Build vs. Buy: Choosing the right approach for video analytics

So, you’re sitting on a mountain of data and have decided to put it to work. Great decision. The average streaming service generates huge amounts of user data from each and every interaction. From your CRM to your billing system, app suite and beyond, it’s likely that you’re already tracking certain metrics as a data-driven business.

The missing piece of the puzzle, though, is a system to turn that data into insight, which can then be used to tackle your biggest business pain points and enhance growth.

What’s the best way to bring this to life?

There are three ways to collect the insight you need:

  • Work with IT and ops teams to manually process data from your tech stack.
  • Build your own dashboard with a generic visualization tool.
  • Have the heavy lifting done for you with an audience insights platform like Wicket Scorecard.

Realistically, manual processing at the scale you need isn’t feasible. Unless you’re constantly polling IT and ops teams, putting in request after request to ensure your data is up to date, you risk making conclusions and business decisions based on bad insight.

That leaves us with the age-old software question: buy or build? Both have their merits, and the option you choose will usually come down to a trade-off of speed, cost, customization, data access or some combination of all four.

Let’s take a closer look at those factors in more detail.

Speed: Moving from data to insight as quickly as possible

Building your own data dashboard will require a lot of investment in IT manpower and budget. There are no two ways about it: buying a tool will be much faster. Audience insights platforms like Wicket Scorecard have the integrations needed to automate the aggregation and harmonization of data from across your systems.

If you know what you want to achieve, buying rather than building saves a lot of time. You can start making an impact – enhancing engagement and reducing churn – with your data straight away, as soon as you’ve got the tool set up.

Cost: Factoring not just build costs, but ongoing maintenance

Cost is a complex consideration. Obviously, there’s the up-front investment needed to build your own tool. As the majority of spend in video streaming goes on content, securing the budget for a big development project like a data dashboard can be difficult. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

You should also look at:

  • How long will it take to see a return on investment.
  • How long you will need to spend gathering and cleaning data.
  • How you will manage ongoing maintenance.
  • How your solution will scale as your business grows.

Return on investment is the key factor. If it takes a year to build the solution you need, then more time to integrate the data pipeline to get the insights you’re looking for, that’s a huge amount of missed opportunity in an industry that moves at breakneck speed.

Buying a tool, like the Wicket Scorecard, alleviates this issue. You’ll be able to easily run complex data queries from the start, and you’ll have best practices to help you get the most out of your investment from the get-go. Also, as a SaaS-based solution, the relative maintenance is cheap, and the platform is designed to scale. You don’t need to worry about keeping your system running. Instead, you can focus on taking action.

Choosing an industry-specific data visualization tool, then, isn’t just more cost-efficient compared to a custom build, but it’s more practical in terms of delivering ROI. Especially when you factor in maintenance costs or the engineering time needed to keep your in-house tool working correctly and integrated with new systems when you update your tech stack.

Customization: Creating a platform that meets your needs

Creating a data dashboard in-house gives you full control over the development cycle. You’ll be able to customize as needed, ensuring the UI meets your exact requirements and that every feature has been purpose-built for your needs. It’s great news if you’ve got the resources, but without investment you risk ending up with a solution that doesn’t meet your goals. Or worse, full project abandonment.

It’s worth considering that internal customization comes at a price. Unforeseen issues can, and often do, crop up. Ask yourself a few questions:

  • Do you have the expertise to define the underlying equations and design to meet your vision?
  • Will you have an engineering team dedicated to working on this project?
  • Can you have more of their time to make future changes?

Naturally, we have conversations with customers all the time who started out looking to build a tool themselves. Usually, it’s for that reason; they felt no tool could meet their unique requirements.

That might be true with generic data visualization tools. After all, there aren’t many sector-specific data visualization platforms out there. But the Wicket Scorecard is different. It’s purpose-built for the OTT sector, deployed with both household names and niche players. Advanced audience insights platforms like Wicket Scorecard are built on deep domain knowledge. They’re designed to include the features and internal reporting needed by the video streaming industry.

The Wicket Scorecard is constantly being developed, too. So you will always be at the cutting edge of data analytics. And there’s a dedicated Customer Success team to quickly address any problems you have.

Data access: The value of collective insights

More often than not, because internal tools are built by technical users, they’re only easily accessible by this same group. This brings us to another key consideration when making your decision: it’s not only about the insight – the analytics experience is just as important.

If the UI isn’t up to scratch, you’ll waste time answering one-off queries from different departments. And the teams that need to use the tool every day, like marketing and editorial, will struggle to make data-informed decisions because the insights they need are difficult to access.

It’s also useful to know how your service performance compares to your peers. Wicket Scorecard is unique in letting you view your business through an external lens. Thanks to its scale in the video streaming industry, you can see how your key metrics stack up against streaming providers that are like you.

These insights can be used to further optimize your marketing efforts and spending. Wicket Scorecard also gives you suggestions for each benchmark, providing suggested actions backed up by data-driven insight.

Taking action

Ultimately, data harmonization and visualization is no longer a nice to have. It’s a necessity for growth in the highly competitive video streaming space. But knowing whether to build or buy isn’t just about understanding the pros and cons. They must be considered in the context of your business needs and future goals – and how you can use reporting to track and show how data-driven decisions are having a business impact.

Which solution will help you achieve this most effectively? Once you’ve got the answer, you’ll know which approach is right for you.

Ready to supercharge your audience insights journey? Get in touch. We’re here to help.

 

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