7 min read

Open Banking: Build or Buy?

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Adatree is often asked, “Why would I buy software to access the CDR instead of building the solution myself? How hard can consent be?” 

This is a reasonable question to ask when considering either building or buying any solution and is also true of Open Banking. We want to share additional details on the economics for developing and licensing for Consumer Data Right to help you make that decision. 

With finite resources available, companies need to decide how they will bring their ideas to life. This rational decision usually has a clear business case behind it, looking at time, resources, opportunity costs, and budgets.

General build vs buy principles 

Before we answer the specific question in terms of Open Banking—to build or to buy—let’s take a step back and look at the general principles of decision making for building something in-house versus using a software as a service product.

Is this part of your core value proposition? 
  • What is your company actually trying to achieve and bring to market? 
  • Does building this distract your business from your Unique Value Proposition (UVP)? 
  • How does a build vs buy scenario get prioritised given resource and budget limitations most organisations face?
Do you have any IP associated with its development? 
  • If you decide to build yourself, does it add value to your business? 
  • If you develop something not aligned to your UVP or leveraging your Intellectual Property (IP), what aren’t you developing? 
Are you best positioned to work on this? 
  • What ongoing skills does the build option require to build and maintain? 
  • How long does it take to get up to speed and learn this new subject matter?
  • Does this fall into the realm of your technical and business resources and their capacity? 
  • What additional skills or resources are required? What would the employment costs of these be?
  • What are the opportunity costs of you working on this instead of something else? 
How do the costs and time weigh up of having a solution in-house versus a SaaS solution ? 
  • What resources does a build option require for build, testing and maintenance?
  • Is this a one-off project or is it a program of work?
  • What business and technical maintenance is required? 
  • What are the operational costs? What are the costs to host and run in your cloud environment? How would you optimise your infrastructure cost without scale of a SaaS solution?
  • How long will it take to get your solution ready versus adopting a SaaS solution in a matter of hours? 
  • How does this introduce risks into your business model or timings? 
  • Would you need to have permanent resources associated with the solution?

Applying The Build Vs Buy Question to Consumer Data Right

Answering these questions for Consumer Data Right: 

  • Is this part of your core value proposition? 

We would suggest the answer is no. Your core value proposition is what you do with the data, not actually working out the changing technical granularities of accessing and leveraging it, not to mention staying up to date with a technical specification that is updated every six months

Companies participate in the CDR to bring use cases to life for smoother and smarter customer and business experiences, not to build and maintain technology solutions to comply with legislation. 

  • Do you have any IP associated with its development? 

No. Simply, no. This is why companies license PowerPoint, core banking platforms, API gateways and CRM systems. It is a requirement to be involved in the CDR but isn’t core IP to your company. 

  • Are you best positioned to work on this? 

The CDR is very specialised, requiring deep expertise and knowledge. It isn’t a topic that you can get up to speed with quickly, and it constantly changes, requiring you to be consistently up to date with changes and consultations to the rules, standards and guidelines. 

While companies can build anything they want, we at Adatree believe that companies that are solely focused on the CDR are in the best position to maintain this incredibly important link to the CDR.

  • How do the costs and time weigh up having in-house versus a SaaS solution? 

Taking the Data Recipient technical requirements as an example, we have outlined the rational inputs of build versus buy. This does not include the build of your application to utilise the CDR data. 

Comparison of Build vs Buy Options

 

In-House

Adopt Adatree’s SaaS solution

What resources does this require for build?

Front end engineers for consent dashboard 

Nil. 

Optional to build your own consent dashboard, but assume nil if you white label ours. 

What resources does this require for testing?

The build and maintenance teams will do this, but will also require BAs to define the requirements, tests and success criteria, carry them out, report on bugs and fix everything

Nil

What resources does this require for maintenance?

Assume one technical team, plus design, analyst, risk and legal resources

Nil

Is this a one-off project or is it a program of work?

Program - you maintain it indefinitely 

Project - one integration to Adatree and we maintain it

What are the overall costs to build and maintain? 

Adding in your technical, business, legal, testing, design, back-end, infrastructure, DevOps costs, it is a whole lot. 

One company publicly stated it cost >$1M to get to the starting line. 

At least 90% cheaper than building yourself

What are the costs to host and run in your cloud environment? 

For hosting, this will cost you a few thousand USD per month in cloud costs given the complex nature of the solution and its strict security, operational and auditing requirement.

Nil - it is hosted as a SaaS in Adatree’s cloud environment that has undergone an ASAE3150 audit

How long will it take to get your solution ready versus having an external one stood up? 

Assume nine months to build a MVP with a dedicated team that comes with the right combination of expertise and pray the specification will not change in the middle of the build. Some companies have been accredited for six months and are still not active. This shows the complex enigma of CDR compliance and the importance of partnering with an expert. 

A few hours

How does this introduce risks into your business model or timings? 

Your value proposition plans are in jeopardy. 

No risks introduced. 

 

My Engineers Are Great & They Can Build It

Of course they can build it. Does what they’re building bring the most amount of value to your business, to your customers? If you decide to build your technology solution yourself, you need to ask yourself, what aren’t they building instead of this? 

Overall - Buying Is A No Brainer

While Adatree is biased when considering the CDR Build versus Buy discussion, we have first hand experience of how complex the regulations are, and how challenging it is to build and maintain a compliant CDR technology solution.

We created our business to help organisations access the CDR by removing the high barriers to entry, and we fundamentally believe in leveraging SaaS models for capabilities that are outside of core UVPs or IP for an organisation. We are always on hand to have a conversation explaining our journey of building CDR compliant technology and how we can take that hassle away from you. 

The Adatree team actually consists of reformed members of the ‘Always Build’ camp that even built its own Core Banking Platform in a former life. We prefer building core UVPs in house at any point of time and we leverage off the shelf products to support a speedy delivery and fast iteration of our core UVPs. Our collaborative experiences have taught us that we get better supporting products at a fraction of the build cost when we find the right service provider.

Having and applying principles to determine your Build versus Buy path will help ensure your business best balances its speed, resources and reaching your goals.