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Build vs. Buy: The Image Processing Showdown


image processing SDK

Image processing is now a priority across industry lines. From legal firms to financial institutions to health organizations the ability to capture, convert, and combine documents on-demand often makes the difference between hitting project deadlines and falling behind.

As image formats outpace the ability of legacy solutions to manage and manipulate, however, a new challenge emerges. Companies need conversion, document management, and image cleanup software capable of handling multiple file types, but are they better served building their own systems or buying software solutions to help them bridge the gap? Let’s go head-to-head and see which potential processing option comes out on top. 

Round One: Targeting Consistency

Ask companies why they prefer to build their own software solutions and the answer is invariably the same, control. The work of creating new functionality from scratch is often paired with the notion of end-to-end control; since in-house developers built the image processing program they’re equipped to handle any emerging security or performance challenges.

The problem? In a world where robust digital solutions are the expectation rather than the exception, speed and consistency are the image-processing benchmarks. Staff need to know that when they go looking for image conversion and document management options, they’ll always find exactly what they’re looking for — and it will always perform as expected. 

In-house options that require regular maintenance and security updates can’t match this level of accessibility; ensuring optimal performance demands regular downtime to both implement planned updates and deal with potential problems as they occur. Fully-supported, purpose-built processing solutions, meanwhile, deliver consistent results and common functionality on-demand.


Round Two: Talking Conversion

The biggest benefit of image processing software? Conversion. The ability to intake documents and easily modify their format, adjust properties, or add essential changes. Here, building your own image processing engine comes with the benefit of specificity. If you’re dealing primarily with PDF files, create a small-scale PDF library capable of handling PDFs and turn it loose across internal networks.

Here’s where things get tricky. While introducing a new, purpose-built application solves one problem, it also creates another: app overload. As noted by recent workplace research, almost 70 percent of workers already lose up to 60 minutes per day navigating between different software solutions. Adding a new in-house tool lets them avoid searching online for a functional best-fit but also adds another app to their list and increases their total time wasted. On the developer side, building comes with the ongoing time and resource commitments necessary to create and support multiple imaging libraries — and keep up with the ongoing evolution of new image file formats.

Image processing software development kits (SDKs), meanwhile, come with conversion abilities across a host of file types. Even better? These tools integrate with existing solutions, meaning your team gets the advantage of easy image conversion without the added complication of constantly switching apps.


Round Three: Taking the Shortcut

There’s an understandable pride that comes with building apps from the ground up. In many respects, buying a software engine seems like taking a shortcut. But here’s the thing, shortcuts are faster. Even if you were designing an app from scratch, your developers would search popular code repositories to avoid repeating work someone else has already done. After all, if a great image processing tool already exists, why build another? 

Image processing SDKs simply scale up the scope of common code usage to streamline your document management, conversion, and image cleanup processes. As noted by DZone, there’s also a case here for compatibility; by laying customizable software engines on top of existing applications, you ensure that desktop, mobile, and even remote users all have access to the same functionality.

Building your own image processing program is entirely possible if you like heavy lifting, enjoy total control, and hate taking shortcuts. However, buying a full-featured engine capable of handling multiple file types across any enterprise endpoints is the ideal approach if you’re looking for ease of integration, consistent compliance outcomes, and company-wide compatibility. Learn more about ImageGear and all of its capabilities here.