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Should Cannabis Businesses Build or Buy Their Tech Solutions?

As cannabis legalization sweeps across North America and more cannabis companies pop up, entrepreneurs are rushing to capitalize on this growing market. However, operating in the cannabis space comes with unique challenges.  Strict regulations, banking restrictions, and operating in a new industry means cannabis businesses need tailored software solutions to manage their operations. This begs the question – should cannabis businesses build or buy their tech?

The Case for Building Your Own Cannabis Tech

For some cannabis companies, building custom software may seem like the best option. Here are some potential benefits of creating proprietary tech solutions:

Complete Control and Customization

With bespoke software, cannabis businesses can ensure the technology meets their precise needs. Developing in-house gives you full control over features and functionality. Your developers can build software tailored to your workflows and business goals.

Data Security

In an industry dealing with sensitive information, security is paramount. Building your own software means no third-party vendors have access, thereby reducing security risks. You control how customer data is collected, stored, and accessed.

Competitive Advantage

Unique proprietary software can differentiate you from the competition. Custom tech solutions that cater to your specific business needs can enable you to work smarter and faster. Having specially built software that your competitors don’t gives you an advantage.

Cost Savings Over Time

While initial development costs are high, over the long term, building your own solutions may be cheaper than paying monthly SaaS fees. Once you build the software, you own it forever without recurring licensing costs.

The Case for Buying Cannabis Tech Solutions

On the other hand, there are plenty of reasons cannabis businesses should consider opting for off-the-shelf cannabis-specific software solutions:

Save Time and Resources

Building custom software can be time-intensive and drain internal resources. With bought software, you skip the lengthy development process and can focus on your core business.

Leverage Expertise

Software vendors dedicate themselves to constantly innovating their platforms. Buying leverages their expertise in functionality, compliance, and security.

Avoid Cost Overruns

Software projects often go way over budget. Vendor solutions have fixed pricing, avoiding potentially astronomical hidden costs.

Quick Implementation

Purchased software means you can get up and running fast. Buying eliminates the need for finding, hiring, and managing development teams.

Easily Scalable

As your business grows, bought platforms make scaling straightforward. Vendors manage all the infrastructure, so you easily upgrade plans or users.

Key Factors to Consider

So, should cannabis businesses buy or build their tech? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer – consider these key factors:
  • Timeframe: Building software takes significantly longer. If you need solutions ASAP, buying is faster.
  • In-house expertise: Do you have qualified software developers on staff? If not, buying is likely better.
  • Customization needs: Off-the-shelf platforms allow limited customization. If you need highly customized features, building your own software may work better.
  • Budget: Developing software requires ample upfront capital. Buying enables predictable recurring costs.
  • Security needs: If top-notch security is critical, custom software may provide more control. But vendors offer robust security, too.
  • Scalability: Will rapid growth require frequent changes? Vendor platforms are easier to scale.

The Bottom Line

Building or buying tech both have clear benefits and drawbacks for cannabis businesses. Focus on your budget, timeline, and customization needs. For most, buying proven vendor solutions provides the best experience, security, and value. But for some niche needs, custom software may be the route. Weigh all factors carefully before deciding to build or buy your cannabis tech solutions.

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