Should you buy a crisis management system, or build your own?

By Attallah McKay Feb 20, 2018

shutterstock_451515439-034279-edited.jpgA crisis management tool is the ultimate companion for anyone working with emergency preparedness and response.

It lays the groundwork for fast and direct communication of relevant information between ground staff and key senior management, and makes it possible to link tasks to specific people or roles. Say goodbye to binders and paper records. Existing systems like guard logs and registers of security resources, can all be migrated.

So what is the best way to get hold of such software? Should you invest resources in building the solution in-house or opt for buying an established solution?

Key things to consider

Here are some of the things you should consider before making a decision:


Cost often becomes the primary focus when taking on a new project, and rightly so. However, when it comes to development projects it’s difficult to estimate a realistic total cost. More often than not, the difference between estimate and actual cost proves disastrous. This can be due to a number of factors.

Development can suffer from unrealistic deadlines, speed and quality of research is not balanced, and sometimes key modules or features are missed entirely. These factors can have enormous knock-on effects including bugs, inefficiency and downtime, all of which can result in less than ideal compromises or the entire project to be scrapped at huge expense.

Ready to use software requires an up-front or annual license fee but more often than not proves to be more cost-effective than building, in the long-term.


With crisis management software, the challenge is not so much how to operate the system, but more the underlying security management methodology of your work.

Buying software has some definite advantages in this regard because it gives you access to professionals who deal with incident management and more specifically, software, on a daily basis. If you would rather build your software, you should set aside some resources for continuing education and consultant activity.


Regardless of whether you build or buy your software you need to consider training. Only by properly training the users and providing comprehensive supporting material, can you ensure that the software is used correctly at all levels and that each individual has the necessary understanding of the software’s scope and potential to enact a positive change within their role.

Read more: Dictator or motivator? Maximise the outcome of internal training


For a system to be secure, it must be regularly penetration tested, maintained, updated and used. You should consider engaging security consultants for an in-house solution and make sure your off-the-shelf provider has the necessary skills to keep the software secure.


Although your business might have very specialised needs when it comes to most software solutions, this is often not the case with crisis management systems. The need to structure incident information and access action cards tends to be universal. Nevertheless, make an overview of any customisation needs before deciding between building or buying. 


Providing immediate and effective support for a range of staff across multiple sites, often in different countries, is vital to ensure successful implementation of the software, so make sure this is in place either in-house or within your SaaS provider.

Read more: Efficient Crisis Management without interrupting Core Business

Weighing up your options

There are clear advantages and challenges to both buying and building a crisis management system.

An off the shelf SaaS software solution offers control, visibility and accountability of incidents at all levels without detracting from core company needs. Advantages include:

  • Clear outline of pricing from the outset
  • Control over processes and chain of command
  • Ready-made for immediate use
  • Experience of peers and industry analysts
  • Comprehensive support and training
  • Available through various devices
  • Flexibility to work with other programs
  • Regular upgrades and enhancements

On the other hand, an in-house software system:

  • provides an additional level of customisation
  • is far easier to scale in accordance with the business expanding
  • Is fully supported in-house

Before determining whether buying or building is the right choice for your business, you should have a look at the comprehensive guide we made on the subject. You can download it for free here:

download free e-book - Crisis Management Software, deciding between building and buying

Topics: Preparedness, Crisis Management, Contingency system

Attallah McKay's photo

By: Attallah McKay

Attallah is the Senior Account Manager for One Voice UK. She works closely with One Voice’s UK based clients, especially those in the Oil & Gas, Aviation and Local Authorities industries. Attallah has worked with Incident and Emergency solutions for the last 3 years and has a marketing degree from Aston University.



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One Voice

One Voice is an specialist technology company based in London, UK and Trondheim, Norway. We provide a comprehensive web based software solution for emergency planning and crisis management. Our main product, CIM®, is the market leading software in these fields and forms the backbone of the national emergency response system in Norway.


Download free e-guide_Crisis management Software - Build or buy