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The 5 Big Fails of DIY Software: #1 Getting Out of Your Lane

More than ever, health plan executives see their IT and business strategies as deeply intertwined:

According to Accenture Research Global Survey 2021, 83 percent of IT and business executives say business and technology strategies are becoming inseparable – even indistinguishable. Furthermore, 77 percent say that their technology architecture is becoming critical to their organization’s success.

Yet, for anyone leading an organization, cost is always a top consideration.

What executive hasn’t asked themselves at some time, “Couldn’t we just build this software ourselves?” It’s not unheard of to wonder whether in-house development will deliver a less expensive custom product. These decision-makers should heed the cautionary tales of “build” decisions that resulted in longer timelines, cost overruns and poor results. No less than General Electric embarked on an ambitious in-house digital transformation that quickly became mired in organizational dysfunction and conflicting priorities that have dragged on for years. I believe there are many more “build” stories that never generate headlines because they remain internal failures that no one wants to discuss.

The scenario is even more complicated in healthcare.

When Altruista’s parent company, HealthEdge, recently asked 222 health plan leaders what steps they plan to take to achieve their organizational goals this year, 59 percent said they plan to modernize their technology and 50 percent plan to make a significant investment in innovation, up from just 19 percent in 2018. It’s clear they see the importance of technology investment, but will they choose wisely?

As the president of a high-tech company serving health plans, I can tell you that our customers operate in one of the world’s most challenging environments. Reinventing the wheel just doesn’t make sense, especially in ecosystems like healthcare that are defined by flux. I would advise organizations in any industry to stay focused on their core mission. Developing software is not the strong suit of anyone outside of technology, and executives are advised to rely on the expertise of people who have devoted their careers to software development.

In an era of highly specialized knowledge, it only makes sense to trust the innovators who have purpose-built a platform for your exact needs and who will continue to stay ahead of the market. Therefore, the key to avoiding Big Fail #1 is to stay in your lane.

Portions of this blog post are excerpted from Ashish Kachru’s Forbes article “Why Execs Should Avoid The DIY Software Trap.”