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Build or Buy - Weighing the Trade-offs

Posted by Angela Davis on January 25, 2023
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Build or buy used to be a binary decision; you could go one way or the other.

Over the years, some brilliant and innovative people in many industries realized that implementing relevant standards could create new synergies (things like Plug and Play or USB) and also open up entirely new industries (think Open Banking and fintechs).

This led to ‘Integrated Modular Systems,’ and now there is a third option, combining the best of both binary options.

Now, if you design and implement a modernization or integration program, you can tailor an entire solution using best-of-breed components, developed in-house or externally, that interact natively. You can customize an existing platform, build your own solution using open or closed-source components, or enlist an experienced ‘integrator’ who has done that.

There is a common thread of cooperation in all these new options that promotes a better end result. Please note that this is equally valid for end customers as it is for project management contractors and system implementers.

We often use cost as our basic ‘unit’ or parameter when weighing our options. There are other parameters, such as the availability of resources, but these can usually be expressed in cost units. Another such parameter is gained experience, which, although it can be expressed in cost units, actually impacts other efficiencies in the organization or program. Another factor is shared experience, creating synergies by leveraging diverse bodies of knowledge and background.  

Let’s look at a simplified integration process – a bank wants to let customers check their account balance from their mobile device.

We have our bank’s legacy systems on one side and a mobile application on the other. The integration process can be chunked into logical areas: communications, security, operation, and data. Each of these can be further broken down into functional areas: connections and authorizations, environments, conversions, and more.

Remember, this is a simplified process. 

The principle is the same with real-world processes, just with many more moving parts interacting.

In this more complex scenario, unless you have a truly extraordinary set of skills readily available to you, working with specialized experts is probably the best route.

On the digital side, with the move to the cloud or any other deployment strategy you embrace, you will select the environment based primarily on technical requirements. 

On the legacy side, however, things are not quite so cut-and-dried. When selecting your project team, you must rely on experience and proven track records.

In any legacy integration project, you must connect to and communicate with core systems to expose business logic and data. This is a highly specialized area, requiring expertise in legacy systems (mainframes, midframes, languages like COBOL, technologies like CICS) on the one hand, and in public and private cloud deployment, on the other.

Using APIs and microservices is becoming the industry standard as the best way to expose legacy resources to the modern, digital and mobile ecosystem.

This is where OpenLegacy's Hub solution is unparalleled in the industry. Using our patented technology, OpenLegacy partners can offer automated integration with just about any legacy system out there. Our language and tech-agnostic approach, coupled with our open-source, API-first, partner-first approach, make OpenLegacy the natural choice to bridge the legacy-digital gap, allowing you to focus on the other elements of your Integration project.

OpenLegacy's Hub immediately benefits you by effortlessly integrating with your client's legacy systems, but it also gives you the tools and experience to gain additional market traction. Check out how we work with technology partners here

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