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Build In-house or Buy Third-party Experimentation Platforms: Ending the Debate

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Experience optimization and testing have become pivotal, nigh a necessity, in today’s technologically driven product landscape. This is where an experience optimization platform, like VWO, helps you go beyond ‘just’ client-side and server-side testing. By analyzing visitor behavior and making easy web deployment, it offers a holistic experimentation suite.

Yet companies continue to use their tight resources to try to build these capabilities in-house. We encourage building and propagating an experimentation culture across organizations, but cultures need not be built at the cost of core competencies.

As someone in charge of building the next big thing, you’re constantly challenged to prioritize and juggle in a resource-constrained environment. Add to that the breakneck competition, you should be able to discern which proficiencies to build and which specialized services to be rendered from specialists.

Below we share some tell-tale factors for deciding between an in-house or third-party experimentation tool. 

Total cost of ownership

Build vs Buy - Total cost of ownership

What is the overall cost of developing and maintaining the experimentation platform over time? There is the obvious cost of having a holistic team of product managers, dev/IT, front end, UI/UX, QA, etc. Add to that the time factor- the more time your tech team spends on devising and maintaining internal tools, the less time they can spend on customer and product-specific problems. Scaling the in-house platform on a regular basis based on changing demands will also impact organizational OpEx. 

When you opt for a third-party platform, everything is readily available without the hassle. Thanks to various SaaS subscription models, you can select a pricing plan with features that suit your current needs. Not ready to commit to higher plans just yet? No problem! Try out the starter or free trial to gauge the overall benefits. Compare these benefits to your previous experiences and decide what works best. This way, you have full control over costs instead of diving in without anticipating the various expenses that may arise later on. With VWO, you can choose the starter plan and move to higher pricing tiers as your needs evolve.

Access to robust reporting 

Build vs Buy - Access to robust reporting

VWO provides intuitive reporting powered by a Bayesian Engine for real-time and accurate experiment results. The question that arises is whether you have the time and resources to build powerful reporting that shows real-time results. Since business decisions are based on experiment results, you will not have confidence in them unless they are backed by a robust statistics engine.

To ensure smart and statistically sound test results that meet the demands of modern experimentation, VWO is revamping its Reports. Now, consider the challenge of trying this extensive revamp in-house! Internal teams would struggle to allocate time to this task amidst their daily responsibilities in other areas. 

Ease of use 

Build vs Buy - Ease of use

In-house developed tools don’t always provide usability, scalability, or cross-team support. The aim with them is to get rid of an immediate pain point or provide minimum functional sustenance as quickly as possible. The need to troubleshoot these internal tools is much more frequent.

Modern technology vendors prioritize user-friendly interfaces when building their experimentation platforms. These platforms range from basic to mid-level difficulty, catering well to small and mid-sized companies. While it might be challenging to learn advanced tools, the benefits of such tools over the in-house solutions are undeniable in the long run. Companies like VWO offer extensive self-assistance knowledge articles and customer support, making any tool easy to grasp after a few tries.

Organisational design and compliances 

Build vs Buy - Organisational Design And Compliances

Company-wide experimentation tools require access controls, audit logs, and potentially custom permissions to ensure that functionality is controlled appropriately for a high level of performance. Identifying members who will define the key metrics and giving access accordingly is crucial and so is complying with a multitude of internet laws and regulations related to data and security. VWO complies with internet laws and regulations that matter to most businesses.

Managing multiple tools

Build vs Buy - Managing Multiple Tools

With in-house tools, you might need to use multiple tools to be able to effectively run and analyze experiments. Whereas you would be able to do everything in a single place using a website optimization and experimentation platform. With VWO, you can run and analyze the results at a single place and that too at scale. 

Moreover, optimization involves more than just running tests. It needs a deeper understanding of visitor behavior, and hence, behavioral analytics should be an integral part of your toolkit. However, incorporating these features means writing extensive code, demanding significant time, and creating extra pressure on your engineering team. 

On our VWO platform, this integration is evident – insights from VWO Insights flow into your experiments, helping you test research-backed hypotheses to optimize your website. The best part is the interface is intuitive and easy to navigate, even for non-technical users. 

Keep up with innovation

The work doesn’t end with creating an in-house tool. Keeping it up-to-date with the latest market trends, customer demands, and innovations is necessary to maintain relevance and prevent obsolescence. However, this puts pressure on your budget and in-house resources. 

In contrast, VWO is backed by a dedicated team of innovators who ensure the platform is always at the forefront of trends and innovation. Get AI-generated personalized test ideas, AI-summarized survey reports, AI-recommended copy variations for testing, and many more AI-powered behavioral analysis features are coming up!

Creating all this into your in-house tool will be time-consuming, and in the meantime, you might fall behind the competition while trying to do so. If a third-party tool like VWO can do it for you, why take the extra burden?

Robust support system

Sure, your in-house team might consist of tech experts. However, it’s beneficial to rely on experienced professionals in the field. If you encounter problems, you won’t need to burden your in-house team with mitigation efforts. In fact, quality customer support is an equally important aspect of third-party experimentation platforms today. 

Having dealt with thousands of clients over the years, VWO boasts the industry’s premier customer support team. Just a call away, they deliver tailored solutions to even the most complex challenges with great expertise.

Beyond the tool itself, you may need help with starting and scaling your testing endeavors. In such cases, you will be assigned a dedicated customer success manager, whose primary role is to guide you through the intricacies of the product and ensure optimal outcomes. This personalized support enables early successes and also lays the groundwork for future experiments. Their overarching aim is to help you derive maximum ROI from your utilization of the VWO Platform. 

Leverage multiple integrations 

Over time, as your company grows, you’ll want to integrate your testing tool with third-party tools to empower your decision-making. Such integrations help you get your hands on more data for better visibility into user behavior and launching a variety of marketing activities. However, every integration will require custom development and compatibility with your tool.

With a trusted experimentation platform like VWO, you don’t remain occupied with that extra work. VWO has integrations for everything from web analytics to content management systems, customer data platforms, digital asset management systems, and more. If you’re still looking for an integration you want, you can raise a request with the team, and they will comply. 

Most recently, VWO Insights – Mobile’s integration with Firebase allows developers and product managers to view the session recording of any specific app crash right inside Firebase Crashlytics. Thus, it makes the troubleshooting process a lot easier and quicker. View more VWO integrations.

In conclusion 

If you think you would be able to provide all of the above capabilities while creating an in-house system or tool, you should go ahead and build it! But if you think you won’t be able to meet even one of them, then perhaps it’s better to follow the age-old principle of Occam’s Razor and choose the simplest option, i.e. Buy!

If you’re convinced about how VWO handles the heavy lifting for you, why not give it a try? Sign up for a free trial today

Pratyusha Guha
Hi, I’m Pratyusha Guha, associate manager - content marketing at VWO. For the past 5 years, I've written B2B content for various brands. My entry into CRO was through writing content about eCommerce optimization. Currently, I've broadened my expertise to write about conversion optimization across various industries, including SaaS, travel, e-learning, and more. I'm fascinated by user experience, and I enjoy writing content that empathizes with readers and helps them solve challenges. If you'd like to talk about life or just need a non-judgmental ear, I'm here to listen.

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