5-minute read

Quick summary: Customization partnerships blend the efficiency of pre-built platforms with tailored modifications, offering a cost-effective, agile solution to the “build vs. buy” dilemma in enterprise software.

When the need arises for a new enterprise software solution, decision makers often face the classic conundrum of “build vs. buy”: the choice between developing a custom in-house application and investing in commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software. The “build” option offers the ability to design and develop a solution tailored to meet specific business needs and to integrate seamlessly with existing infrastructure. Choosing to purchase a COTS solution offers the advantages of immediate availability and a lower need for development time and resources.

The benefits of each approach are undeniable—and so are the harsh realities. In-house software development can be a lengthy, costly process and places the onus of ongoing maintenance on the IT team. Off-the-shelf options may require significant resources to integrate with existing systems and to ensure compliance with industry-specific requirements and regulations.

There is, however, a third path with the potential to deliver the best of both worlds: customization partnerships. This innovative approach combines cost efficiency, flexibility, and fast implementation, making it an attractive alternative to the traditional “build vs. buy” dilemma. In this article, we’ll explore how customization partnerships can solve the age-old conundrum and dive into the real-world success story of how Optelos’ and Logic20/20’s partnership is enabling new possibilities in utility asset image analytics.

Why customization partnerships?

With customization partnerships, businesses save themselves from having to re-invent the wheel by taking advantage of an already-built, tested, and proven platform—while also tapping into the specialized expertise needed to modify and extend functionalities according to the specific requirements of their organization, their architecture, and their data flows. This approach bridges the gap between out-of-the-box solutions and fully custom-built software to create a precise fit in a cost- and time-efficient manner.

Specific advantages of customization partnerships include:

Cost effectiveness

The business avoids the investment of time and resources required for building custom software from the ground up. By leveraging the partner’s proven expertise in working with the COTS platform, they also avoid the cost of hiring in and/or retraining existing personnel to make the necessary modifications and integrate the application into their IT ecosystem.

Flexibility and scalability

One of the largest costs and hassles of custom-built software is the need to handle ongoing updates and maintenance. In a customization partnership framework, the COTS provider handles upgrades to the platform, while partners can be brought back in as needed to ensure the application remains functional and effective amid evolving business needs.

Speed of implementation

Developing software in-house can be a lengthy process, and unforeseen delays tend to be the rule rather than the exception. With a pre-built COTS solution, the application can get up and running in a fraction of the time, enabling the business to take advantage of market opportunities and gain a competitive advantage.

IT resource optimization

Many IT teams are already stretched to capacity, so undertaking an extensive software development project in-house is not always feasible. In a customization partnership scenario, the COTS provider has already done the development work, and partners can devote the time and expertise needed to ensure successful implementation and integration—leaving the in-house IT team free to focus on their core job duties.

Platform evolution and maturation

Adopting a COTS platform enables the business to benefit from the experience of users in other organizations. The software is constantly evolving through implementation of new feature requests from early-adopter customers who are on the same journey of automating asset inspections.

Vision for a broader program

Customization partners can look beyond COTS implementation and work with the organization to envision how the new software supports their long-term strategies. Partners facilitate strategic planning sessions that help integrate the software into the core operational processes, ensuring that it enhances productivity and aligns with future growth objectives, involving support for strategic roadmaps and change management.

With customization partnerships, businesses save themselves from having to re-invent the wheel by taking advantage of an already-built, tested, and proven platform—while also tapping into the expertise needed to modify and extend functionalities according to their specific requirements.

Laying the groundwork for success

Of course, successful customization partnerships don’t just happen—they require careful selection of both the platform and the customization partner.

Ideal candidates for customizable COTS platforms will be characterized by:

  • Flexibility: Can be modified and extended to meet the business’ specific needs, both present and future
  • Thorough testing: Extensively tested and proven effective in a broad range of scenarios to ensure reliability, stability, and security
  • Desired features: Capable of delivering the core capabilities necessary to achieve business goals, either out-of-the-box or through customization

In choosing the customization partner, businesses will want to look for:

  • Depth of experience: Strong track record in software customization
  • Industry-specific expertise: Extensively tested and proven effective in a broad range of scenarios to ensure reliability, stability, and security
  • Specialized skillsets: Technical skills and specialized knowledge required for the implementation, including expertise in the chosen software platform as well as relevant technologies or methodologies needed for customization

Successful customization partnerships start with careful selection of both the platform and the customization partner.

Success story spotlight: Optelos and Logic20/20

The collaboration between Optelos and Logic20/20 is a compelling example of a successful partnership that enables utilities to apply AI—specifically, computer vision and machine learning—to their asset management programs.

Optelos: The right solution for the job

Optelos, a leading provider of visual data management and analysis software for asset inspection applications, stands out from comparable platforms due to its comprehensive AI infrastructure that supports complex data analysis to enhance accuracy and efficiency. In addition, the platform’s system integrations enable visual inspection data sharing across enterprise systems:

Optelos system integrations
Optelos also offers enhanced collaboration tools, including secure data sharing, integrated file viewers, and customizable job and task management features, which promote enhanced teamwork and efficiency.

Logic20/20: Partners for a customized implementation

With extensive experience in integrating solutions within utility provider environments, Logic20/20 ensures that the Optelos platform meets specific business needs effectively. Our teams develop comprehensive program strategies and manage change to ensure smooth adoption and optimal use of Optelos’ capabilities. Logic20/20 also enhances the functionality and value of the Optelos platform through services such data labeling, AI and analytics, data platform management, and virtual inspection processes. We work with our clients to see the broader picture of how the software is one component of a larger program and to fill any gaps that arise as their vision unfolds.

Optelos and Logic20/20

The partnership between Optelos and Logic20/20 has proven beneficial for utilities seeking to streamline their asset management. By customizing AI models to regional infrastructure variations, the collaboration ensures that solutions are tailored to specific needs, enhancing relevance and effectiveness. Our approach also improves inspection processes and reduces overhead, enabling utility companies to operate more efficiently and cost-effectively.

Benefits of the Optelos+Logic20/20 partnership

The collaboration between Optelos and Logic20/20 highlights several key benefits of customization partnerships. First, it delivers maximum flexibility and customizability by ensuring seamless integration with existing systems via REST APIs and support for various data sources such as drones, satellites, and PTZ cameras. Users enjoy a high level of control over the software, particularly in enhancing model accuracy and adapting features to meet specific needs.

Continuous improvement is another major benefit, as the Optelos platform evolves based on ongoing feedback from a diverse user base, incorporating new use cases and enhancing features over time. This adaptive learning process ensures the software remains relevant and effective.

The Optelos-Logic20/20 partnership delivers maximum flexibility and customizability by ensuring seamless integration with existing systems via REST APIs and support for various data sources such as drones, satellites, and PTZ cameras.

The innovative path to tailored, effective software solutions

As businesses navigate the complexities of modern enterprise software needs, customization partnerships transcend the traditional “build vs. buy” debate to emerge as a compelling solution. By blending the efficiency of COTS platforms with tailored modifications driven by a team of experts, organizations can achieve bespoke solutions without the extensive investment of resources typically required for custom development. This hybrid approach not only accelerates implementation, but also optimizes IT resource allocation, paving the way for more agile and responsive business operations.

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Mark Bauman, VP of Marketing, Optelos

Mark Bauman, Vice President of Marketing at Optelos, joins us as a guest co-author for this post.

Adam Cornille
Adam Cornille is Senior Director of Advanced Analytics at Logic20/20.
Alex Johnson

Alex Johnson is a Machine Learning Architect in Logic20/20’s Advanced Analytics practice.

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