Director of Data Services
‘We can build that ourselves’
This is a common refrain from IT departments, whenever SaaS products such as Fabric are offered for consideration. It’s certainly possible that your in-house IT team could build you a functioning bespoke metadata management platform - but should they?
Is it worth delaying your roll-out to allow for the build? Is it worth the investment and the risk? How do the ongoing maintenance costs compare against the costs of a SaaS subscription? There are a host of considerations to evaluate, that boil down to one common question - should you ‘Build or Buy’?
In this article we’ll explore some of the factors.
Risk. Will it work? There is no guarantee that your IT team will be able to build all of the functionality you require, let alone deliver it on time and within budget. There is a lot of risk involved. Plug and play toolsets like Figma can give the unrealistic view that it is possible to prototype and build fully functioning new applications quickly - but there is a vast distance between a mock-up and a fully fledged application - made up of time, effort, risk and expense
Delay. How long will it take to build your own platform? You could roll out Fabric now with rapid seamless integrations and powerful tools to deduplicate and clean up your catalog while you migrate your content metadata. Can you afford to wait?
Cost. How much will it cost to build? Developers are notorious for underestimating because prototypes can happen quickly. The reality is that to build out a true enterprise application with all the right APIs, user roles and security, information security requirements, takes a lot longer than anyone realizes on first pass.
Recurring cost = Subscription without benefits. There is often a false impression that building your own system requires a single, up-front investment, as opposed to the ongoing payments of a subscription model - essentially the ‘Cap-ex self-build delusion’. This is mistaken. Any self-built system will require ongoing updates, troubleshooting, API development, pen-testing, and maintenance. All of this work creates an ongoing cost - that would be better deployed on a guaranteed certified product. The general consensus is that the annual cost of maintaining a custom self-built system is 20% of the overall build cost - effectively a subscription without any of the benefits. https://westarete.com/insights/maintenance-costs-for-custom-software/
Capex vs Opex. Strategic technology decisions should really be separated from the political minutiae of which budget to use. A decent SaaS provider will be able to offer you an up-front cost that can be covered from a Capex budget, or an ongoing subscription fee that can be paid from an Opex budget. The focus should be on how much value is being derived from the overall expenditure.
Expertise. In-house IT departments will insist that no-one knows your business as well as they do. No one but them could make a custom service so perfectly suited to your business’ particular needs. But no-one knows OUR business as well as we do. Our business is Metadata management. We’re the market-leading experts. Your in-house IT department has a million tasks to contend with. They are never going to create a system that rivals what Fabric has to offer.
Technical Debt. API keys are updated and changed. MAM systems are regularly updated. Business acquisitions and mergers require new systems integrations. As your in-house app evolves to respond to these updates it will accumulate fixes, patches and customizations that will require ever-increasing attention. Instead of a robust and widely used platform that has specialist support teams available - you will become dependent on a small silo of individuals in your IT department who understand the idiosyncrasies of your system.
Sole Focus. Our only focus is to deliver a perfectly integrated and elegantly functioning metadata management platform. We have a track record of delivering catalog migrations, deduplications and systems integrations in record time - with long experience of the common problems faced by numerous major organizations. This expertise serves all parties well. In comparison, in house custom-built application projects can lose impetus as teams find ways to deprioritize in favor of day to day business.
Added Functionality. When a client requests a new feature from Fabric - we build it - then we make it available to all of our customers. We have added, improved and refined dozens of new features to our main platform, meaning that all of our customers benefit from upgraded service. Many of these features require considerable development investments that would not be cost effective if built in-house.
Unified Front End. Our seamless 3rd party integrations across your supply chain surface key data attributes (like avails from rights, or asset details from a MAM), giving unparalleled insights, helping to get ahead of deliveries.
Clearly, in the current market, buying a dedicated subscription SaaS product such as Fabric has the advantage over building an in-house solution. Why try to build an expensive solution that is outside your team’s direct area of expertise, when an excellent option is already available for immediate deployment? Ultimately, every business will have different requirements, and different degrees of in-house IT capability, and it is up to business leaders to identify what is best for their organization. Make sure you make the best choice - and do what’s right for your business.
Fabric’s pioneering platform is in use by some of the world’s most prestigious studios, broadcasters and distributors. Find out why at www.fabricdata.com.