In effect what I am saying is that companies which get the most value from spreadsheet automation(including using it to avoid expenditure on less adaptable commercial off the shelf applications) will be those which empower their users to routinely generate "in house" solutions. In such companies, you will find that only when the requirement becomes considerably specialised or complex, does the IT department get called upon to develop or purchase software solutions for user departments or functions with significant data recording and analysis needs.
This last point in my opinion is ONE major benefit you must seek to extract, if you choose to engage the services of a developer. S/he should be able to help you develop (in_house) expertise needed to maintain the application AFTER s/he is gone. If you fail to ensure this, all your cost_savings from using the application might end up being spent paying the developer to maintain the application over time in the future!
The claims I make above are NOT exaggerated. They are in fact based on my personal experiences doing the foregoing (a). As an manager in the challenging, fast_paced manufacturing work environment of a corporate multinational (b). As a solutions developer for individuals and businesses who use MS Excel for their work.
Get Maximum Returns On Your Investment In Spreadsheet Automation By Developing "In House" Expertise. Organisations can deliberately expose their employees to learning events(or self_help tutorials) on spreadsheet solutions development. Such employees can then be challenged to develop in_house solutions that effectively address the business' peculiar data analysis/report_generation needs as they arise.