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Technology Talks | 18 Mar 2022

To Build or To Buy

As organisations navigate technologies and solutions on offer for the experiences they want to deliver, they make two obvious decisions.

To buy or to build and What to buy 

I’m going to talk about some factors as one tackles the former.


Do you really need heavy customisation, or is it a trend backed ask? Most platforms will allow for your basic widget, visual edits and BI (business intelligence and dashboards) out of the box and you may not need more. Note that platforms are also likely to offer customisations naturally in line with their core product vision. They will get more resistant and expensive as you go deeper.

Some providers proudly claim their product is partly built by valuable customer suggestions. While that’s a great line to throw for customer-centricity – what about your secret sauce that may then be available off the shelf labelled Grandma’s Recipe for $9.99.

Hence, if IP and a differentiator are critical to you for long-range success, evaluate a build or find a partner that can transfer IP.

Opportunity Cost

If you need to hit the market fast – Buy

Chances are that the build planning, research, approvals, development efforts, organisation loops will take you by surprise in the time they consume. You could also take a hybrid approach – buy and learn from the best available and build in parallel if your eventual aim is to own IP for a strategic goal. This is something we have done effectively at TVS Motor.

Implementation and Champions

4 Out of 5 SaaS product decision-makers in organisations feel they made the right choice of the platform but have utilised only 50% of what it offers.

Why is that?

Implementation and usage training is possibly as or more important than the technology itself for success. This adds a third decision – who implements the solution externally and internally?

Organisations tend to focus on platform selection with heavy scrutiny but the implementation planning with way lesser attention. Platform suggested partners are often taken on board by default trust, lack of enthusiasm to invest more time in implementation partner evaluation, wanting to get moving are common reasons.

Implementation Champions grown from internal digital teams that built the product are way more likely to influence implementation and usage from your business teams. At TVS Motor, we decided to build an end to end enquiry management solution. We can see hard-fought success kicking in on the back of product implementation champions that know the product inside and are very agile in working with business teams to drive the change. Choose your Champions well!

The Hidden Cost or The Hidden Profit

Suppose your ADOPTION takes its own sweet time, which is likely for large scale implementations involving extended networks. In that case, you will pay for full-stack rates as you battle change management, driving usage from 20% quick adopters up to a viable 80% + usage as your internal teams understand the systems with possibly not much urgency.

If you build it – the clock is ticking for maintenance only and Change requests are serviced faster and more cost-efficient.

Microservices based structure offers super flexibility and allows specialised modules to be bought and plugged in. If you build well – organisations can monetise by deploying across use cases with high usage, geographies, group companies, even to other external organisations. That’s excellent ROI and possible revenue and profit stream.

How should one build

Assuming that the decision-makers are organisations that are not in the primary business of building software – internal development capabilities are likely between light and medium-sized with high dependency on external partners. If ambitions, like for us @TVS Motor, are to be a tech company, it is then a viable option to co-build with an experienced partner and own the IP.

This also allows internal teams to learn, hire and gear up to transition a larger share inhouse.

Building is a full time “always on” function. Know what it takes to build, enhance and maintain. Experienced resources across product, engineering, data science, agile squads and culture, DevSecOps, architecture and more, but most importantly (for us) the mindset that we will be a tech company and not an automobile manufacturer alone. 


Saurabh Khullar

Head - CX

TVS Motor Company 

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Comments (2)

Niranjan Jayaram

18 Mar 2022

Sometimes , the organisation loses focus and develops more and more subsystems which are active till the person helming them exists. These only create more silos of datapoints and this is where a CDP comes into its own. Opens the mind to possibilities which were never thought possible.


23 Jun 2022