timeline shrunk? Do you require additional support because your system needs have changed? Or vice versa? Whatever your circumstances are, it’s easy to scale your project up or down when you work with a partner.
Benefit #6: It’s more cost-efficient
Working with an agency can often be more cost-efficient because you don’t need to:
- Recruit your own specialists
- Invest in software and hardware
Instead, you enter a contract with the agency and pay the agreed fee stated on the service level agreement (SLA) as opposed to individual salaries.
The honest truth? It depends…
Perhaps that’s not the answer you wanted to hear. But it’s the truth - both approaches are viable options and have their own set of pros and cons. What works for one business might not for another.
However, for many businesses looking to implement a new B2B e-commerce solution, working with a partner agency can be the best decision. You won’t have to worry about additional costs, such as recruitment, software and hardware, and can benefit from a team of experts with extensive, varied experience.
At Columbus, we’ve been helping businesses transform for over 30 years. We have over 200+ experts, ready to share and support you as you futureproof your commerce business.
See how we’ve helped businesses like yours by reading our success stories.