Assessing the key differences between developing an membership management solution in-house, and choosing a digital partner to support technological evolution with an industry-proven system.

When it comes to implementing effective membership management software, National Governing Bodies (NGBs) face a crucial decision: developing their own solution in-house, or procuring technology from a proven supplier.

An NGB might be looking to switch systems for a number of reasons, including moving away from outdated legacy systems, catering for increasing member expectations in the digital era, or as a means to become more operationally and fiscally efficient.

As a result there are several factors to consider when deciding whether to build or buy, such as time-to-market, cost, customisation, access to expertise, scalability, integrations, and maintenance and support.

So, to build or to buy? How do the two options stack up when taking these factors into consideration?

Balancing customisability with resource drain and scalability

While building an in-house solution can provide a greater degree of customisability, it can be a drain on time, money and internal resource. Not to mention the ongoing maintenance and little opportunity to scale or integrate with other systems.

Alternatively, procuring tech from a supplier can sometimes offer your organisation less in the way of customisation, however it is generally cheaper and quicker to market, whilst providing greater access to industry expertise and market-leading integrations.

The choice to build or buy is one that shouldn’t be taken lightly, and NGBs should consider both the short- and long-term implications. The build path will ultimately see an NGB become a technology company on top of all its other responsibilities, whereas the buy route places significant faith in a third party.

Finding the perfect digital partner

As a technology partner to 70+ NGBs we are firmly in the ‘digital partner’ camp, although we understand the reservations sports organisations have when it comes to procuring third party solutions, with control and customisation usually being the most considered points. That’s why it's important to find a provider that can offer the best of both worlds.

Our flagship product, the Sport:80 Platform, is a market-leading example of a proven, cost-effective, and scalable solution that offers access to industry expertise and seamless integrations through a network of partners, including all nine co-founders of the Sports Technology Alliance.

We actually define our system as ‘managed software as a service’ (‘MSaaS' rather than ‘SaaS’), because it can be custom-configured for each individual client, and bespoke developments can be delivered to an organisation’s specific needs.

According to ukactive’s ‘Successful Digital Partnering’ paper: “Good digital partnering can be a powerful tool for operators, their staff, and the members they serve. By partnering with the right companies, operators can access expertise, drive innovation, increase efficiency, enhance market presence, and mitigate risk.”

We are proud to provide a solution which not only allows NGBs to save valuable time and resource, but ultimately empowers them to streamline operations, enhance member experiences, and focus on driving the growth of their communities.

Get in touch to learn more about what we do at Sport:80 and how we can help you.