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Wellsource Blog

Should You Build or Buy Wellness Technology?

Written by Wellsource, Inc.

March 28, 2019

Wellness platform CoreHealth Technologies tackles the question on the Wellness-Technology minds of many wellness professionals. Should you build your own wellness technology, or outsource to third party vendors?

This article was originally published on the CoreHealth website.

Technology can be a key competitive advantage for any wellness company. Here are 4 guidelines and a white paper to help you decide if you should build your own, buy a market-ready solution or outsource.

Technology dictates a company’s efficiency but more importantly, it is a major influencer in your customer’s buying process.

In just 50 years, technology has changed the world and the pace is increasing exponentially. A smart phone today has more computing power than all of NASA did 45 years ago when it put two astronauts on the moon. Just think, smartphones hadn’t reached mass market appeal until 10 short years ago!

When it is time to replace your corporate wellness technology or introduce a new business or product line, there are three primary choices for software. You can build your own using your own internal resources, build your own using external resources (outsourcing) or buy a pre-existing software package.

Deciding to build, buy, or outsource wellness technology is not an easy decision.

Working with technology and technical people can be a major challenge for most wellness companies. Without an Information Technology (IT) background, it is hard to know whether there is a legitimate reason for wanting to buy software, develop in-house, or outsource. How can you be sure you are making the right decision?

Four Guidelines to Decide: Buy, Build, or Outsource

Here are four guidelines to help you make the best possible decision:

  • Determine software needs - Clearly document your software requirements and what business needs they will solve. Prioritize these needs as Must Have, Nice to Have, Not Required (or similar criteria scale). Once you determine what you actually need and want, you are ready for the next step. To help you determine and prioritize your technology needs, download this requirements checklist you can fully edit to help you with the process.
  • Evaluate existing software options - Determine if there are any viable products on the market today that will meet your business needs. If so, a careful analysis of available off-the-shelf product options is the best way to start. You can use the requirements checklist you completed in the previous step to evaluate how close existing software will meet your needs.
  • Assess in-house skill-set, workload, and timeline - If your software needs are truly unique, you need to determine if your in-house development team/business experts have the knowledge and capacity to develop the software in-house within the required timeline. Developing software is a huge undertaking and often takes far longer than anticipated. Keep in mind that the larger and more complex the project, the lower the probability that it will be completed successfully.
  • Outsource to a third-party - If developing in-house isn't feasible, outsourcing is a reasonable option. If approached carefully, you may be able to find a provider who has domain expertise and the resources to scale up quickly.

There are pros and cons to each option and if not clearly understood by all it can be very costly both upfront and over the long-term. It is not uncommon to hear about a large organization that has lost millions after pulling the plug on a software development project, developed internally or outsourced. Read the white paper to understand all the pros and cons.

Curious about other factors to consider when deciding to outsource features of your wellness program or build in-house? Check out our white paper, 10 Reasons to Outsource Your Health Risk Assessment.

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Note: This article was reposted with permission from CoreHealth Technologies, premier provider of an all-in-one corporate wellness platform.

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"Good health is your greatest asset. You will never regret a decision to take better care of your health."

Don Hall, DrPH, CHES, Founder Wellsource