What’s best, developing tech in-house or buying off the shelf?

business man with spade

By AdviceBridge

Over recent years, a number of advice firms have opted to build their own tech in-house. Some even argue that the best technology solutions have been built by wealth and advice firms. This could be because they go into it with a clear understanding of what they, and their clients, need from their technology.

However, while it’s true that bespoke technology can be the best way to meet specific business needs, building your own tech isn’t to be taken lightly. You’ll need resilience, skill, creative thinking, and deep pockets, which may mean taking on financial backing.

With all this in mind, this article looks at the pros and cons of buying your business tech off the shelf or developing it in-house.

Building your own tech in-house

You have extensive knowledge of how you do your job and what your clients need.

So, it’s little surprise that many advisers believe that they are best placed to create what is most needed and set out to build their own tools according to their specific business requirements.

Create a bespoke client experience

Of those advisers who take the bold move to build their own tech, they do so not only to improve their workflows or processes but to improve client experience. By taking a client-focused approach, some IFA firms have succeeded in significantly improving the client experience while also expanding the business by providing more affordable advice.

Building your own tech is not for the faint-hearted

Building your own bespoke tech comes at a cost. Not only is it expensive in terms of capital expenditure, but it can also be incredibly time-consuming.

This kind of project will require resilience, skill, creativity, and maybe even financial backing. It is not a task for the faint-hearted.

Think about the long-term costs and upkeep

There are huge benefits to be gained by building your tech in-house. However, you also need to think about the long-term costs and responsibility of maintaining and keeping your technology up-to-date, compliant, and functioning.

R&D credits can help reduce the costs

When it comes to funding the development of in-house technology, you may be able to make use of R&D credits which can contribute to the costs of building your tech in-house. You can see how R&D credits work and whether you are eligible on the government website.

You’ll need to hire and retain the right talent

This will likely involve hiring at least one skilled programmer. You’ll need to hire a developer with multiple skills including graphic design and user experience. Alternatively, you may prefer to hire a whole team who, together, have the skill set required to get your project off the ground.

It will take time, probably more than you anticipate

Designing and building your in-house tech will take a substantial amount of time and patience. Depending on the scale of your project you should expect the build to take at least six months. Thereafter there will be extensive testing that you should also factor into your build schedule.

Be ready to tackle teething problems

Once you have launched your in-house tech and unveiled it to your clients there may be teething problems that still need to be ironed out. This can be disruptive and require you to reassure clients who may be rattled by errors that they, and you, had not foreseen.

Consider how you’ll maintain your technology if your developer leaves

Finally, once everything is up and running and your team and clients have become accustomed to using your shiny new technology, it will need maintaining. You may face the problem of losing the person who managed and built your system once the fun work is complete. If this happens, you could struggle to find a suitable replacement. Finding someone with enough skill and experience to take on what is effectively a babysitting role will likely prove problematic.

Buying off the shelf

It’s quick and easy

Once you’ve identified where you could be doing things better, you can look for available solutions. Once you’ve found providers that might work for you can undertake a review and select the one most appropriate for your needs and business.

This process is quick and easy to implement (or at least quicker and easier than building it yourself). And you have the reassurance that it has been built by experts and developed further through a wide range of feedback from other users like you.

Running multiple systems can cause problems and increase complexity

Technology has developed over time and advice firms have adopted more ”tools” as they have been developed to cover different aspects of planning. But, in many cases, this has led to greater levels of complexity and had the opposite effect of what was intended.

Instead of technology making business processes smoother and more productive, these multi-part tech solutions fail to communicate effectively and make for a clunky experience – for team members, and worse, sometimes for clients too.

Running multiple systems may not reduce productivity

Running multiple systems that aren’t integrated means you can spend extra time carrying out manual checks and resorting to re-keying of information. This immediately negates any supposed efficiency of moving from a manual to digitally driven system and, in some cases, increases your costs.

You risk creating an inefficient technology stack

If you want to maximise productivity and efficiency through technology, it’s vital that you source tools that are fully integrated into your end-to-end systems. Finding another add-on will simply exacerbate the problem of having an inefficient technology stack.

When you introduce new tech, there’s always going to be a period of adjustment. But seamless integration, and a product that delivers all that you need in one package, can help reduce the headaches you encounter and result in measurable cost and time efficiency.

Serve every client profitably with AdviceBridge

AdviceBridge is an off-the-shelf solution that is tailored to your business and can help you digitise and automate your workflows and processes without the need for you to move away from your chosen providers.

The AdviceBridge platform is easy to implement and integrates seamlessly with existing software, allowing a best of breed, end-to-end solution.

Using AdviceBridge allows you to digitise many of the manual, time-consuming processes firms are still undertaking even though they use multiple pieces of technology. You and your team will waste less time on admin, compliance, and reports, which will free up more time to focus on your client relationships.

The platform can cut the time spent on new clients down from the typical 25–35 hours to under five hours, including meetings. Saving up to 85% of the time it might otherwise take.

You and your client get your own separate dashboard along with an easy-to-use interface. The simple and meaningful interface creates an engaging experience allowing you to deliver timely, on-point advice with minimal effort.

Get in touch

If you want to find out how AdviceBridge can help you automate and grow your business, please get in touch.

Email hello@advicebridge.com or call us on 020 3925 3850.