Setting Up your Technical Resource Center: Build or Buy?

Posted by
May 15, 2018

You’re on a vacation overseas, driving a rented car going to the countryside to visit a friend. It’s almost

midnight, you’re enjoying the tranquility, and suddenly you feel like your car is slowing down, pulling to the right side, and you can’t accelerate—flat tire.

The next town being miles away, you instantly realized you must change the tire on your own. Good thing there’s a car manual. You’ve never experienced this before, so you really haven’t read it. But now, you’re grateful it’s there to guide you as you change your tire for the first time. With spare tire, jack, and car manual at hand, you know you’ll be fine.

Documentation is a critical part of any product and business. Because the benefits of product documentation aren’t always immediate, it’s easy to ignore it. Overall though, it helps both you, your team, and customers to succeed. A few examples: It lowers your business’ customer support costs, streamlines communication within your team, and guides your customers when they prefer to solve their product dilemmas on their own.

Building your own or buying a SaaS subscription

Your technical resource center—the one place that consolidates all your product documentation assets, where it is stored, modified, updated, and accessed from—is an investment.  As a business, you prefer the option that is most cost-effective and benefits everyone from your team and subject matter experts to your existing and potential customers.

Considering the main question of resources which include time, skills, and budget, there are two main routes to go when creating your technical resource center: Either you build, or you buy. Let’s see how the two differs and weigh your options.

Time and skills

It’s understandable that you will gravitate towards the idea of building your own technical resource center. It might be less expensive to tap your in-house developers or hire a project-based team (costing 10% of your budget), compared to subscribing to a SaaS solution (about 5-20%). The downside, however, is it will take a chunk of your developers’ time and they might not have the optimal skills to setup your technical resource center for usage right off the bat.

In contrast, a SaaS subscription, although can be a bit pricier, means the headaches of building from scratch are nonexistent. It’s faster, more efficient, and you are guaranteed that they are focused and specialized experts at what they do: Helping organizations, like yours, set up a dynamic knowledge portal.

Hidden costs

Another thing that you might forget when trying to set up your own technical resource center are the potential hidden costs that will continue to eat your budget. When you choose the SaaS subscription route, these are all taken care of:

  • Third-party licensing maintenance
  • Ongoing hosting fees
  • Hardware purchase and maintenance
  • Testing, DevOps, InfoSec resources
  • UX, Product and PMO resources
  • Dependency on corporate IT
  • Build authoring tools and CMS integrations
  • Build community, CRM, and KB integrations
  • Need for subject matter experts and analysts
  • Expensive and ongoing maintenance
  • Providing ongoing 24×7 support
  • Reduced functional richness
  • Reduced reliability and lower SLAs

What does this mean? Hidden costs will take your attention away from the more important components of your business. For instance, instead of allocating your budget to more campaigns or staff development, you will find yourself and your developer team solving these distractions. A SaaS subscription easily takes this dilemma away from you—with zero hidden costs—and enables you to focus more on growing and improving the rest of your business.

The bottom line

While you initially save, building a technical resource center on your own costs more in the long run. On the other hand, a SaaS subscription is straightforward. It’s a complete package that handles everything—from UX design and CMS integrations to hardware maintenance and ongoing support. Make your investment worthwhile with a dynamic product documentation portal that you, your team, and customers can efficiently and effectively use toward success.

Zoomin’s dynamic knowledge portal extends the reach of product documentation libraries by giving customers easy, personalized access to the answers they need—from any device, whenever they want, and from any location. Zoomin moves your content from a static collection of documents, to a dynamic world of answers. Learn more by scheduling your guided demo.

Zoomin Software