Building a website ... or a car?

Building a website ... or a car ?
Following up on some feedback we received about our post about the battle between off the shelf and bespoke software, we thought it might be a good idea to delve a little deeper into this, often confusing, subject to create a simple analogy.

What makes us tick
The other day I had a conversation with a friend who was enthusiastically telling me about his weekend project; refurbishing the brakes on his car. When I asked him about his previous experience with cars it became clear that he had also in the past serviced his own cars, replaced clutches and overhauled engines. So, no beginner then. He has always loved working on cars and prefers to do as much as possible for his own car even though he is not a qualified mechanic.

On the flip side
That made me think about another conversation I had with one of our colleagues who was of the opinion that we will soon not have jobs anymore. According to him DIY website and software solutions like Wordpress and Woocommerce make it near impossible to compete in a market of seemingly ever-tumbling prices and ‘free’ solutions. So, should we hang up the gloves, stop fighting the steady stream of people flocking to the Wix type solutions, or should we change our attitude?

The realisation
Suddenly it was as clear as day that we can hang up the gloves, not because we give up, but actually because there is no fight to be had. Just like the guy who loves working on his car himself, there will always be people who prefer to do things themselves. Some will build up a good understanding of how the various bits of technology work and fit together, and will love every minute of it. Others may find the road to enlightenment a bit too rough, and eventually decide it is better to employ the services of a professional. And, some others may very well decide upfront that the road is not worth embarking upon and, in fact, they are not even interested in seeing the roadmap. They are only interested in the final result.

Asking the right questions
So, instead of focusing on the perceived cost and outcome of any IT project it would be a good idea to consider the same things you would when you’re trying to decide if you should employ a professional or go the DIY route on any project, be it fixing your car, decorating your house or building a software system.

  • Do I have the time and energy to do this myself while taking care of all the other aspects of my life (or business)?
  • Do I have (or can I obtain) the knowledge to do this properly?
  • Does it intrigue me enough to do it myself regardless of cost / learning curve.

Once you’ve answered these 3 questions it should be easier to decide which route to follow. And, just like my friend who enjoys fixing his own car, you might find it a joy to build and maintain your own website or software system. But, if you find that it causes more stress instead of solving your problems, it’s probably a good idea to consider employing a professional to do the job.

This post was composed by our very own Riaan Olivier, so if you would like some advice on your business software please send me, or Riaan, an email at / or give us a call on +44 (0)1428 656 446.

All photos are courtesy of the lovely people who make their images available on Pixabay.

Jeri Limited is committed to Bespoke Software Development and will always aim to create effective business solutions that are intuitive and easy to use.