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The Third Option in Build vs Buy

When faced with solving a new problem, we often need to decide between buying or building the solution. Sometimes a third option is available - borrow.

In this session, we will share our journey in delivering an appointment scheduling system to our campus’ undergraduate advising offices. After extensive campus conversations with stakeholders, including governance voting, it was decided that we would build a custom system. However, a third and unusual option emerged during our pre-development research: borrow.

We’ll discuss how we partnered with a sister campus, how we navigated the establishment of an MOU, the ins and outs of transfer and modification of the application code, and the eventual adoption of the system by campus advisors and beyond. We’ll highlight lessons we learned related to the technical integration and misaligned assumptions about use cases and business practices.

We’ll wrap up with suggestions for our colleagues at other campuses that may be interested in discovering and working with this viable third option.

Presented at UC Tech on July 16, 2019


UCTech 2019


  • Brian Lance
  • Michael Walton
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