Building a Future: The Dilemma of Build vs Buy in Tech Innovation

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Welcome to another thought-provoking episode of The Code of Entry Podcast hosted by Greg Bew. In this episode we dive deep into the pivotal debate surrounding the ‘Build or Buy’ decision-making process in technology, with a special focus on its implications for the Department of Defense (DOD) and the broader landscape of technological innovation. Industry experts share their valuable insights, shedding light on this critical topic.

The Dilemma of Build vs. Buy in Tech Innovation

Welcome to the latest entry in our “Code of Entry” series, where we delve into the crucial debate of ‘Build or Buy’ in technology, particularly in the context of the Department of Defense (DOD) and broader tech innovation. Join us as we explore the insights shared by industry experts on this pivotal topic.

The Build or Buy Debate:

The podcast begins with a discussion about a LinkedIn post by a DOD innovator, emphasizing the organization’s recent focus on rapid procurement. However, the speaker notes a potential oversight in the DOD’s approach, highlighting the importance of considering the entire enterprise of systems when making procurement decisions.

DOD's Approach to Technology Procurement:

The speaker critiques the DOD’s high-level approach to procurement, arguing that it often bypasses existing systems and fails to deliver the best, fastest, or most cost-effective solutions.

Integrating Systems and Filling Capability Gaps:

The discussion shifts to how DOD organizations identify user needs and attempt to fill these needs. The speaker stresses the importance of understanding the comprehensive system of capabilities that exist to address these needs.

The Problem with Vacuum Solutions:

A critical point raised is the tendency of high-level decision-makers to provide solutions in a vacuum, ignoring existing structures and systems, which can lead to suboptimal outcomes.

The Case for Building over Buying:

The podcast emphasizes the importance of building solutions, especially using modern languages and open-source packages. The speaker argues against the notion that the government should always buy existing solutions, citing unique requirements like data systems in the DOD.

The Role of Innovation and Procurement in the DOD:

The podcast explores how the DOD should approach innovation, suggesting a balance between building and buying. The speaker points out the lack of technically educated personnel in procurement processes and the need for leadership that can effectively communicate technology strategies.

Understanding Cloud and Cloud-Native Technologies:

There’s a discussion about misconceptions regarding cloud technologies and the importance of understanding what ‘Cloud Native’ actually means.

The Build and Buy Approach:

The final segment of the podcast argues for a combined approach to building and buying, emphasizing the need for holistic problem-solving and a systems approach to technology development.

As we conclude this edition of the “Code of Entry” podcast, we’re reminded of the intricate balance between building and buying in the realm of technological advancement. It’s clear that a nuanced approach, one that considers both the unique demands of the DOD and the evolving landscape of tech innovation, is essential.

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