Building In-House vs Third-Party Applications | Microsoft 365 Business Solutions

What the balance scale looks like  

Microsoft 365 is a suite of applications that are capable of being developed to fit your company’s specific needs or integrate with third-party apps that do the same. The question for most businesses is; when to build and when to integrate. It isn’t a simple decision to make and one that varies from business to business. Time, money, and resources are genuinely the factors that will help guide you in your decision. 

Below we’ve provided you with an overview of what the right decision might look like for your business.  

Building on Microsoft 365 in-house 

Over the years, Microsoft has continued developing its platform to fit the developer and the end-user’s needs. Now, the company’s focus for Microsoft 365 seems to be somewhere in the middle. So, what does that mean for your company?  

Microsoft has focused on making it easy for your IT department to create an environment that can fit your basic needs.  

Out-of-the-box Microsoft 365 example for internal communications 

An example of this would be one of SharePoint’s newest additions SharePoint Home Site, which is essentially a pre-built intranet landing page template. Add in the SharePoint lookbook, and you’re well on your way to a user-friendly intranet, with the Microsoft interface your end-users already know. Easily customizable and extendable seems to be the way forward for Microsoft 365. 

So, if a customized work environment is at arm’s reach, why are third-party applications mentioned? 

Microsoft 365 and third-party applications 

The choice to build in-house or to go with third-party applications fundamentally depends on time restrictions, customizations needed, and available resources and funds. Are you in need of technologies in place to help mitigate growing pains yesterday? Or are you looking to have internal communications as matured and developed as external ventures, but don’t have the team in place to deliver? Then, you’ll want to look for a third-party application that provides the solution that’s right for you. 

When it comes to cost 

You need to consider how long the project will take, and how many developers you have available that are proficient in Microsoft 365. Will you need to hire IT professionals to develop and maintain your systems? Or move people from other projects? These factors will come into play when considering the value of building in-house or relying on a third-party application to get the job done.   

Work towards solving problems 

Another significant factor to consider is getting to the heart of what you’re trying to solve. You may find that a company has developed custom applications and platforms that solve your problems in innovative ways, not yet native to Microsoft 365. While some of those innovations will eventually make their way to Microsoft 365, many won’t.  

Also, when they adopt those innovations and deploy them to the masses is another factor to consider. Is your company ok with waiting months or even years before the innovations available through third-party applications make their way to Microsoft 365?  

Third-Party application example for internal communications 

Continuing in line with the internal communication example from earlier, Valo Intranet, a multi-award winning intranet in-a-box solution and Mindlab’s technology partner, is the perfect example of a technology that innovates at least 1.5 to 2 years ahead of SharePoint, the platform it builds on. The reason is simple, Microsoft develops for the masses, and while you can get the basics and or build on them, there is no denying the power of technologies developed with a niche in mind that connects and serves the greater goal of your organization. 

The reality of a business in motion 

Ultimately, a business in motion doesn’t always have time, technology, money, and resources available to go through the trials, errors, and iterations it takes to develop something in-house. The last thing your business needs is sloppily built technology solutions that will hurt you more than nurture you immediately, or down the road. 

You know time is money and with obstacles thrown your way every day, it’s normal and important to look for help. That’s why Mindlab Systems has an MCT as its leader and over 20+ years of managed IT services experience. No matter if you’re looking for managed IT services, the right technologies for your business, or Microsoft 365 training, Mindlab is the right idea.