Should a digital workforce management system be bought or built?

Written by MyMobileWorkers

The digital transformation that’s taking place within business management means that some tough calls are having to be made.

digital workforce management system.

Bosses are having to steer their organisations through the tricky transition from the old paper-based ways of working and to today’s digital tools, systems and processes.

For any business with a mobile workforce, digital technology has transformed what’s possible - providing faster, safer and more cost effective methods of managing remote workers.

Along with improved performance, it’s a change which is increasingly required to meet the digital expectations of today’s legislative and administrative environment.

And as more businesses make the switch to digital management systems, they’re having to decide whether the software they use should be bought or built. Should they look to invest in their own in-house solution or should they purchase an existing off-the-shelf product or service?

An in-house approach means a system is built either by an internal team or outsourced to a specialist developer. Alternatively, an off-the-shelf solution involves simply choosing from a range of existing mobile workforce management services.

There are pros and cons to each option.


In-house: Pros

  • It's how you want it
  • You can have your own independent operation

Tailored solution

The obvious advantage is that you can build a system the way that you want it. You can develop software that’s designed to meet the specific challenges and operational needs of your business.

Independent operation

Creating and maintaining software in-house minimises any reliance on third party providers. You can fix your own problems, add features and make changes without being dependent on any external service.


In-house Cons

  • It's very costly
  • Budget restrictions
  • Taking on risks
  • Becoming IT dependent

It’s not cheap

For the majority of companies, the cost of in-house development is prohibitively expensive. Developing a software system is a long, complex and resource sapping business with a multitude of issues that can cause costs to multiply, with costs going upwards of tens of thousands. 

Budget restrictions

The costs of development mean that new systems are rarely built from scratch. Developers will use make use of existing processes and software licenses, meaning that compromises have to be made - you can’t always get what you want.

Taking on risks

Building and maintaining a system is a risky business - particularly when it’s not your company’s primary purpose. Mistakes will be made and when these involve tools that are required for day-to-day operations - the risks are substantial.

Becoming IT dependent

Having an in-house solution means that you’re prone to becoming over reliant on those individuals who understand the ‘nuts and bolts’ of your system. Finding and replacing people with the required IT expertise prove to be difficult and expensive.


Off-the-shelf Pros

  • Tried and tested
  • Speed and cost
  • Dedicated support

Tried and tested

You know exactly what you’re getting and have the ability to test out a system before your commit to it. You also have the reassurance of knowing that it’s already being used by companies and the ability to check out case studies.

Speed and cost

Choosing an existing service means that a completely new system can be implemented in a matter of weeks. With development costs spread across users, it also means costs are much lower than building something yourself.

Dedicated support

An existing service is likely to offer a level of support that’s difficult to match for an individual company. Fixes, upgrades and improvements will be added with no extra cost and there will be an existing pool of guides and resources.


Off-the-shelf Cons

  • Need to compromise
  • Staff frustrations

Need to compromise

The main problem is that not everything is going to be how you want it and this may require you to make operational changes in order to make the system work. While some customisation options will be available, these are liable to be limited.

Staff frustrations

A consequence of accepting compromises can be that processes are frustrating and unintuitive for workers. Even the smallest of annoyances with a system can have a negative impact when it’s such an integral part of work operations.


MyMobileWorkers: Best of Both Worlds

The success of MyMobileWorkers is based on an approach which combines the benefits of both solutions - the simplicity and costs of an off-the-shelf service, together with the tailored benefits of a bespoke service.

It’s a hybrid approach that’s rooted in the origins of the company. MyMobileWorkers began life as a developer of bespoke digital management systems for companies such as Autoglass and Kier.

It was the expertise developed in this area that led to the creation of MyMobileWorkers. This was developed to provide the level of flexibility and customisation that’s required to mould the system to the specific needs of each company.

This goes beyond superficial customisation options, it allows the core system to react and adapt to the workflow and organisational structure of any organisation that manages a mobile workforce. 

In addition, the company also offers a tailored service to provide any additional features or functionality that’s not met by the core service. It’s a hybrid approach which blurs the line between in-house and off-the-shelf solutions.

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Image by Nattanan Kanchanaprat from Pixabay 

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