Thursday, 10 September 2015

In house tool vs enterprise tool / open source tool

Tool development and adoption

The current pace of software development cannot manage its speed without the automation.
Automation is the most important element in order to achieve agility in delivery of the product. Every part of the software development life cycle needs tools to perform their action automatically. These phases could be coding, code review, build & deployment, environment management, resource assignment, notification and many others.
There could be 2 options, which a team can opt for:
  • Use a third party tool
    • One can select the tools, which are available in market, either open-sourced or free. You can even buy enterprise solution if needed.
  • Build an in-house tool
    • Tool can be built or developed in-house for the consumption as well.
Lets take look different aspects of choosing options

  • Features

Each organization and team may have different features for different use cases. Some time it makes more sense to build your own tool just for your need rather adaption of a third-party one for which most of the features are not going to be used.

  • Time for on-boarding

Time is definitely a big factor here, if one thinks of developing in-house tool and use it then this will definitely take time. If, need of tool is not urgent or critical, in house development option could be considered.
Third-party tool can be immediately on boarded and there won’t be much delay other then some logistics reason.

  • Effort and Resource

If the tool is complex, its not easy to build, one will need resources and lots of time to build it and then next challenge is implementation.
Above effort can be reduced by adaption the tools which is available in the market. There are chances that other users are aware of the tools and training time could be reduced.

  • Cost

Lets discuss one more important part, which is the cost. Yes, money is also one of the biggest factors on deciding what to opt for. There may be good options to choose from free and open source tools. But if enterprise tools selected, then cost may incur.
You will need a dedicated team and resources to build the tool with in organization.
Its hard to decide if in-house tools will be costly or enterprise. Decision has be to taken by considering long term investment and return.

  • Support

Enterprise tools usually come with a proper support. This is really important factor if tool is very critical. Open source tools may not have enough support, as it is community driven effort. In-house tools may need resource to provide support and training in the team/organization.  Even bug fix needs to be taken care under support category.

  • Adaption/Expertise

In-House tools are highly customize as per use case and will need proper training for adaption with in organization. In case of thirdparty tool, as I mentioned earlier there are chances that other users are aware of the tools and training time could be reduced.
So, Adaption of tool is not an easy task. Decision has to be taken with a very strategic thought process.

If tool is complex then it is definitely not a part time task.

One more important thing to consider is if the team is trying to build in-house tool, which is going to be major business for somebody else then it has to be developed with proper planning and priorities, otherwise there are high chances of failure.

Please Note- I am not considering or referring to any tooling like script or some simple UI dashboard.