Buy or Build Data Distribution Solutions?

18 Mar 14

Today we are looking at whether organizations should consider a purpose built solution to handle data distribution to  cope with scale, speed and data efficiency or whether developing this in-house is better.

We appreciate that this is coming from our blog and we do provide a solution for this, but hear us out.

First off, I’m going to quote from Info World’s article ‘To build or to buy IT applications’:

“It’s a question of Shakespearean proportions. Should you license a commercial enterprise application that will meet 75 percent of your needs, or would it be nobler to build your own application, one that will track as closely as possible to the task at hand?

Decades of trial, error, and egghead analysis have yielded a consensus conclusion: Buy when you need to automate commodity business processes; build when you’re dealing with the core processes that differentiate your company.”

This makes sense to me – so for a web or mobile app, what’s the differentiation side of things?  It’s not just a tick-in-the-box app. Instead, the best apps solve an end-user problem or offers an engaging experience. But, as put on Mobile Marketer, “The number of truly standout apps remains small because many brands are not putting enough resources behind mobile.”

This leads me to the discussion of data distribution. Your web and mobile app needs data, otherwise forget about even providing an app. So the question is whether or not this is part of the business process or a differentiator. I believe it can be both:

1. Differentiator – It might be a differentiator today if you can get the data to your end user in near real-time, at scale and send it efficiently so you are maximizing your resource. But this won’t always be the case because the need for speed and scale is essential.

2. Business Process – Data distribution is and will always be part of your business process. So spend time building apps that are different based on the services you provide.

Back to my original question, buy vs. build. Why would an enterprise organization build its own data distribution technology? The answer here is that most data distribution solutions are middleware. Because of this, you still need to work with it to create a solution or product. Some organizations might feel they can incorporate this into the development process, but when it comes to getting a product to market quickly, why would you waste time developing middleware to cope with scale, speed and data efficiency when solutions already exist?

Developing the code to support this isn’t core to the business, instead developing a differentiated and innovative product should be the focus.

What happens when a new client or a new transport is required?

It may be relatively straightforward to build a simple messaging product or use an open source product, but what happens when the company needs to scale to 10,000, 100,000 or millions of connected users? Will that organization’s solution be able to perform?  And perform consistently?

In our experience, the answer is almost always no. In one company, it couldn’t scale and this had a material impact on their brand and customer experience, because if users don’t like a service, they’ll quickly go elsewhere. Lost customers or a lack of loyalty due to poor performance can really affect the business financially.

And if the product doesn’t work, what happens then? The business throws more staff at the problem with the added costs to develop a data distribution solution? Sounds like a waste of money when you can ensure reliability in one purchase.

To build Diffusion, Push Technology has worked over 50 man years to develop a complex solution built with specialist knowledge in the areas of data, messaging, caching, transport, optimization and acceleration. We’ve included within our core product a complete set of tools including API’s and client libraries to enable easy deployment and access to a data distribution solution that offers scale and speed through a publish and subscribe method.

Have a look at our comparison of buy vs. build:

Buy DiffusionBuild Your Own  
50 man years to developDevelopment for scale, speed and data efficiency based on internal resource (additional hire and expenditure)
A complex solution built with specialist knowledge in the areas of data, messaging, caching, transport, optimization and accelerationSpecialist skills need to be hired/found/developed in-house
Includes API’s and client libraries to enable easy deployment and access to a data distribution solutionMay be simple messaging solution
More than simple messaging, encompasses client and server features and technologies the totality of which represents a great deal of development investmentOne step down from an open source; at least with open source companies get a solution, by developing it themselves they may have nothing
Can scale to 10,000, 100,ooo or millions of connected users all while ensuring performanceSimple messaging product or an open source product will not have complex scale capability
High performance data distribution solution delivers quality customer experience which helps to financially benefit an organization through revenue and brand loyaltyProduct not guaranteed to deliver performance
Professional services supportDevelop yourself, support it yourself
Cost-effectiveCost involved in developing an in-house solution in terms of development resource far outweighs the license cost of Diffusion
Guaranteed to workMan hours in development is no guarantee it will work when deployed, this needs to be a horizontal capability if its built in house it will be vertical aligned and therefore lack best practice and approach.
Quick time to marketMay delay offering new products and services

The Diffusion Intelligent Data Platform manages, optimizes, and integrates data among devices, systems, and applications. Push Technology pioneered and is the sole provider of real-time delta-data streaming™ technology that powers mission-critical business applications worldwide. Leading brands use Push Technology to fuel revenue growth, customer engagement, and business operations. The products, Diffusion® and Diffusion Cloud™, are available on-premise, in-the-cloud, or in a hybrid configuration, to fit the specific business and infrastructure requirements of the applications operating in today’s mobile obsessed, everything connected world. Learn how Push Technology can reduce infrastructure costs, and increase speed, efficiency, and reliability, of your web, mobile, and IoT application.

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