Why wouldn’t we just build it ourselves?

When talking to customers who are ready to start experimenting but haven’t yet for one reason or another, one question seems to pop up every now and again.

"Why wouldn’t we just build it ourselves?"

Having capable development teams is becoming more common, both as languages become easier to write in (e.g. the popularity of JavaScript), and as the industry gets a huge influx of talent. So, when looking into taking a new system on board, it feels very natural to wonder why you wouldn’t take the challenge on.

So, let’s explore the topic.

1. It’s not easy

Let’s assume you have the necessary skills in-house, and are able to deal with the data science, reliable infrastructure for delivery and tracking, making UIs etc.. Building a CRO platform still isn’t something you can fit into a sprint, or even 2 or 3, if you want it to be on par with the other platforms on the market. Webtrends Optimize, for example, has been the product of 19 years of development. 19 years of ideas from everyone we talk to, making mistakes, and continual refinement. Sure, you could build something in a few weeks that solves one use-case, or even a couple, but it takes months and years to arrive at a solution that works. One that actually services everyone in the organisation that wants to adopt Experimentation, from developers with code-driven development and Server-Side Testing, to those in marketing who might want a WYSIWYG interface or to manage things via a familiar medium like Google Sheets.

Furthermore, it is being able to appreciate the problems associated with Experimentation, which comes largely from failure. I’ve been in meetings with some of the largest companies in the country who run their own platforms, and can see holes in their methodology. This is something companies address over time, and usually the result of failure or challenge. When it’s just you building some technology, it’s not obvious what the actual drawbacks of what you’re doing are.

It's taken us a long time to arrive at a solution that ticks all the boxes, and that changes every day as people look to do new things. By taking to a wealth of customers, and being focused on solving a single problem, we’re able to provide a solution that genuinely solves the problem of Experimentation for everyone. Trying to tackle this in-house would require equal effort, to arrive at a comparable solution, as is far from an easy feat.

2. It requires capacity

This is probably the reason you’ve not already done it. Having a capable team is one thing, but capacity problems arise on a few fronts:

  • If you build a crude system, it’s likely that only developers can use it. This means that every test has to be built by your dev team – a continual drain on resources and not the one-time-effort it may have originally felt like. Not being able to turn things around in a timely manner often also leads to people abandoning programmes, which means all effort undertaken wasn’t worthwhile.

  • The alternative is to build a comprehensive piece of software that ticks all of the boxes. The problems with this are described in #1 – it’s not easy; it takes ages; it requires maintenance.

3. It takes time

Every day that you’re not running a CRO programme, not running Experiments, and not evaluating the best content/experience for users, you’re missing out. We learn from the experiments we run every day, and whilst you’re planning, building and refining a platform for making changes (over several months, as above), we could be finding you enough uplift to more than cover the cost of running the platform for years. We’ve recently calculated our average ROI on serviced clients to be 28x, which is amazing for a solution that is typically plug-and-play (one-line integration).

4. Testing requires experience

There’s a reason that so many companies look outward for others to manage their testing programmes, and it’s quite simple. Experimentation is most successful when undertaken as a co-operative effort, between those most familiar with the site/app and it’s users, and with those who are skilled in understanding and changing User Behaviour. The most skilled people are naturally those who do it day-in, day-out, for a series of companies across several verticals. That’s what we and our partners do incredibly well, and that’s why our clients are successful.

The benefits of looking externally:

To summarise, the benefits of looking externally are clear. You can adopt most platforms in the space of hours or minutes. Teams can be assembled quickly too, and you can be moving with a programme and a tool that constantly keeps up with the rest of the world without having to worry about it yourselves.

That’s no disruption on existing work, no having to hire a people at half-capacity (or shoehorn testing into someone else’s day) – it’s just an easy, and often cost-effective way to get going today.

To find out more, get in touch to speak to one of the team!