One of the long-standing debates in the field of mobile enablement for the essential industries is the question of “Build versus Buy”. Should companies invest in packaged mobile solutions from specialist vendors? Or should they develop their own bespoke apps, perhaps using a mobile development platform?

Both approaches have their merits and drawbacks. If you pick a packaged application, you benefit from tried-and-tested software that integrates effectively with back-end systems and draws on best practices from across the industry – although it won’t necessarily be customised to fit the specific needs of your business.

Opt for developing your own software in-house and you can tailor the application to suit your operations. You could gain first-mover advantage by offering something unique – but on the other hand, you’ll have to invest a lot of time, effort and money to get anywhere near the level of reliability and seamless integration provided by a packaged offering.

But why does it have to be one or the other?

There is a third approach to software deployment – what we might call the “Blend” option. This is where vendors embed components of their packaged applications into a development environment, allowing companies’ IT teams to build those components into their own mobile apps.

Organisations that adopt this approach benefit from the thorough testing and close integration with back-office systems that packaged solutions can offer. And by using existing components to accelerate their own development efforts, they can create apps tailored to their specific business needs much more quickly – without wasting time and money reinventing the wheel.

The Blend method allows you to unite all the functionality your field engineers need into a single application, which means engineers won’t need to fire up multiple apps to complete one routine task. Equally, you aren’t locked in to a single vendor’s solution – you can swap software components providers in and out of your bespoke applications.

With a Blend approach, packaged software no longer competes with development platforms; instead, they complement each other. You don’t have to choose between sticking with standard industry solutions or starting from scratch – the right Blend can give you the best of both worlds.

Leonard Hayes

Group Technical Director at AMT-SYBEX, Leonard Hayes has overall responsibility for the technical direction of the company’s products. He is particularly passionate about using software to enable large scale enterprises, having spent most of his career working with clients in the global infrastructure and energy industries. He has consulted with a number of leading international companies in the areas of enterprise architecture and cloud computing, and has a special interest in mobile technologies.