They already know they need to be able to analyze all their data effectively and efficiently to make better business decisions, stay competitive, and continue to grow within their markets.
So the real question is, what’s the best tool to help a business get there? Should a company develop its own in-house platform from scratch, or is it better to purchase a leading business intelligence software?
Factors to Consider
If there were a single answer that ultimately settled the debate for every individual business situation and scenario, then this would be one of the shortest blogs ever!
As it stands, there are a few reasons why an organization might want to build its business intelligence solution just as there are many benefits to choosing an already-established BI platform. Some companies opt to develop their BI tools to meet their customized business goals. Others prefer to go with a proven third-party solution that’s fully functional “out of the box,” and has already had all the development kinks worked out.
But again, which is the right option for your business? If you’re facing the same dilemma, read through our recommendations below before making a final call.
Evaluate the Time, Resources, and Cost Required for Each Option
Does your business have the time, money, and resources needed to be able to build a BI platform from scratch? That would require you to have a reliable internal IT team that possesses advanced technical skills, for starters.
Can your team develop a system that’s complex enough to dig down into every area of data within your business, yet also user-friendly enough to be utilized by everyone from the CEO to the sales representative, customer service agent, or inventory stock associate? Is your team well equipped to handle the maintenance of such a system, and address any unforeseen problems that may arise? And is your company prepared to absorb the ongoing fixed costs that go along with hosting a platform like this?
If you’re intent on developing you’re a best-in-class platform yourself, there are certainly some benefits that canto go along with that. Just make sure that you’re in a position to not only to build your platform but to be ab, but le to sustain it as well.
While development may be a one-time activity, maintenance and upgrade of the system is an ongoing task. This would require constant investment of time, people, and money. It may also be a distractor from your core business objective.
Buy Business Intelligence Software
What about purchasing an existing third-party business intelligence and analytics platform? One instant advantage of choosing an already-established data analytics software solution is the fact that it will save you all that research and development time. , and should help eliminate many of the concerns of needed staffing and equipment. The cost of ownership and maintenance is also considerably less, as compared to developing a solution in-house. Then if you were to manage that in-house, as well.
At the same time, not all BI software solutions in the market carry all the same functionalities that your business may require. Some may have limitations on the number of customization options and expandability, for example. It’s also important to do your homework and make sure you’re doing business with a provider that has a proven track record of delivering the results their clients seek.
A Good Business Intelligence Platform Needs to Be Capable, Customizable, and Scalable
Whatever BI platform you choose (whether you build it or buy it) must be capable; in other words, it needs to be able to do what you need it to do! Some features that make a BI platform truly capable include the following:
- Ability to function as a stand-alone system, as well as the possibility for embedding into other applications
- Powerful enough to derive meaningful insights from the various sets of data that drive your business
- Ability to perform predictive analytics
- Robust reporting and sharing capabilities
- Versatile dashboard customization options
- The easy-to-navigate user interface, including drag-and-drop functionality
Then there’s the question of scale. It’s not just about being able to scale up to accommodate growth in numbers; it’s also about the ability to scale to diverse communities, user types, and deployment models within your organization.
Is the BI platform meant to be used solely as an on-premise, stand-alone program, or does it also need to have the ability to integrate with the cloud or other hybrid systems? Would you benefit from having BI tools that can be embedded into native applications, especially those that users in your organization are already leveraging regularly?
Why Partnering with the Right Third-Party BI Software Vendor Makes Sense
The reality is that there’s just a lot involved for a company to be able to build its analytics solution from scratch, much less host it, maintain it, integrate it with other in-house systems, and sustain it over time.
While there are some advantages to being able to build a custom platform from the ground up, there are many liabilities that come with this option, as well. A smarter choice for most businesses is to partner with a BI software provider to provide a full-developed, already-functional turnkey solution.
Such a provider should include a dedicated team of specialized developers and analysts that can help you integrate with your other pre-existing solutions and tap into all of your identified data sources. A capable provider should also come with its customer service and training departments, to help ensure smooth adaptation for your enterprise, and to be there for you when you need help along the way.