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All In One Business Apps vs. Wiring together multiple cloud apps. vs. Roll Your Own

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Chris Sciora

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Feb 15, 2022
121
127
Every business needs software to even get started nowadays. Even when it's only text messages and Venmo, it's still relying on software apps. I'm deciding between three options: All In One applications, wiring together multiple cloud app and roll your own.

#1 Roll Your Own: Since I've owned a software company for many years - including a Saas web app for small business - one of the key decisions starting a new company recently was the software platforms we'd use to operate and scale. No chance it would Roll Your Own (i.e. build custom software from Day 1). That turns you into a software development company with all the inherent problems that come with running it. Bad idea.

#2 Wiring Together Multiple Cloud Apps: There's tons of excellent third party cloud based applications nowadays with excellent support. Most are dirt cheap monthly subscriptions that can easily integrate with each other through built-in integrations, built-in APIs and services like Zapier. You can have JotForm automatically populate a CRM like HubSpot or JetCRM, push customer information into an invoicing application like Freshbooks, have Gusto payroll data feed automatically into Quickbooks Online. Stuff like that. That was (and still is) my plan. It's takes more effort to research each building block and wire it to another one, but it gives you a lot of flexibility for building out a system. If something doesn't work well or doesn't scale easily, it's not a big deal to swap it out for another similar building block that works better. Kind of like building something with Lego blocks.

#3 All In One Industry Apps: These are industry specific packages designed to be the Swiss knife of software. It does everything you could want to operate your business. Or at least claims to do that. More often than not, you'll find shortcomings that are difficult or impossible to work around. It often means signing a long-term service agreement. Support can be sketchy because these tend to be small business running on a legacy code base without the big money to upgrade everything or start with a blank slate. It's often a closed system and difficult to integrate with modern cloud based applications. Although it's heavily customized, the software used to run this forum is a good example.

I hate, hate, hate the idea of relying on a single vendor to operate the business. Dan Kennedy preaches endlessly about the dangers of "ONE". Yet I recently found an industry package that comes across as extremely well done, great functionality, reasonably good looking and affordable. If I hired a development team, it has almost everything I'd scope out myself. It has a pretty sizable customer base. Don't know about support quality yet.

How would you go about deciding between #2 and #3? What kind of safeguards could be used with Option #3?

Thanks,
Chris
 
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Hong_Kong

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Apr 7, 2022
92
102
Every business needs software to even get started nowadays. Even when it's only text messages and Venmo, it's still relying on software apps. I'm deciding between three options: All In One applications, wiring together multiple cloud app and roll your own.

#1 Roll Your Own: Since I've owned a software company for many years - including a Saas web app for small business - one of the key decisions starting a new company recently was the software platforms we'd use to operate and scale. No chance it would Roll Your Own (i.e. build custom software from Day 1). That turns you into a software development company with all the inherent problems that come with running it. Bad idea.

#2 Wiring Together Multiple Cloud Apps: There's tons of excellent third party cloud based applications nowadays with excellent support. Most are dirt cheap monthly subscriptions that can easily integrate with each other through built-in integrations, built-in APIs and services like Zapier. You can have JotForm automatically populate a CRM like HubSpot or JetCRM, push customer information into an invoicing application like Freshbooks, have Gusto payroll data feed automatically into Quickbooks Online. Stuff like that. That was (and still is) my plan. It's takes more effort to research each building block and wire it to another one, but it gives you a lot of flexibility for building out a system. If something doesn't work well or doesn't scale easily, it's not a big deal to swap it out for another similar building block that works better. Kind of like building something with Lego blocks.

#3 All In One Industry Apps: These are industry specific packages designed to be the Swiss knife of software. It does everything you could want to operate your business. Or at least claims to do that. More often than not, you'll find shortcomings that are difficult or impossible to work around. It often means signing a long-term service agreement. Support can be sketchy because these tend to be small business running on a legacy code base without the big money to upgrade everything or start with a blank slate. It's often a closed system and difficult to integrate with modern cloud based applications. Although it's heavily customized, the software used to run this forum is a good example.

I hate, hate, hate the idea of relying on a single vendor to operate the business. Dan Kennedy preaches endlessly about the dangers of "ONE". Yet I recently found an industry package that comes across as extremely well done, great functionality, reasonably good looking and affordable. If I hired a development team, it has almost everything I'd scope out myself. It has a pretty sizable customer base. Don't know about support quality yet.

How would you go about deciding between #2 and #3? What kind of safeguards could be used with Option #3?

Thanks,
Chris

I think one framework might not be bad in some cases. Personally I won't use one framework if it is paid (vendor lockin). I tend to favour opensource apps such as budibase, ghost, etc. That way nobody can control you.
 

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