Grey Market vs. In-House vs. Product Manufacturer. How to decide?

Grey Market vs. In-House vs. Product Manufacturer. How to decide?

Grey market, product manufacturer, create it ourselves, or stick with what we do today . . . As you set technology priorities for the upcoming year, you will investigate products and services to improve workflows and offer more security.

Decision Making

Grey market, product manufacturer, create it ourselves, or stick with what we do today . . . As you set technology priorities for the upcoming year, you will investigate products and services to improve workflows and offer more security. Weighing the pros and cons can be challenging, particularly because, on first glance, price differences can be significant. As we all know, however, price is only part of the buying decision as you chose between grey market, in-house and product manufacturer options.

When it comes to evaluating grey market vs. the other options, make sure to consider:

Support and Services

Getting up-and-running is one thing, but once your new solution is in place, what can you expect? What happens when an issue is encountered? Will it bring service delivery to a halt or will it be no more than a hiccup? Consider:

  • Grey market. These are often smaller shops that are focused on bringing in new clients and delivering on new contracts. While they intend to offer help and guidance, they generally don’t have the resources to make you a priority after the system is installed. You can wait days or weeks for help, and sometimes issues just go unaddressed because they don’t have the resources to tackle them.
  • In-house. By working with someone in-house to create a solution, you are assured to have expertise today. But, the question is if this resource can be dedicated on an on-going basis. Also, it’s important to consider having a backup who is equally well-versed in the custom-built solution or else you risk losing the knowledge needed to support the solution should the initial designer and developer leave your company.
  • Product manufacturer. As a well-funded company, product manufacturers have dedicated support desks in place that will help and guide you long-term. These teams are specifically in place to help you in times of need. Not only that, as this is their product, they invest in documentation and other knowledge bases that make product usage as easy as possible.

Information Security

As GDPR, CCPA, LGPD and others have shone focus on data protection, the security of a new system is a critical consideration. Not only are there privacy implications now, there are also financial implications as huge fines and consumer confidence loss take root. Will your business be safe if you work with:

  • Grey market. These teams implement products belonging to others. This means that they may make customization changes that weaken security considerations that were originally implemented by the manufacturer. Plus, manufacturers routinely release patches to resolve vulnerabilities. Be sure that they will be applied – and more importantly that they can still be applied after customization!
  • In-house. If you’re going to be tackle a development project in-house, be certain that your team is familiar with Privacy by Design concepts and the latest security considerations.
  • Product manufacturer. The reputation of the product manufacturer depends on the security of its product, so they have experts on staff who evaluate the latest security protocols and requirements to make sure that they are incorporated into the product. Plus, they continuously work to patch vulnerabilities…and they even do it for you if you’re working with a managed solution.
There are financial implications as huge fines and consumer confidence loss take root due to information security failures.

Partner Longevity

As you buy-in to a solution, you are also buying into a company. Will your partner be there long-term?

  • Grey market. While there are some grey market providers that are larger and more established, many of the lower priced ones are just getting into business or are a simple 5-person shop. They are not proven business operators who can reassure you that they will be available long-term.
  • In-house. Of course, this is dependent on the individual. You must consider the possibility that the person doing the development and support could eventually seek a new job. What will happen to the solution at that point?
  • Product manufacturer. Again, the product is the product manufacturer’s business. Funding, strategy, support and development are what the business is based upon. If the product is in place, you can trust that the company will be around to keep it operational long-term.

Future-Forward Opportunities

Needs change over time. If you invest in a new system today, how can you be assured that it will meet your needs through the years? Will you be able to adjust and adapt as quickly as needed?

  • Grey market. Again, there’s risk in working with a company that may go out of business in the short-term. Beyond that, however, these shops aren’t focused on the future development of new features, incorporating customer feedback or implementing modern concepts.
  • In-house. As long as you can counter the risks mentioned above, having work done in-house helps support flexibility. If the developer directly works for your organization, they can quickly understand your needs and modify the solution to suit your goals.
  • Product manufacturer. Making sure that the product stays up-to-date with trends and customer needs is what keeps it relevant, so product manufacturers invest much time and money into gathering customer input and watching industry trends. These are the foundation for the roadmap, so your future needs are quickly and routinely attended to.

This year, budget for better. Forgo grey market services; free up in-house resources. Seek out product manufacturers who are certain to provide support and security while saving you time and money.

Text:
Photos: Alexander Suhorucov via Pexels

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