Do we have the required technical capabilities in-house?
If an AI project is deemed to be strategic, the last major question to ask is whether the organization has the internal capabilities to deliver it. If the answer is yes, developing internally will usually make sense. There could, however, be a case for using a vendor solution or partnering if speed is of the essence and mobilizing existing internal resources will take too long. In such situations acquiring a start-up with the right solution and ready-made capabilities could also be a good option.
If the capabilities are not on hand, the question then becomes whether to develop them internally, buy an off-the-shelf solution or use a specialist partner to help develop the project. Given that top AI talent is highly sought after—many organizations have trouble attracting and affording the right people—buying or partnering becomes an attractive option for many firms.
A hybrid approach is also possible, in which the company can draw on partners and/or buy off-the-shelf components (to ensure better results in shorter time with lower risk) while simultaneously developing a capability that can take on more of the heavy lifting on future projects.
In all cases, though, companies should always make sure that they are not reinventing something that’s commoditized and available at reasonable cost in the marketplace.