What’s Best for Advanced Analytics: A Package or a Platform?


The Dilemma

Many organizations struggle with the dilemma of deciding between a commercially available, prepackaged, off-the-shelf, software application to address a particular decision or planning challenge versus creating something completely from scratch.

There is an increasingly viable third option – leveraging a platform for rapidly developing and supporting a secure, scalable, enterprise-class application for business users that embeds powerful analytical techniques like optimization, machine learning, etc.  The accelerating viability of platforms, especially in the cloud, for developing your own applications has made this third option something that really can’t be overlooked.

In most, if not all cases, this availability of a platform like the Opalytics Cloud Platform means that building your own app for strategically differentiating decisions is not only doable, but imperative.

The Key Questions

The rather obvious question is how to compare apples with bowling balls, so to speak.

Alternatives for an off-the-shelf, prepackaged, software application approach can’t be evaluated in the same way as alternatives for a platform approach.

So, I offer you the following questions to determine which approach is best for a given use case:

  1. Is the financial opportunity strategically significant (i.e. will it make a difference in the value of the enterprise?)?
  2. Do you need to capture as much of the opportunity as possible (you can’t settle for 70% or 80%)?
  3. Because of #1, #2 and other reasons, do you need to make these decisions to achieve this opportunity in a way that is different from the competition and that can’t be copied by them?
  4. Do you intend to expand the use of advanced analytics and continuously improve the decision models you intend to build, thereby continuing to differentiate yourself in the market?

If the answers to all four of these questions of these questions is “yes”, then you should be focusing your attention on a “platform”, not on off-the-shelf packages.  If the answer to either of the first two is “no”, then you should probably look for a prepackaged application.

At Opalytics, we have the best of both approaches.  

The Opalytics Cloud Platform enables you to load, organize, clean, synchronize, share and analyze data from multiple sources so you can solve complex challenges rapidly, all with state-of-the-art technology.  Opalytics also has a growing number of prepackaged apps already on the platform that you can begin using immediately to solve challenges associated with value network design, multi-echelon inventory optimization, transportation routing, and supply chain risk, etc, while building your own enterprise-class apps that leverage a wide range of advanced techniques is flexible and fast on the Opalytics Cloud Platform.

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a wonderful weekend, for which I leave you this thought from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it within us, or we find it not.”


About Arnold Mark Wells
Industry, software, and consulting background. I help companies do the things about which I write. If you think it might make sense to explore one of these topics for your organization, I would be delighted to hear from you. I am currently employed by Incorta, but I am solely responsible for the content in Supply Chain Action.

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