Free Puppies vs. Free Beer: Which Is Right For Your University?

Puppies

You know, the word ‘free’ has a lot of baggage attached to it. 

“Nothing in life is free,” and yet, “the best things in life are free.”

It probably all depends on what exactly you mean by “free.” If we’re talking prices at a store, then yeah, of course, you can’t put a monetary value on love, family, good health, happiness, and so on. But if we’re talking “no cost,” then things get a lot more complicated.

Because that’s where the free puppies vs. free beer debate comes into play.  

Free beer is free beer. Someone buys a round, you drink it, and it’s gone. Maybe you get a little headache the next day if you had too much of it. That’s pretty much it.

Free puppies however, as any parent knows, are anything but free. They require a large investment on the back end, both in terms of money for food, vet care, and other needs, and in terms of the time and energy spent caring for them.

And if you paid attention in your economics classes, you’ll know that there’s also an opportunity cost involved with getting those “free” puppies. If you’re taking care of a dog, it’s a simple fact of life that it takes time away from doing something else.   

So what does all this have to do with your university? 

If you’re custom coding your own integrations, you’ve opted for the free puppies.

Yes, it may be “free” to have your own internal IT team create integrations for the various apps and programs you’re using. But just like choosing free puppies, what you’re actually doing is committing to a lifetime of maintenance. 

Maintaining your own integrations may not seem too bad to begin with, but the actual costs and the opportunity costs begin to snowball from year to year. One year, you’re just building and keeping up with a couple of integrations…the next year, you’re building a couple more, and maintaining twice as many. The year after that, you’re handling the maintenance on 4-5 integrations while you build a few more, and the next year, you’re beating your head against the wall because there’s just no way you can possibly add in any of the new apps you’re being asked to without hiring some new team members or outsourcing something in order to keep everything running smoothly!

Having to maintain all those custom integrations also means you don’t have time to work on other strategic projects that could be central to moving your university forward – the opportunity cost of those free puppies is far-reaching.  

So what’s a CIO to do?

Buy, rather than build.

Building may seem smart initially, but the snowball effect is real.

Working with a partner firm to create integrations that they can then maintain for you is the smart way to maximize your productivity and optimize your results. 

That’s why so many colleges and universities call N2N.

At N2N, we handle all your existing and future integrations, using our API Management Platform, Illuminate. That frees up your team to worry about issues more central to your university’s mission, while all your apps and databases are communicating seamlessly and reliably in the background. 

If you’d like to try out a free demo, give us a call today. Our demo’s free as in beer, not free as in puppies, so you’ve got nothing to lose!

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