When it comes to embedding analytics, application teams can choose between two development approaches: build it in house or buy a solution from an analytics vendor. There are several factors to consider when making this decision, including impact on time to market, the effect on core application development, and analytics maturity.
Three years ago, Symbox Director of Product Management Paul Gibbons was at a critical juncture: although the company’s Digital Business Platform application focused on business process management, half of the service requests that came in from users were for custom reports. These ad hoc analytics requests took up time that could otherwise be spent building out their core product. The large volume of service requests meant that customers weren’t empowered to get what they needed, and the company couldn’t fully leverage the talents of their team.
To better enable their customers, Symbox decided to create something that gave customers data in real time and served their various reporting needs. It was an opportunity to better serve their customers. With a redefined focus, they would need to execute quickly and go to market in just eight short months. But with this decision, they faced another tough question: to build or to buy?
Build vs. Buy Philosophy
“I abide by a core strategy,” said Gibbons. “Stick to what you are good at, stick to your core, and focus your development efforts on that.” With analytics as a main part of their application, the Symbox team calculated the cost of building a solution themselves. How long would it take? How much capital would they need? What would maintenance look like? What sacrifices would they have to make to their core IP?
After a thorough evaluation, the team realized that building an analytics solution in house would not only require a lot of staff resources, it would also take much longer to go to market and there was an obvious skills gap. “After we evaluated everything in detail, we realized analytics wasn’t our core IP. And it makes sense—we aren’t an analytics company,” said Gibbons.
Furthermore, the team recognized the additional investments that would be required for building a homegrown solution. It wasn’t just the technical support, but the ongoing investment needed to update and enhance the analytics down the road. It was apparent that buying an analytics solution was the right approach to take.
As a customer-focused company, Symbox wanted to work with a vendor who shared their high standards of product quality. After talking to half a dozen companies, they chose to partner with Logi Analytics. Logi provided just what they needed: a flexible platform with a focus on quality and customer success.
After realizing the long-term investment required to maintain a homegrown analytics solution, Symbox decided to buy an embedded analytics solution. With the help of Logi Analytics, they have saved 50 percent in operation costs compared to building analytics in house, and effectively reduced the large quantity of ad hoc requests.