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Choosing between DIY and Cognite Data Fusion®: The best path to Industrial DataOps

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Creating an industrial data foundation to generate business value is the core principle of an emerging field known as Industrial DataOps. To deliver Industrial DataOps, the choice between Do-It-Yourself (DIY) or buying DataOps out-of-the-box from Cognite might be one of the most critical and strategic decisions an organization will have to make. 


Figure description: Value comparison strongly favors Cognite Data Fusion

Across Cognite’s customers we have seen that the Net Present Value (NPV) over a 5-year period for implementing Cognite’s DataOps solution, Cognite Data Fusion (“CDF”), can be almost 4x times higher compared to DIY, underscoring the significant financial benefits of adopting an out-of-the-box solution. 

A full scale enterprise-wide DataOps foundation has the potential to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in NPV, with Cognite customers achieving up to $300-500m in value.

In this blog post, we will explore why Cognite Data Fusion is emerging as the preferred option for organizations, offering efficiency, scalability, expertise, and reduced execution risk. We will also discuss the benefits of a hybrid DIY + Cognite Data Fusion approach as a viable alternative.

Three Key Factors for DIY vs. Cognite Data Fusion Decision-making:


Figure description: Choosing DIY or to deploy Cognite Data Fusion is a complex decision across a range of vectors.

Time to Value. In today's rapidly changing market, time is of the essence. By deploying an out-of-the-box solution, companies can gain a significant advantage over their competitors, achieving value in a shorter time frame. In fact, companies that have tried to first do DIY have found that the time for any significant progress can be up to 18 to 24 months.

Scalability. To generate meaningful value, scaling up DataOps efforts across the entire enterprise is crucial. While early wins from DIY innovations are important, true business value is only realized when use cases are successfully scaled across multiple sites and business units. 

Maintainability. The initial investment in building a DataOps platform is just the beginning. Ongoing support and maintenance of a solid foundation can become a significant burden. Modern DataOps requires a wide range of ever-evolving capabilities, which can be challenging to maintain as a single enterprise.

When DIY is the Right Choice

In certain scenarios, choosing a DIY approach can be justified, especially in the early phases of emerging technology markets where SaaS vendors may be too small and lacking maturity. However, embarking on a DIY journey is suitable only for organizations with well-resourced IT teams and a high tolerance for risk. However, scaling an IT organization up and down, including hiring and firing talented individuals, can be challenging, especially in a tight labor market. Building a high-performing team takes time and effort, with no guarantee of success within the imagined timeline.

Vendor lock-in is another common concern among organizations considering out-of-the-box solutions. DIY offers the opportunity to create a fully customized, enterprise-grade solution that aligns precisely with an organization's requirements. Although, there is no guarantee that a DIY approach won't also be impacted by capabilities or services a hyperscaler (Azure, AWS and Google Cloud) might also decide to sunset.


Why Cognite Data Fusion is Emerging as the Preferred Enterprise Choice

Efficiency and Time-to-Value. Time is of the essence in today's fast-paced business environment. Cognite Data Fusion provides a ready-to-use, out-of-the-box solution with the key capabilities needed for a modern DataOps solution. These include key components such as Cognite’s ability to provide a complete solution with interactive-level user experience along with an open stable API for the unique Industrial Knowledge Graph that combines the semantic context and the industrial data persisted together. These are examples of the sort of things that cannot be easily done with DIY. Leveraging the technical and domain expertise of Cognite enables organizations to gain a competitive advantage, accelerate time-to-value, and stay ahead in the market. 

Scaling and Adaptability. Scaling DataOps efforts across the enterprise is crucial for generating meaningful value. Cognite Data Fusion is designed with scalability in mind, seamlessly accommodating increased data volumes, supporting new sites or business units, and adapting to changing market dynamics. By choosing Cognite Data Fusion, organizations can scale their DataOps initiatives efficiently and meet growing data needs from the business side of the organization. Cognite Data Fusion has automated ways to execute previously manual workflows, such as data contextualization and data modeling as well as has prebuilt data extractors for common industrial sources and AI and ML capabilities to accelerate the process of building the data foundation.

Access to Expertise. Building and maintaining a high-performing IT team can be a challenge. By relying on Cognite’s deep technical and domain knowledge, organizations can tap into the latest best practices, benefit from ongoing support and updates, and ensure their DataOps foundation remains at the forefront of industry standards. Companies should make sure that their SaaS partners have both domain expertise and data expertise in order to deliver ROI on foundational investments.

Interoperability and Complementarity. Cognite Data Fusion promotes interoperability and complementarity, enabling seamless integration with existing systems, tools, and technologies. This holistic approach to data management enhances collaboration and allows organizations to leverage their current technology stack while maximizing the potential of their data assets. Cognite is committed to openness with fully open, well-documented APIs and SDK so all users and partners have governed access to relevant data.


A Hybrid DIY+SaaS Approach Might be the Best of Both Worlds

While Cognite Data Fusion in itself offers numerous advantages, a hybrid DIY + Cognite Data Fusion approach may be an attractive strategic option for organizations seeking the best of both worlds. This approach allows organizations to leverage the customization and control of DIY where necessary, while still benefiting from the efficiency, scalability, and expertise of an out-of-the-box solution.

Total Cost of Ownership and Execution Risk. While DIY may seem cost-effective initially, long-term financial implications must be considered. Cognite Data Fusion offers a flexible pricing model, eliminating the need for large upfront investments and aligning costs with actual usage. Additionally, partnering with Cognite mitigates execution risks by providing a reliable DataOps platform that is proven across industries and use cases. 

When evaluating the DIY vs. Cognite Data Fusion decision, the total cost of ownership (TCO) should be a key consideration. Studies have shown that the Net Present Value (NPV) over a 5-year period for Cognite Data Fusion can be up to 4x times higher compared to DIY, underscoring the significant financial benefits of adopting Cognite Data Fusion. This significant difference in value should make organizations seriously consider at least a hybrid DIY + Cognite Data Fusion approach.

Moreover, a pure cost comparison analysis fails to account for the execution risk involved in DIY projects. The inherent complexities and uncertainties can lead to delays in deploying valuable use cases and significant cost overruns. Partnering with Cognite provides a predictable and structured approach, minimizing the risks associated with execution.


Figure description: The long and complex journey of DIY is underestimated and carries considerable risk


When it comes to building a future-ready DataOps foundation, the choice is clear: Cognite Data Fusion reigns supreme with clear ROI compared to DIY that can often be mired in long execution timelines. Forward leaning companies should not miss out on the significant financial benefits and competitive edge that Cognite Data Fusion brings, with efficiency, scalability, expertise, and reduced risks, Cognite empowers organizations to rapidly deploy a reliable DataOps foundation, drive innovation, and conquer the digital landscape. The time for transformation is now!

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