Chapter 7:

What to Buy vs. Build

What is the most effective way to combine market solutions with our own in-house capabilities?

A Comprehensive Guide for Manufacturers

Use this step-by-step book as your guide to a successful digital manufacturing journey.

We recommend utilizing the power of the market for underlying digital capabilities you don’t already have and can’t develop quickly in-house. It’s critical to assess these realistically. Bear in mind that manufacturing data comes in huge volumes from thousands of sources and in diverse formats, and needs to be harmonized and integrated into usable form. Because of these unique data complexities, packaged solutions created for multiple industries — that is, not purpose- built for manufacturing — are of nominal usefulness.

manufacturing analytics solution

Let’s examine what’s available in the market for the essential components of an end-to-end manufacturing analytics solution:

Machine /IoT Data Acquisition

The marketplace offers capable tools from multiple vendors.  

Data Preparation and Blending

Commercial solutions are available but must be evaluated carefully, as some are not a good fit for the dynamics of manufacturing data, as explained above.

Contextualization/Data Modeling of Production Interdependencies and Relationships (creating a digital twin of your entire manufacturing process)

To our knowledge, the market offers a single manufacturing-specific solution designed to handle the job comprehensively and at scale, powered by AI, machine learning, and sophisticated analytics techniques. This platform was built and refined over a period of years, drawing on highly specialized software development capabilities that would be impractical for most manufacturers to acquire in-house.

Analytics Algorithms

This is the domain in which to leverage your in-house expertise and understanding of your own production dynamics. Building on the data modeling platform alluded to above, your in-house team can integrate custom analytics and algorithms targeted against your specific objectives. This unique blend of unified data platform plus internal knowhow will deliver rapid, unprecedented value and impact.

Analytics Algorithms


As with data acquisition, the market offers a selection of capable solutions in this area.

Operationalization/Integrating Output into Workflows

Here too, a number of serviceable packages are available for these functions.

Take advantage of manufacturing-specific market innovations that are flexible enough to seamlessly incorporate your in-house expertise.