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7 reasons to buy, not build, your document processing platform

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With the increasing demand for intelligent document processing, and the explosion of APIs and cloud service providers we’ve witnessed over the years, it’s easy to assume most organizations already have a document processing solution in place.

But actually, some organizations are still undecided about whether they should build or buy an off-the-shelf solution. Here are seven common reasons organizations cite for building their own platform—and why buying makes more sense.

1-“I can build it cheaper than paying the licensing fees.”

While avoiding licensing fees sounds great, these fees are often just a drop in the bucket. Compare licensing fees with costs related to staffing, timing and supporting a software development lifecycle. Two easily overlooked costs of building are:

Staffing. Building software requires a huge upfront investment in labor. But labor costs don’t stop there. Factor in the salaries of developers and supporting staff to work on bug fixes, feature requests and general maintenance over time.

Time to Value. What additional value will the organization gain from having a solution in place now versus waiting for the software to be ready? And as new features are required, can you afford to wait for them to be built, tested and deployed?

2-“We can build an interface using APIs.”

The downside to depending on APIs for a document processing system is that you need a lot of them. Coding multiple connections with multiple vendors creates a fragile system with a huge margin for error. And keeping up with changing API requirements means endless code rewrites.

Ensure stability and reliability by choosing software that has built-in integrations. Use a solution with code-free frameworks that extend the power of solutions such as Microsoft Azure, Google AI, IBM Watson, Amazon Web Services and others.

3-“Our processes are just too complex.”

Obviously, simplicity can’t be purchased, and exclusive, rip-and-replace software solutions require too much change. Find what you’re looking for by aligning these two factors: Fully customizable code-free software and seasoned business analysts.

An experienced software vendor provides both—and ensures that you’re implementing the right solution for the right reason and at the right time.

4-“I don’t want to be tied to a vendor. We’ve been burned in the past.”

Have you purchased software after being told it could do everything you needed, only to find out everything you needed required custom coding, months of waiting and endless developer fees? If you’ve ever experienced this, you’ve probably sworn to never go back. But wait!

Not all software vendors punish you for having deeper needs. Traditional off-the-shelf capture solutions depend on extremely complex templates and custom coding to perform deeper data extraction. However, newer more modern software is built on code-free frameworks that are fully customizable and provide highly accurate data extraction from any type of paper or electronic record.

You don’t have to wait months or years to capture the data you need. Get cutting-edge data extraction and immediate results by choosing fully unlocked software that doesn’t require endless fees for the features you need most.

5-“We’re thinking about outsourcing the project.”

Outsourcing software development might seem such as a silver bullet. But building document processing software requires deep commitments. Here are the two major commitments you can avoid by buying:

Commitment to Being a Software Company: To ensure long-term success in developing a software application, it’s critical to commit resources to an ongoing software development lifecycle. Plan on dealing with bugs, feature requests, testing, documentation updates and new version upgrades. Is your organization ready to take that plunge?

Commitment to Training: A good training program is essential to ensure high end-user adoption. It’s not cheap to hire out the development of documentation and training programs. Add up the cost to create and implement an ongoing training program that provides consistent results with both existing staff and new hires.

6-“We’ve got smart developers on staff that can build what we need.”

When a developer builds software from the ground up, the first experience is the worst one. Building a document processing solution is a large project that requires both ability and specific experience in document capture technology.

If the internal demand on your technical resources is already high, you’re going to ask them to do even more. Are they up for the challenge?

Also, since recruiting technical talent is time-consuming and expensive, it may make more economical sense (and keep your development staff happier) to buy a solution. Invest their time in configuring the solution to your requirements instead.

7-“Off-the-shelf software can’t meet our specific requirements.”

A list of requirements is not an assurance that creating a software solution is more practical or less expensive than buying one. Requirements lists can include items that no software (custom-built or purchased for millions of dollars) can satisfy. Does a tough requirements list mean you should definitely develop your own software? Not necessarily.

Organize your list by order of importance. If an off-the-shelf product can meet at least 80% of your requirements, buying is the way to go. If you’re still far away from the 80% mark, consider adjusting the requirements list by eliminating items that are not absolutely necessary, or by adding a separate product to satisfy certain individual items.

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