Thoughts on the "build"​ VS "buy"​ approach for web frontends I wish I had 7 years before ... .

You start from scratch, get fast traction, and will be faster behind the market as you expect.

Thoughts on the "build"​ VS "buy"​ approach for web frontends I wish I had 7 years before ... .
Written by
Markus Lorenz
Published on
Jan 26, 2024
Category
Strategy

Did you ever ask yourself what questions you need to answer in a "build" VS "buy" approach to a web frontend?

You start from scratch, get fast traction, and will be faster behind the market as you expect.

WHY?

In General:

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Starting from scratch means investing time & money in the wrong place.

Developers and product managers have to deal with things like designing architectures and implementing implementation patterns and frameworks.


You end up reinventing the wheel, solving issues which have already been solved by existing frameworks.


The bottom line is that time and resources are allocated to critical technical decisions without investing those resources in differentiating the user experience.

Developing a frontend yourself makes sense for highly specialized requirements (B2B App, Fieldagend Application,...).

For established application spectrums, such as an eCommerce platform, some standards have already solved many challenges.

Deciding against a standard or framework also means not participating in their community or vendor and not being able to use their updates. Ultimately, you have to ensure, that you are always up to date, implement all security features, update frameworks, etc.

In the long run, you can expect to lag behind the market without a major allocation of resources (e.g. capacity and money).

Business Performance

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If you decide on a "build" strategy, you have to plan enough resources to update the APIs to other partners (CMS, Checkout,..) permanently.

Furthermore, every change in the business will need developer capacities.

Did you plan capacity for this?

So you need developers working on the core, internal product managers and people for documentation.... .

If you don't take these resources into account when planning the frontend, you can expect to significantly reduce your business performance in the mid-term.

Tech Team & Orga

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From our perspective, the central question when creating a frontend application "from scratch" is whether the team is experienced in e-commerce projects AND if this is a strategic advantage for your project.

It must be ensured that enough specialists in areas such as security, SEO, performance, architecture, UX etc. are available in the project to ensure the project's success.

If this is not the case, it makes more sense to rely on a framework and train the team on it.

In addition to the technical capacity, a product-centric organization efficiently managing the requirements is a prerequisite for generating corresponding forward momentum in the project.