Buy, Build or Blend: Determining the Right Data Management Solution for Your Business

September 2023
Data Management


The pressure is officially on.

With exciting new artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA) solutions popping up every day, business leaders can barely contain their excitement about the promise of saving time, money, resources and more.

Connecting all the dots to harness the data often means another layer of expensive integration tools and time-intensive implementations that can take months to deploy.

Across a variety of industries – from HR and marketing to procurement and supply chain – studies show that more than 40% of businesses cite integration capabilities as one of their top challenges in building a more productive data environment. This is followed by another 20% of businesses that cite poor data quality.


Expensive Integration Preventing New Tech Adoption

Even many well-known integration platforms and iPaaS services – who promise to standardize and ease the integration process – require expensive, multi-month implementations, and often fall short of integration goals. Many businesses invest in such platforms without calculating the cost of the implementation itself. In many cases, the implementation costs two or three times the cost of licensing the platform, driving Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) through the roof.

So even with a solution in mind, you’ll need to make some important financial decisions. Specifically, should you buy the integration functionality you need, build a custom solution for your business or develop a blended solution that taps into both options?

Your current technology team may not have the skill set to code a solution from scratch, and if they do, they may not have the capacity. Hiring developers, either as FTEs or using outsourced talent, is expensive and fraught with risk. A homegrown solution could take months or even years to build, and there’s no guarantee it will work or stand the test of time. Meanwhile, popular integration platforms may not provide the functionality or flexibility you need out of the box, requiring additional licensing, service fees and integrations.

This is where the true value of Enzo’s data integration platform – and its ability to be deployed with a fully functional proof of value within four weeks – shines the brightest. Enzo Unified lowers TCO across your integrated software and technology systems.


The Fallacy of the Binary Build or Buy Decision

Numerous studies have suggested that most companies – especially small and midsized companies -- should buy software solutions if they have out-of-the-box options available. But what if your business has a unique process or use case that demands specific features, business rules or workarounds?

The concept of “buy vs. build” is a tidy form of shorthand. However, businesses really need to stop trying to pigeonhole solutions in this regard. Not only does it lend to an “us vs. them” perspective, but in today’s data management world, the right solution may be quite complex.

The real question is, “How do we achieve the data management results we seek within our budget and timeframe?”

Like a musical chord is produced by striking three or more notes at once, modern data management is about creating a fluid and harmonious ecosystem where new software and technology is always welcome.


Purpose-Built, Custom Built and Hybrid Options

A better way to look at the problem is to determine where you need specific functionality and how to deploy what you need.

Purpose-Built Solutions

Existing software and data platforms are built and tested in a wide range of scenarios, meaning the underlying code – and the interface – have often already gone through several releases, each an improvement over the last. This adds enormous value since all the risk and expense of optimizing for various use cases has occurred. In many cases, using purpose-built solutions can speed deployment time. The primary con, of course, is that you may be paying for features you won’t use, or that features you need are not part of the solution.

A great example of a purpose-built data management platform is Enzo’s data ingestion pipeline DataZen. DataZen offers a no-code solution that allows data teams to quickly and easily move data from any source to any platform or destination, with built-in change data capture, perfect for creating data lakes, enabling 360 data visibility and more.

Custom-Built Solutions

Sometimes you have a unique set of business rules that requires a specialized technology solution which an off-the-shelf software doesn’t address. Or perhaps you have a proprietary market advantage that’s important to protect. To prevent exposure of the exclusive code, you might consider an internally built solution. In both cases, custom-built solutions can provide long-term value.

One of the benefits of using our Enzo Server data integration platform, is that it is highly customizable, and enables unique data management customizations to be written using SQL. Enzo Server is an IPaaS solution that makes it convenient to deploy ETL processes and other data automation, and very easy to update and maintain by internal staff when new technology or data sources are available.

Hybrid Data Management Solutions

By combining the benefits of custom code with the functionality of a pre-designed solution, you can achieve maximum flexibility and control at the lowest cost. Perhaps most importantly, this approach also typically helps keep your timeline in check. Using a partner approach may be extremely valuable when you have an excellent off-the-shelf product you want to use, but need custom business rules to integrate it with the rest of your technology environment.

The Enzo Platform can be used to maximize the value of other technology solutions. In fact, leveraging the power of the Enzo technology can dramatically reduce your integration TCO across your data management platforms. The ability to integrate a purpose-built software along with customized functionality is one of the reasons Enzo was selected as the 2022 North American Partner of the Year for Medius accounting software.


Top Considerations When Evaluating a Buy-Build-Blend Data Integration Solution

Merging new tech, such as RPA, IoT devices or data sets like SCADA, and legacy systems continues to be a priority for organizations of all sizes. Leaders who manage the data integration function of a business – including budget, staff time and maintenance – must provide financially sound technology solutions that are flexible enough to adapt to continuously evolving business requirements.

So, whether you frame your decision as a buy vs. build analysis, or you look at it through the purpose-built vs. custom-built lens, developing a criteria should include these critical evaluations:

  • Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

    From a financial standpoint, performing a TCO evaluation is critical. When you load in all the expenses of upfront investment, plus ongoing maintenance, break-fix and other support, you start to see the real cost of different solutions.
  • Time to Market

    Determining how quickly you need to bring your solution to market may impact your decision. Pre-built solutions are often quicker than building from scratch.
  • Customization Needs

    Determining your full set of requirements – and which are mandatory must-haves – is central to your evaluation. Purpose-built solutions may have limited customization options.
  • In-House Expertise

    Assess your organization's internal capabilities and resources for software development. Building may require hiring skilled developers, whereas partnering can leverage external expertise. Also, just because you CAN, doesn’t mean you SHOULD. Evidence suggests that the best implementations are those where the in-house team has the ability but chooses to outsource for efficiency.
  • Maintenance & Growth

    Consider future growth and scalability requirements. Ensure that the chosen approach can adapt to changes in your business's size and complexity.
  • Risk and Compliance

    Evaluate the regulatory and security requirements relevant to your industry. Determine if buying or partnering with established vendors helps mitigate risks and ensures compliance.
  • Long Term Strategy

    Align your decision with your long-term business strategy. Consider whether the chosen approach supports your organization's goals and vision over time.


Additional Considerations for Ongoing Integration Maintenance

Determining how to maintain your organization’s system integration is also an important consideration. Will the system you’re designing rely on outside resources or in-house team members? The Enzo Platform was designed to use the simplicity of the SQL language, specifically to reduce the initial learning curve associated with complex API development and drastically reduce ongoing maintenance challenges. As a result, Enzo platform clients and partners can choose whether to tap the Enzo team to save time and hassle, or they can easily bring the solution in-house to maintain and grow it without complex development cycles.


Strike the Right Balance with the Enzo Platform

With options that include no-code data replication and a fully customized data integration platform as a service (iPaaS), Enzo can help you find the technology solutions that maximize control and flexibility while keeping costs and staff impact low.


As a leader in data virtualization, any-to-any data replication, and data integration, Enzo Unified is here to assist you with any new technology implementation. Contact us at for more information.

601 21st St Suite 300
Vero Beach, FL 32960
United States

(561) 921-8669
terms of service
privacy policy









© 2023 - Enzo Unified