Build vs Buy: Making the Decision About Digital Credentials

As more companies undergo digital transformation, a common question is asked: “Should we buy or build software to deliver credentials?” There is no definite answer to this question – the answer lies in the needs of the business. Some companies prefer to develop internal software from the ground up, while others prefer the reliability, robust feature set, and quick launch time associated with a pre-built solution.

The Build vs Buy Analysis

For many companies, there is no need to reinvent the wheel, particularly when it comes to issuing digital credentials. 

Below are a list of benefits for choosing Accredible’s digital credentialing platform over a custom built solution:

Costs and Budget

Is it cheaper to build or to buy? Companies know the initial cost of building from scratch is expensive, but many businesses neglect to consider ongoing costs when deciding whether to build or buy. In-house software needs to be maintained, including:

  • Updates to defend against security flaws
  • Fixes for new bugs and errors
  • Adjustments for accessibility requirements


The cost of development becomes much higher when working to a deadline or out of hours. 

With Accredible, the platform is fully built and thoroughly tested to be enterprise ready including regular reviews to ensure it is both secure and accessible. 

Our pricing uses a per-unique-recipient model, meaning no matter how many credentials each unique recipient earns within a billing cycle, the cost will always be a single credit. Issued credentials are stored in secure data servers, eliminating the storage costs that an in-house solution would need to manage. 

Integrating Existing Workflows

Custom-built software needs to work with current workflows but also consider future growth. If the company rapidly scales – will the current workflows and custom integrations be able to accommodate the change?

Integration is native to Accredible, the platform integrates to leading LMS’ and publishing software and is supported by Zapier integration and a robust API. This means businesses can double their recipients overnight without any downtime; or change internal systems without requiring extra development.

Implementation and Management Time

To opt for a custom-built solution, companies need to either:

  • Take existing employees off current projects to build the software
  • Hire a full-time developer or more developers 
  • Outsource the work to a freelance developer, development team, or an agency


Hiring or outsourcing requires extra investment. If a developer is already on-staff, their hours are then dedicated to building the software. This time or cost is more useful for improving support, managing online presence, or benefiting other departments. 

More time is required for implementation and training staff to use a custom solution, which often lacks thorough documentation. Investing in a digital credentialing platform such as Accredible helps team productivity, allowing staff to focus on projects with greater visibility to management. Our knowledgeable and expert team makes implementation and planning simple. Alongside staff training and a comprehensive knowledge base, companies can start using the Accredible platform with confidence in no time.

Security

Building software requires continuous monitoring to prevent exploitation of security flaws, especially when handling personal data. This means having a developer or team available 24-7 to respond to a world of constantly evolving exterior threats, and to resolve those threats as they occur.   

Robust security policies are core to a pre-built solution. By default, the Accredible platform includes:

  • Compliance to EU GDPR
  • Data privacy agreement including EU Model Clauses
  • Data stored in secure tier 3 SOC 2-certified data center
  • Frequent penetration testing and vulnerability scanning
  • Annual internal and external auditing of data privacy controls, software, infrastructure, and systems
  • Role-based access control. Data is only available to employees where their job responsibilities require it


The Accredible platform and its credentials are hosted on the world’s leading infrastructure to ensure the best level of security. 

Accessibility

Accessibility is of great importance and a priority when building any bespoke program. By failing to focus on accessibility, unnecessary walls prevent recipients from getting to what is theirs – in this case, their digital credential. Accessibility for digital credentialing includes:

  • Access to digital credentials for all, regardless of ability
  • Compatibility with assistive technologies
  • Not locking credentials behind account creation
  • Creating short shareable URLs
  • Making it easy for third-parties to verify


At Accredible, accessibility is king. This means:

  • No account creation necessary for viewing digital credentials
  • Share to social media with one click from the credential page
  • Short and easy to share URLs
  • Simple verification of digital credentials for third-parties


To ensure an accessible experience, the platform is:

  • WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) 2.1 compliant – level AA
  • Compliant to Section 508
  • Tested by an IAAP-Accredited tester
  • Tested across multiple devices and platforms
  • Compatible across all assistive technologies
  • Regularly analysed at a code level to identify issues as they arise


Our developers work hard to ensure that the Accredible platform remains accessible to everyone.

Brand Control

One of the biggest complaints that companies have in the build vs buy debate is a lack of control or customization over the purchased platform. The software often:

  • Is branded under another company 
  • Doesn’t show the brand personality 
  • Lacks features that allow for customization


Accredible’s digital credentialing platform addresses these issues with the implementation of branding control and
white label digital credentials. The customization available for issuing digital credentials include:

  • Full control over the branding from design through to delivery
  • A branded credential page with optional CSS customization (the code that styles a page)
  • Complete control over email branding


Note: Accredible is the only digital credentialing platform to offer this level of customization in the competitive marketplace. Other software may not meet the branding and customization requirements for a given organization. 

Making the choice between build vs buy

Before making the decision to build or to buy, consider the following questions:

  • What pain points does the digital credentialing platform need to solve?
  • Does the budget include the initial outlay and ongoing costs?
  • Is there a deadline or strict timeline that needs to be met?


By understanding the issues that need to be tackled, it’s easier to find an ‘out of the box’ solution with the right features, or establish if one needs to be created. 

Accredible’s feature-rich digital credentialing platform helps businesses get to market faster without compromising on quality. Get in touch with our knowledgeable sales team to find out more about how the platform supports current workflows. 

Key Takeaways

In summary, the benefits of choosing a pre-built digital credentialing solution include:

  • Increased control over costs and budget
  • A ready to scale solution that integrates into existing workflows
  • Reduced opportunity cost by using available hours to support company development
  • Comprehensive training from an expert team and access to clear and detailed guides
  • Bank-level encryption for protecting sensitive data
  • Accessibility for all abilities and compatibility across assistive technologies
  • The ability to easily share, verify, and manage digital credentials
  • Full branding control over digital credentials, credential pages, and emails


Further Reading

Download our comprehensive ‘Features and Services Guide’. This guide covers how the Accredible Credential Management System serves businesses looking for a digital credentialing solution. 

Get the Guide

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