How to Weigh Your Mobile Analytics DecisionSo you’ve been evaluating the tools your team needs to make sense of the data you’re harnessing, and you’ve come to the conclusion that a mobile analytics tool is the solution. You’ll be able to transform a mass of numbers and metrics into meaningful data that your team can use to glean critical business insights and make better decisions. There’s just one problem.

Should you build your own mobile analytics tool or look to another vendor? I’ll take a look at some of the benefits and advantages of each path in the article below.


Before you even contemplate building your own mobile solution there are a couple of questions you need to ask yourself. Do you even have the resources (think personnel and knowledge) to build a product in-house? If you know you don’t and you’re thinking about contracting an agency to build your product for you, do you have the resources to manage and support that roll-out long after the agency is gone? If you’re still considering building a solution from scratch, use some of these pros and cons to weigh your final decision.

Custom Fit: The biggest advantage of building a mobile tool is that you can customize it to meet your exact business’s or team’s needs. You’re opting out of a one-size-fits-all approach and splurging on the tailored fit.

Resource Intensive: But remember that providing that custom approach is going to require a serious investment of resources on your team’s part. First of all you’ll need people who actually know how to build the product you want, and (this is very crucial) know how to build it the best way possible so that it’s easy for your team to use. These people will have to spend less time on their current tasks in order to devote more time to building your solution.

Resource Intensive for Support: When you build your own product, you don’t just get to walk away and let it run when it’s finished. The same team that built it will probably spend a lot of their time providing maintenance, support, and tracking for it once it’s complete. This means that you won’t necessarily get the resources back that you diverted to build the solution in the first place, they’ll stay diverted as long as you continue to use it. You also might end up bringing on new hires to supplement your current team’s activities.

Potentially Cost Effective: The second greatest possible advantage of building your own solution from the ground up is that you might save a lot of money. But with all the time, personnel, and (possibly) money that you’ll spend building your own solution, it might not end up being worth it. Before you make a decision, be sure to factor out what the cost of building will be in terms of the hours your team will spend on this project and the hours they won’t spend on other critical projects in terms of their salaries by hour and any additional new hires or spending you might have to do. Compare this cost to your purchasing costs of a pre-baked solution to determine which is actually the best financial option.

Potential for Error: Even though you’ll be getting a customized solution for a product that’s built in-house by a trusted team who knows your business and end-users – if this isn’t their daily job, they might overlook certain critical functions or features that a seasoned solution provider would not. Sometimes it’s better to let the experts guide you than to learn by trial and error with a critical mobile implementation.


Buying a mobile solution can have upsides and downsides of its own. You won’t necessarily save time in the planning and analysis stages because you’ll need to evaluate multiple products and vendors, but taking the time to understand your business needs and problems before you talk to vendors or compare solutions will go a long ways towards ensuring you find the best fit. In general, here are some of the advantages and disadvantages you can expect from a purchased mobile analytics tool.

Less Customized: A vendor whose job it is to sell to the masses won’t necessarily be able to supply you with a custom-fit tool, but this can actually work to your advantage because you get the functionality you need without getting bogged down by ancillary add-ons. Sometimes it’s better to sacrifice customization for much better standard functionality.

Pre-assembled: It’s always nice to have an out-of-the-box solution that your team won’t have to spend weeks or months figuring out and assembling. Cloud providers are especially good at providing you with a solution that you can start using from day one.

External Support: Don’t underestimate the value of an excellent customer support team when implementing a new technology product. Having an external resource troubleshoot your product, fix bugs, and provide guidance can be a huge load off your (probably) already over-worked team.Plus, a great SLA means your product performance will stay at its peak.

Potentially Cost-Effective: Like I mentioned earlier, what you spend in purchasing dollars for a pre-made solution might be dramatically outweighed by the cost, both in money, efficiency and time, of building your own. You’ll have to provide your own analysis to determine which way is best for your business.

Proven Expertise: I always feel better about my decisions when I purchase something from someone who has clearly demonstrated that they know what they’re doing. It can be the difference between peace of mind and buyer’s remorse. Work with your vendors to evaluate their level of expertise, then use them as trusted advisors to make your implementation as smooth and efficient as possible.

Making the Decision

The decision of whether you should buy vs build will ultimately depend on many factors like the size of your business, the knowledge of your team, the resources and capital you can devote, and the scope of the product that you desire versus the products offered by vendors in the market. Use these guidelines to determine which path is best for you, and let us know what you choose in the comments below.