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Should you build or buy a Strategy Execution Platform?


Are you reviewing your approach to managing strategy execution? Are you considering whether to build or buy an enterprise-level strategy solution? Here’s what you need to consider for your business case when it comes to making that decision.

Written by: Rob Hill, Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing

You need a serious piece of software to help execute your strategy – an enterprise-level strategy solution. Maybe you’re replacing an existing solution, or maybe you’ve decided to move away from the traditional approach that involves unsecure, error-prone PowerPoint and Excel spreadsheets, but there is an appetite in your business to consider building your own.

Many companies fall into this trap. Should you buy something off the shelf (but customised) that is tried and tested and fits your needs, or should you pay a huge amount of money to start from scratch and create something for your business?

The elephant in the room: ultimately the decision comes down to control and cost

If you decide to build your own, you get to define the entire process and create deeply customised software. But this comes with a huge cost.

If you select a leading Strategy Execution solution, this comes with less cost. One would assume that this means less control, but at i-nexus we offer a fully customised, enterprise-ready strategy solution.

As organisations explore how to digitise and transform their Strategy Execution capability by deploying a software platform that can help cascade strategy, performance manage its execution and ensure ongoing alignment– the inevitable question of build versus buy emerges.

Whether prompted by an internal IT team using one of the new breed ‘you can build anything with our cool workflow/spreadsheet/magic software’ or a zealous vendor-lead marketing campaign promising the Earth from its magic beans software – it is important to consider the options.

Using data to guide your decision

I’m a strong believer in facts over feeling.
When faced with a seemingly conservative option of buying software vs. building one tailored to your every need in-house, it’s easy to be swayed by the bright lights of ‘getting exactly what you need’.

But there is a subtlety that is worth shining a light on.

Take your CIO/CTO. They may recoil at the thought of another large-scale, resource-intensive project which may have a 12-month road-map, but mis-captured requirements and shifting objectives for the system will quickly erase the silver-lined cloud.

Considerations in the build or buy debate

We are often confronted by this ‘competitor’ during the early stages of an organisation exploring how they can transform their manual and siloed – spreadsheet, presentation and email StratEx system.

For those who prefer visuals, here are the considerations to keep in mind in the form of an infographic. For more details on each, read on below:

build or buy a strategy platform

The following are a few considerations we ask them to review…

1) Research and development

a) We have spent US$10+ Million, 15-years and 3x major software code re-writes to develop the i-nexus solution. Within this investment are ten of thousands of hours of research and development.

b) With an ongoing annual research & development budget of circa $2M and a software engineering team of 60+ people dedicated to the platform’s evolution – it is not only hard to develop a tool for today but becomes impossible to keep it current and ensure it evolves.

2) Functionality

a) Our Strategy Execution tool has evolved from the proactive input from many of the world’s leading StratEx leaders and visionaries; with the platform developed to support numerous different StratEx systems used by many leading global organisations.

b) Exactly how are you going to build an X-Matrix that allows you to turn the model, cascade the strategy and ensure full alignment? It took us years of effort and millions of dollars to build that one!

c) Once you build your own platform – then you need to start on reporting and analytics. Is that another platform on top of the build your own tool? Or do you need to ‘simply’ build a bowler chart with drill-down, a set of KPI and metric reporting along with the interactive ability to share and drill-down?

3) Fit for purpose

a) Given your StratEx tool contains the detailed plans of your organisation for the next 3-5 years – will this data be secure? Accessible only by those who should see it? Can specific data and plans be hidden from view? Security, user accessibility and encryption of data are critical.

b) Will it scale? In our more mature deployment, we find somewhere between 12% – 18% of the workforce will have access to the StratEx platform. Can the build cope with enterprise growth? Does the software licencing model blow out your costs? How much cost and time is involved in engaging the consultants and developers to adapt your build and how does this impact the roll out?

c) The ‘time to benefit’ with i-nexus is less than 3-months. From the day a contract is signed – the fully configured i-nexus Strategy Execution platform will be deployed. In a build your own adventure you are still working out what you actually need!

Whilst the build versus buy discussion often emerges in the early stage of an organisation considering how to solve their Strategy Execution platform challenges, it is often a short-lived review.

To build or not to build?

Building or buying a Strategy Execution platform, or any software for that matter, isn’t a simple decision.

    • For organisations seeking to scale their Strategy Execution software across the whole business, covering countless kaizen events, projects, initiatives and a workforce running into the hundreds, if not thousands, embarking on a build it yourself journey is something we’d strongly advise against.

And if that’s where your decision lands, we’re on hand to support your next steps.

To discuss how i-nexus can support your organisation, contact our team of advisors on, or click here to book a call.

Continue your reading around this subject

Introducing a Strategy Execution platform can be difficult in organisations where comfort with traditional strategy tools remain, however, we have a wealth of resource freely available to guide your journey, such as the below:

About the author

Rob Hill is i-nexus’ Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing. With 20+ years of global Cloud enterprise software experience, his passion is delivering genuinely transformational and sustainable solutions which add value by solving real business problems, resulting in delighted customers and companies out-performing their industry.

If you’d like to talk more about your strategic challenges, reach out to him on or connect with Rob on LinkedIn for the latest Strategy Execution insights.