Banner Default Image
Back to blogs

Technology Decision Making: Build vs Buy

Posted on March 2021 By Charlotte Herapath

Blog Img

Technology Decision Making: Build vs. Buy

As technology leaders, the question time after time we need to be asking ourselves is whether technology or capability is something we should invest in building in-house, or whether we should buy it.”

On Thursday March 4th at 8:30am, we saw the return of the South Wales Technology Leader’s Breakfast Briefing hosted by iO Associates’ consultants Charlotte Herapath and Daisy Thomas as well as Steph Locke, CEO of Nightingale HQ, an AI expert turned entrepreneur.

​Steph is passionate about helping businesses use their data more effectively and adopting AI. She’s written two books on data science and is one of the four people in the world who is a Microsoft Most Valued Professional (MVP) in Data Platform and AI Technologies.

​Kicking off the session, Steph highlighted the 6 main points technical leaders should take into consideration about when choosing to Build vs. Buy:

- Value

- Alignment

- Intellectual Property

- Capabilities

- Compliance

- Ethics

​But ultimately, the first question that needs to be asked is what is the most critical thing we are trying to achieve or solve in our business and how does this fit in with the overall business strategy? Whenever we think about tech, we need to ask if it’s going to have an impact on the overall top-level goal. No impact = no point.

​Steph mentioned that ROI is also up there as one of the first things that should be considered. Functions like DataOps and DevOps offer a good example around this. They can be very pricey to implement and tend to come with high up-front costs, but over time they enable you to build and release more quickly with higher quality, and things continue to better and better over time.

​You also need to ask the question, who is going to be responsible for new capabilities? Are you planning to upskill current staff? Or hire in? Does that person need to be senior? Or can you look at hiring someone more junior?

​It was suggested that hiring someone senior to begin with would be more beneficial, particularly in the case of AI implementation. If there are gaps within the skillset, hiring someone more senior closes those gaps and also ensures you have someone able to guide further growth on the project – whether that be a case of hiring more people or upskilling the current team. It was also pointed out that only having a single person in control can also lead to a single point of failure. This is where the idea of outsourcing can come into play as specialist consultancies are able to offer teams of people to you.

​The session was incredibly insightful with some great ideas and experiences shared. We hope our attendees will be taking away some of the key outcomes and looking to implement them into their own organisations.

​If you have any suggestions on future topics for our next event or would be interested in attending, please contact Charlotte at, or Daisy at