To Build or Buy Analytics: 8 Questions and Answers
Written by Harry Dix |
We recently held a webinar to explore whether it is better to build or buy a data analytics solution. We discussed the pros and cons of each approach, including the option to both build and buy a solution. If you missed the webinar or want to rewatch it, you can access it here.
As with all of our webinars, we encouraged attendees to ask questions throughout the event, helping us to explore specific areas of interest in depth. With that in mind, we’ve created a list of the top questions and answers related to the common conundrum of whether to buy or build analytics.
If it took a company a year to build their own solution, how much time could have been saved had they decided to partner with an analytics vendor?
The duration of evaluation and implementation processes is highly dependent on your use case and needs. While the implementation itself can take as little as two weeks, the time required for decision-making and evaluation will be heavily influenced by your internal processes. From our experience, it could take as little as eight weeks to evaluate and implement a solution.
If we decide to buy a solution, what is the most important thing we should consider?
We advise you to look at your data analytics project in the long term. Consider scalability, self-service functionalities, ease of use, and whether or not the vendor is keeping up with technological advancements.
Should a startup with about 20 employees and an internal analytics use case build a solution in-house or opt for a vendor with per-user pricing?
Building an in-house solution will almost always take more time and effort than buying a solution — the extent of which depends on the level of expertise, time, and resources you have at your disposal. A vendor offering per-user pricing might be a better option in this case, but keep in mind that user-based pricing may not be the best option if you plan to scale analytics (increase user numbers) in the future.
Is there a way to combine pre-existing analytics capabilities that have been developed in-house with the capabilities that vendors offer?
In this circumstance, it largely depends on the compatibility between your pre-existing analytics development and that of a vendor’s tech stack. For this reason, it would be most beneficial to discuss this point with any potential vendors.
Where can I learn about a vendor’s roadmap?
Ask the vendor! Roadmaps aren’t usually available to the public, but any potential vendor that you’re considering should be able to provide you with information about their plans.
We use a number of legacy systems in our enterprise. Therefore, we are considering building a solution. Is it possible to save time and money by partnering with an analytics vendor instead?
Most well-established BI vendors will have some experience working with legacy systems and will have experienced engineers who can help design the solution for you. It is best if you discuss this with the vendor but the simple answer is yes, there is a way.
How does buying a solution compare to using open source software?
Open source software can serve you well if you have a very small use case and need access to analytics for internal technical users. However, you will most likely hit limitations as you scale or invite business (nontechnical) users to analyze data themselves. Additionally, if you require easy-to-use, self-service functionalities or automation tools, open source software may not be the best fit for your business.
I like the idea of combining the two approaches of buying and building analytics, but should I be worried about vendor lock-in?
Every BI provider will offer some level of flexibility, so it’s important to discuss your particular needs. Overall, don’t fall into the trap of being impressed by the amount of functionalities the platform offers. Instead, take a more holistic approach and consider whether the BI provider can offer a solution that will benefit your business in the long run. Additionally, research where the company is heading to make sure it’s aligned with your values and vision for the future.
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Written by Harry Dix |
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