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Should you Build or should you Buy your Member Portal/Extranet?

Build vs. buy: the debate has been won hands down since 15 years.

No serious association or Business organisation would build a Member Portal from scratch.

When considering the implementation of a Membership Portal/Member Area/Community Platform (aka. Extranet), the choice between building a custom solution or purchasing an off-the-shelf product can significantly impact the success and efficiency of the project.

In the past, advocates of the "build side" contended that it would be exceedingly challenging to discover a purchased solution capable of being customized to fulfil the precise requirements of a particular organisation. These proponents of on-premise solutions emphasized the unparalleled level of control inherent in building from scratch.

Although constructing from the ground up provides the appeal of personalized features and complete autonomy, choosing to acquire an Extranet software brings forth numerous compelling benefits.

The cons of Building an Extranet/Member Portal software from scratch:

  1. Cost and Time Overruns: Developing custom software is always more expensive and time-consuming than initially estimated. Unexpected challenges, changes in requirements, and technical complexities leads to cost and time overruns.

  2. Resource Intensive: Building software requires a significant investment in terms of skilled personnel, infrastructure, and technology resources. Maintaining a dedicated development team is costly, especially for associations.

  3. Technical Challenges: Developing software from scratch entails addressing various technical challenges, such as choosing the right technology stack, ensuring compatibility across different platforms and devices, and dealing with security vulnerabilities.

  4. Lack of Expertise: If your organisation lacks experienced tech-savvy staff or domain-specific knowledge, building software from scratch is challenging. It may require extensive training or hiring additional talent, which can further increase costs and time to market.

  5. Longer Time to Market: Custom software development typically takes longer to complete compared to purchasing off-the-shelf solutions. This delay in deployment impact your ability to meet business objectives and respond to Members or Leadership team demands promptly.

  6. Maintenance and Support: Building software from scratch means you're responsible for addressing any bugs, implementing new features, and providing user support.

  7. Risk of Failure: This happens when technical specs and scope of work are poorly defined. Failed projects can result in wasted resources, damaged reputation, and missed opportunities.

  8. Lack of Pre-existing Features: Off-the-shelf software often comes with a wide range of pre-existing features/modules that have been tested and refined over time. Building from scratch means you start with a blank slate, potentially missing out on these features unless you invest additional time and resources in development.

  9. Dependency on Internal Development Team: Relying solely on an internal development team for custom software create IT dependencies and bottlenecks. If key team members leave or become unavailable, it can disrupt ongoing development and support efforts.

  10. Potential for Over-Engineering: Without clear requirements and a disciplined approach to development, there's a risk of over-engineering the software, adding unnecessary complexity and features that don't align with user needs or business goals.

Why you should buy your Member Portal/Community software from Symantra?

  1. Time to Market: Purchasing Symantra's Members Experience Platform software will significantly reduce development time, allowing you to deploy the solution faster (few weeks, not months) and start realizing its benefits sooner.

  2. Cost savings: Symantra's off-the-shelf software typically involves lower costs compared to full custom development since you're not bearing the entire burden of development from scratch.

  3. Community Management & Membership Engagement Expertise: You don't need to have in-house technical expertise for development if you buy software. The vendor handles development, updates, and fixes.

  4. Best Practices & Exclusive Knowledge: Symantra shares Best-in-class associations' best practices, which is advantageous.

  5. Tailored Solution, without sacrificing reliability or scalability.

  6. No Risk associated with custom development, such as technical challenges, project delays, and unexpected cost

  7. You focus on your Core Competencies: our clients can focus their resources and efforts on their core competencies and strategic initiatives, rather than dedicating resources to building IT or maintaining software infrastructure.

  8. ...and much more benefits.

By leveraging Symantra's NextGen Extranet, your organisation will remove the inherent risks and uncertainties of building software from scratch.

Our clients enjoy using an established software platform, with the flexibility and control of custom development while benefiting from the reliability, security, and scalability of the Number 1 Extranet for Business Associations and non-profits in Europe.

About Symantra

Symantra is an all-in-one community management and engagement platform. It empowers Business organisations to grow their fully branded private communities. Symantra's Member Platform is customizable with 40+ modules and provides all the tools needed to create vibrant community engagement.


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