Homegrown vs. Vendor Software: A Multifaceted Decision

Tech Solutions

Traditional vendor enterprise software usually requires systematic compromise.

make a choice
Netta Caligari    Published Feb 9, 2023

Choice is a beautiful freedom that helps shape our lives and day-to-day work.

Within higher education, innumerable choices have to be made in order for institutions to best serve their campus communities.

These decisions also impact the software applications utilized to support the institution’s strategic efforts. But this is where choice often becomes a false dichotomy.

We’ve observed that universities and colleges are, generally, only presented with two main paths for their software solutions: homegrown or vendor. And, whether it’s realized or not, institutions affirm three main statements when jumping from homegrown systems to vendor products:

1. “We are not going to be a software company anymore, we are going to be a university. We want someone else to handle the maintenance of the software.”

2. “We no longer want to own the intellectual property of our software, and we are OK with the possibility of ending the contract in the future, and starting over.”

3. “We believe that a product designed for a mass market is going to suit all of our needs.”


There are so many other considerations tied up in those statements, but the market very much presents an either/or quandary that bundles these important factors into a packaged deal. This results in the institution needing to pick one path and compromise in certain areas – rarely does a one-size-fits-all solution address the above statements in a way that feels balanced and equitable.

It’s a shame. Colleges and universities should be able to toggle the switches of those statements independently of each other in order to make the best decision for their unique needs. Institutional leadership should have the right to forge a new path and plan of action for how to best tackle their software requirements.

A true freedom of choice should be back in the hands of the institution.

Follow along and join the discussion as we share our thoughts around the homegrown vs. vendor conundrum, and other insights on enterprise software within higher education.

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