To Build Or To Buy: Challenges to Consider when Implementing a Homegrown Surplus Management Solution

Just as every college and university is unique, so too are their surplus property programs. Whether your goal is to increase throughput, maximize profitability, or help meet the sustainability goals of your institution, you know that having the right systems and processes in place is critical to achieving success.

For years, institutions of higher learning have utilized complex spreadsheets to track important, asset related, information.  And why not? Spreadsheets are capable of tracking an immense amount of detailed information.  Unfortunately, while spreadsheets may seem like a simple solution, they are not without their own challenges.

Another idea is to create your own in-house solution, to tap into University talent to come up a software program or database that meets your needs.  This may sound like a great idea at first, but creating a robust and flexible homegrown surplus software solution can require a lot of time and resources. Here are a few things to consider before implementing a homegrown solution.

Cost:
There can be a significant costs (both time and money) associated with the design, development and implementation of a homegrown solution.  Add in the cost to host, maintain and support the system and you can quickly eat through a budget.

Maintenance and Support:
After implementation is complete the solution will need to be maintained and supported on a continual basis. Who will have this responsibility? How quickly will they be able to attend to your needs? Will they know the system inside and out?

Customization and On-going Development:
As your organization continues to evolve, your needs may change or develop over time. How will the need for new functionality be addressed? What happens if the student or staff member who developed the solution graduates or moves on?

Using a spreadsheet or creating your own homegrown solution are not bad ideas or poor ways of managing department information. In fact, for some colleges and universities, these methods work well.  For other institutions, purchasing a robust yet easy to use asset management solution eliminates the risks, and increases visibility, organization, reporting and efficiency.

2019-07-31T13:44:58-04:00Tags: |

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