Explore the key considerations when deciding to build or buy your Business Intelligence solution, guiding effective decision-making in a data-driven landscape.

National Governing Bodies (NGBs) looking to implement a new Business Intelligence (BI) solution often face a crucial decision: whether to develop their own solution in-house or procure technology from a proven supplier.

It is a choice that can significantly influence organisational effectiveness, growth, and the ability to navigate an increasingly complex data landscape.

In this article, we analyse the key considerations in this decision-making process, applying the insights from our previous article, ‘Revealing the Hidden Costs of 'Free' Software for National Governing Bodies’, and focusing on the specific needs and challenges faced by NGBs when it comes to implementing BI solutions.

Speed of Deployment

For NGBs, it is critical to have a BI solution that can provide real-time insights to support decisions related to membership, events, governance, and more. Although building a custom solution offers a high degree of flexibility, and enables the creation of a system which aligns with your NGB's unique needs, this approach can often demand an extended development period. Ultimately, this might delay your ability to harness the power of data.

On the other hand, investing in a third-party solution can significantly expedite deployment. Pre-configured solutions can often be tailored to the unique needs of NGBs, allowing for rapid integration into existing operations. This streamlined process means that NGBs can more quickly embrace data-driven decision-making and benefit from real-time insights.

In-House Expertise

Consider the expertise available within your NGB. Building a BI solution from scratch requires a team with specialised skills in data analysis, software development, and database management. The specialised nature of these roles makes them difficult to fill, and additionally, retaining such talent can be a significant challenge, not to mention expensive.

Alternatively, opting to purchase a BI solution that is tailored to your NGB significantly reduces the need for extensive in-house expertise. These solutions are user-friendly and specifically designed to empower existing staff to become proficient in BI, focusing on data analysis and interpretation rather than complex system development.


Customisation is a significant advantage in the world of NGBs. Each NGB has its unique requirements for managing memberships, competitions, and governance, and building your solution from scratch offers complete control over configurability.

However, that doesn’t mean that purchased solutions are entirely devoid of customisation. For example, many allow you to customise dashboard views, graphical representations, and reports to align with your goals and objectives, allowing your organisation to focus on specific data points. Many also provide the ability to integrate with other systems and tools, creating a cohesive and unique ecosystem to streamline your data analysis efforts. This balance between customisation and pre-configured features ensures that your BI solution is seamlessly integrated into your NGB's operations.


Cost considerations are naturally significant, particularly for NGBs who often operate within limited budgets. Building a BI solution from the ground up can lead to increased costs, driven by extended development time, a requirement for employing specialised personnel, ongoing maintenance, and more.

In contrast, purchasing a tailored BI solution for NGBs offers cost predictability. You usually have a clear understanding of the pricing structure and maintenance costs and can plan your budget effectively. Although it may not initially seem more cost-effective to build a BI solution of your own, unexpected costs can soon add up. By purchasing a ready-made solution, your NGB is able to funnel more time and resources into higher-value areas such as membership growth, event optimisation, and effective governance.

Find out more about the ‘Total Cost of Ownership’ (TCO) concept.

Balancing the Pros and Cons

As an NGB, it is vital to consider all of the above when looking to implement a BI solution.

Determining the level of customisation your organisation genuinely requires is vital. Consider your specific goals and needs, ensuring they align with your strategic vision. Keep in mind the unique challenges of the sports industry, such as member management and events administration.

Balancing these needs with potential delays and costs is essential. Building a solution from scratch offers high customisation, but it might come with extended timelines and expenses, whereas purchasing a dedicated solution can strike a balance between customisation and swift implementation.

The key is to ensure that your chosen solution aligns with your NGB's current objectives while allowing room for future scalability. This approach supports organisational development, streamlines operations, and bolsters data-driven decision-making.

Sport:80 Data Visualisation Dashboards: A Prime Example of the 'Buy' Advantage

Our data visualisation dashboards, developed in partnership with Panintelligence, are an excellent example of why 'buying' can be the preferred choice to building a solution from scratch.

Our dashboards provide NGBs with a comprehensive solution for deriving invaluable insights from their data. NGBs are able to reap the rewards of swift deployment, reduced dependence on in-house expertise, and immediate configurability. They enable users without extensive technical knowledge to efficiently harness the power of data, providing real-time information and making it easy to spot visual trends and patterns.

By choosing to invest in our proven technology, NGBs can reallocate their resources towards strategic growth and development, rather than funnelling them into an extensive system development process. This showcases how making the right 'buy' decision can lead to powerful results and revolutionise the way organisations operate in an increasingly data-centric world.

Find out more about how we are supporting NGBs to harness the full potential of their data.

Navigating the intricate world of data-driven decision-making requires a well-thought-out BI solution. Whether your NGB chooses to build or buy, the most critical aspect is that your decision aligns with your strategic vision, empowers your NGB to excel, and furthers the development of sports in your community.

Find out how we can help you by getting in touch.