We frequently face the build vs. buy decision when we embark on IT projects and analytics projects are no different. This is a thought provoking article that really illuminates why a packaged analytic application should be considered when making your next BI investment. For more information, you can read the Aberdeen whitepaper, Packaged Analytics, The Gift that Keeps on Giving, linked at the end of this article.
While on average organizations will spend 17% more on the initial software investment for a packaged analytic application, the benefits begin to accrue immediately. During implementation, initial costs for hardware, professional services, and internal development and support staff are all lower. Even more important is the improved speed in time to deployment. Quickly deriving business value is what its all about, and packaged apps get us there 33% faster. The article also points out the benefits that organizations realize after implementation.
Because packaged apps by design focus functionality on the specific areas of value within a vertical industry or line of business, a sophisticated capability can be quickly delivered. Whereas many phase 1 DIY BI implementations may focus more on building the data foundation and core reports, companies with packaged analytics deploy dashboards 94% of the time. This allows for more easily consumed and understood data, and is key to driving user adoption and real business value. On the other end of the analytics spectrum, packaged apps also deliver more drill-down to detail capabilities in the solution. So we get a narrow, but very rich end-to-end analytic capability.
The key consideration of course is the fit of the out-of-the-box capabilities to your specific business and technical requirements. And regardless of this initial alignment, you will also want a solution that is easy to modify. This is in fact another area where packaged analytic solutions deliver. Packaged apps typically make it easier for business users to tailor the solution. Better end-user participation in this design aspect more closely bonds the users to the solution as they make it their own.
I was a little surprised that the article did not mention what I would consider to be one of the most important benefits of deploying packaged analytic applications: risk mitigation. When I deploy a solution that incorporates technical and industry Best Practices and has well-honed design and implementation processes wrapped around it, the probability for success expands. That being said, I think the article makes a compelling case that packaged analytics apps should always be considered when investing in analytics.