People Analytics Platform: Buy or Build?

By: Ralf Bovers

Buying a People Analytics Platform

The use of people analytics in an organization often grows out of one simple request. What starts as a small “data project” blossoms into a much bigger need. Along the way, your organization faces the question: Do we keep building this technology internally or do we buy an outside solution? The answer depends on what stage you are in.


Here’s a typical scenario: Your leadership team is preparing for the quarterly board meeting and asks HR to create a report on the most important workforce metrics. They don’t realize that this is easier said than done — your HR system doesn’t provide this data with a click. So, you and a data analyst colleague get to work. You pull data from your HR system and other sources. Using tools like Power BI or Tableau you create a professional-looking dashboard that answers the board’s business questions. Congratulations, you’ve created the company’s first people analytics technology.

Too Much Success?

Chances are, your successful first dashboard results in more requests from management: Can you show us last year’s turnover by business unit? What about the cost per hire for the finance function? Can we drill down to the employee level? Soon, the requests become harder to fulfill, some data is missing, and perhaps your reporting accuracy gets called into question. Your once-simple dashboard gets messy and hard to understand. At some point, it’s simply no longer sustainable with the current resources the company is putting into it.

Productizing People Analytics

So, what comes next? For the follow-on stage of growth — to scale your organization’s people analytics capabilities for long-term success – you need to begin to shift the focus from “project” to “product”. This means productizing people analytics into a scalable tool that can be used by internal stakeholders throughout the company.

Start by understanding the limitations of your homegrown dashboards. Asking these questions will help:

Then, consider the entire range of human resources your organization will need in order to scale your model and get a return on investment: architects, infrastructure specialists, dev ops, quality control, engineers, UI/UX, product managers, and adoption specialists.

When buying make sense

When your company reaches the productizing stage with people analytics, it is difficult to justify the expense of building versus buying. Building a user-friendly platform that works with existing HR data to provide reliable insights takes years and a huge investment (Crunchr’s platform took six years to develop). Yet, your company needs these insights now. That’s why buying is nearly always the best way forward.

Here are just a few of the benefits of buying a platform solution, using Crunchr as an example:

Our Recommendations

If your company is new to using people analytics, the ‘buy’ option can rapidly take you from 0 to 100. Instead of spending years building only one or two dashboards, you can access hundreds of out-of-the-box metrics and visualizations in as little as a few weeks. More people can access people insights in a shorter time, demonstrating HR’s value as a center within the organization.

If you have been building dashboards for a significant period, your model often becomes unsustainable – reaching a stage where it struggles to handle complex requests. This is also a signal that it’s time to invest in a tool that can scale with your company’s increasing demand for data-driven decision-making.

Book a Demo

Crunchr helps organizations around the world gain insights into how their workforce works. We strongly believe that these insights are necessary to navigate today’s business challenges and the future of work.

That is why we empower people analysts, HR and leadership to anticipate trends, design better people strategies and contribute to a healthy, working environment.

Want more information, a quick tour of our solutions or to see a full demo? Leave your query here and one of our team members will be in contact with you as soon as possible.