Embedded Analytics

Build vs. Buy: When to Choose the Secret Third Option

By Michelle Gardner
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Every time an application team gets caught up in the “build vs. buy” debate, it stalls projects and delays time to revenue. But many teams forget that when it comes to embedded BI, the question isn’t necessarily when to build OR buy; it’s a question of whether to do a little of both by taking a combined approach.

As you evaluate your analytics solution for 2018, take a look at the pros and cons of these options to decide what’s best for your organization.

<< Related: Get Your Copy of the 2018 BI Buyer’s Guide >>

When to Build

The first instinct for many software companies is to build exactly what they want with the help of open-source code libraries and charting components. This works for some organizations, especially those that think their users don’t have complex requirements.

PRO: Even as companies grow and modernize, the primary reason for taking this code-intensive approach is to maintain complete control over the look and feel of the application—and because developers often assert that it’s the best way.

CON: The build route is rarely sustainable over time. Customers inevitably ask for more functionality, more flexibility in their analysis, and more methods to gain insight without the help of application teams or IT departments.

Software companies that stay on the “build” track commit to significant resources in development, support, and keeping up with advances in data visualizations and business intelligence over the long term.

When to Buy

Most software companies are under pressure from customers or competitors to improve analytics quickly. That’s because time to market can affect revenue. If your competition is offering the same sought-after features before you’ve even gotten started, you’ve already lost out.

PRO: Maybe building your own analytics is unsustainable, or perhaps you need to release a solution quickly and don’t have time to build internally. In these instances, buying a bolt-on BI product may be a smart choice. Fortunately for BI buyers, the market has never been so robust.

CON: Many of today’s advanced features are strictly for solutions that end users can build and use on their own. They’re not useful for ISVs and SaaS companies embedding analytics within existing software products.

When to Combine

The secret third option—combining the build and buy approaches—is often overlooked, but in many cases proves to be the most successful. More and more companies are choosing to partner with a third-party analytics development platform, which gives them the freedom to customize a solution without the risks and long-term costs that go along with building one.

PRO: Companies taking this approach gain the security of working with a trusted partner without the limitations that most out-of-the-box products have. This gives them the flexibility of building, the assurances of being backed by a customer-centric company, and a price that makes ROI real.

PRO: Companies taking a combined approach are also able to embed analytics at a deeper level and integrate more advanced capabilities than those that buy a bolt-on product or build their own solution.

Read more about the “build vs. buy” debate in our Why “Build or Buy?” Is the Wrong Question for Analytics ebook.


Originally published December 5, 2017

About the Author

Michelle Gardner is the Content Marketing Manager at Logi Analytics. She has over a decade of experience writing and editing content, with a specialty in software and technology.