Reuse, buy, or build? Rethinking software and tech questions

By ATB Financial 8 March 2019 1 min read

There’s no ‘right’ answer to the question of whether to ‘Reuse, Buy, or Build’ when it comes to software. The traditional approach for technology infrastructure and applications is: reuse first, then buy, and if there’s no product that fits, build.

But why stick to something traditional if it can be improved?

Buying a product can have some serious pitfalls. Though often commended for being the cheaper and quicker option, going with an off-the-shelf software has risks of incompatibility and limits in functionality.

Customizations can also lead to nightmares when new versions are released. We dare you to find an IT manager who doesn’t have a story to tell about getting so deep into customizations that a simple update can mean a system (and mental) meltdown.

The build-first model requires an up-front investment that can prove challenging for many organizations. It also means that tools can take a little bit longer to get into the hands of team members, but the time and human resources investment can pay off big.


So why go the custom-built software route? It comes down to customization and growth.

A key to success with the new hierarchy is a team equipped with the skills and technology stack to feasibly build solutions.

Buying a product might work for what we need right now, but what about five years down the road? A forward-thinking mindset eliminates future frustrations of working with lagging technology or, worse, being bogged down by updating and testing customizations or being forced to transfer everything over to a new system in a few years time.

In the name of innovation, we say don’t be afraid to veto stale paradigms and provide meaningful solutions to problems large and small. You never know what a change can do.

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This article originally appeared on, a platform for the disruptive edge of ATB. If you’re interested in what we’re up to in the technology department, feel free to check it out!

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