Consent Management Platform – buy or build yourself?
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Consent Management is both legally and technically very complex and getting more so by the day. There are a few SaaS solutions on the market that address the challenge, but it can also be very tempting to build a tool in-house to ensure your organization’s specific needs are met.
Even companies with the resources to build their own Consent Management Platform (CMP) often decide to use a SaaS solution. What factors make that the right decision for so many organizations?
✔ Shared development costs
Developing software takes time and requires expensive resources. Additionally, the more complex the project, the greater the resource and monetary costs. Time, money and people that are being diverted from your core business. For many smaller organizations, building their own Consent Management tools is just not an option from a financial, labour or expertise standpoint.
Large companies that may have the required budget have to gamble whether in-house development costs would end up being more than purchasing a solution. The real-world issue is that these calculations require juggling risks like delays, errors and security gaps. Any of these can blow the budget – or worse – result in regulatory headaches.
⇨ Working with a SaaS provider shares development costs among thousands of companies. You get the full package, but pay for just a fraction of the solution’s development, maintenance and upgrade costs compared with building an in-house solution.
✔ No maintenance or unexpected follow-up costs
Developing your own platform is a substantial undertaking, but the work and resource requirements don’t end once you launch. Every solution, regardless of how good it is, will have bugs. Every feature, no matter how well researched against user requirements, will have requested changes or improvements.
Who then is responsible for maintaining the platform? Who handles prioritizing, building and deploying new features? Who ensures that it is always up to date with technical developments and security updates, and complies with evolving legal requirements? How do you ensure everything continues to run smoothly if the person in charge of it all leaves that role?
⇨ Instead of ongoing or unexpected development and maintenance costs, which can add up to hundreds of thousands of Euros per year, a SaaS solution offers complete cost control, preventing expensive surprises or unplanned redirection of resources. This is because we are continuously developing and enhancing our software, adding new features and keeping on top of the latest technical and legal developments. It’s all part of our packages, today and well into the future. So you can focus on what you do best.
✔ No opportunity costs
Every company has to make careful and strategic decisions about how to use its technical, financial and human resources. The smaller the company, the savvier they have to be. Though companies know that Consent Management is necessary to their businesses – legally and for building customer relationships with trust – they still have to ask hard questions. How much time and resources should be allocated on a recurring basis to a project that is not part of the company’s core business?
⇨ Being distracted by side projects and priorities means you’re not 100% focused on your core business. But do you know who will be? Your competitors – on leveraging their increased advantage over you and your lagging product offerings and stale customer relationships.
✔ Quick implementation
Realistically, the bigger companies get, the less agile they become. Six months to a couple of years can easily pass between the first discussions about a need for a new software application through development, testing and release. This time frame is simply not feasible where data protection is concerned. Particularly given the speed of regulatory changes and the small windows of time allowed to rectify violations without risk of substantial penalties.
Or what if you finally launch the project and it turns out to already be outdated or to not meet your needs? Then what? Jettison all those sunk costs and spend even more time and money finding a replacement? Not to mention less visible but still damaging costs like management displeasure or the demoralization of the teams that worked so hard to build it, or the ones who needed it deployed a year ago.
⇨ With a SaaS solution like Usercentrics’ you can immediately try out proven, state of the art tools for a fraction of the potential investment.
✔ Fast and efficient professional support
The more demanding your needs for your software tools, the more likely you are to find weak spots, no matter how robustly they’re built or tested. But business doesn’t slow down while you’re getting these problems solved. You need resolutions quickly, especially given the sensitivity of data processing for Consent Management. For example, if consents cannot be saved due to technical complications, they can’t be tracked. In the event of an audit this scenario would be of critical concern.
⇨ Usercentrics’ experienced Customer Success and Tech Teams work closely together at all times to ensure seamless operations and ensure any bugs or errors are quickly and efficiently resolved.
✔ Experience drives best practices
Established Saas providers employ experts in the field, with deep domain knowledge. You gain access to many years of experience that come from meeting the needs and challenges of very diverse businesses. We know the pitfalls, distractions and diversions, and have already solved common problems that can occur, from setup through to reporting.
Before you get started building your own Consent Management Platform in-house, can you say the same? Not to mention anything you build will be designed based on what you need today. Without deep experience, you’re unlikely to know where the technical and regulatory trends are heading, and what you may need in several years.
⇨ We are intimately familiar with the needs and challenges of thousands of businesses. All of our best practice insights flow directly into product development. Every customer benefits from our experience, from the smallest startup to the biggest enterprise. Which means that your customers benefit from our experience, too.
✔ Always legally up to date
Data protection is never “one and done.” Existing laws change, and new ones keep getting passed, making data protection an ongoing work in progress. Even the most skilled data protection officer can struggle to stay up to date at a granular level while still maintaining a big picture perspective over the company’s and customers’ needs.
Thanks to the global nature of online business, no matter where a company is headquartered, those tasked with data protection have to keep up with changes in the European Union, the United Kingdom, Brazil, and the United States – just for starters. Not only must you be familiar with the relevant regulations, the specific requirements of each have to be reflected in your Consent Management Platform in a timely manner.
⇨ Implementation of concrete provisions is ultimately the responsibility of each company and/or its data protection officer or legal department. So Usercentrics does not offer legal advice. However, we ensure that our CMP is always up to date, and we are always here for you regarding any questions about legal changes, their potential impact on your business, or their implementation in the CMP. We are vigilant about legal and technical developments, and build useful features in advance so that you can make appropriate changes to your CMP quickly, easily, and customized to your business needs.
✔ Access to expert knowledge and reporting
Investment in a SaaS solution not only gives you access to software but also the technical and legal know-how to use it optimally. This is especially valuable when working toward compliance through Consent Management.
⇨ With every Usercentrics CMP package our customers receive access to our comprehensive database of legal texts. This covers more than 1,000 technologies and contains all legally relevant information, such as scope, purpose, place and duration of processing, in addition to data processing services. The database is regularly updated by our specialized team. We also consult with and guide our customers with opt-in optimization, offer opportunities to conduct targeted A/B testing, and provide regular performance reports.
✔ Support of industry standards
In addition to legal and regulatory requirements, new industry standards such as the IAB’s TCF 2.0 will play an even greater role in the future. A good Consent Management solution must be capable of technically supporting these complex standards.
In the case of TCF 2.0, this means that in the future, running personalized advertising will only be permitted via technology providers who have committed themselves to the framework, and when a sound legal basis can be reliably ascertained. This will have to be transmitted in the form of a special consent ID, the IAB Transparency & Consent String (TC String), which can only be created by an IAB-certified Consent Management tool.
⇨ We can speculate about the relevance and direction industry standards in the future. But what is certain now is that advertisers must be prepared for all eventualities in order to protect their advertising revenues and the trust of customer relationships. Usercentrics’ CMP is certified by the IAB, so it’s a wise choice.
✔ Audit-proof data storage and documentation
A Consent Management solution not only fulfils the task of obtaining and managing consent, but also seamlessly documents it. Should you receive a warning or an audit by a data protection authority, website operators must be able to present the consent history of their users, per the GDPR.
Various data points need to be recorded, e.g. time stamp, user agent, or the version of the consent text. Placed URL calls should also be logged in order to prove that no cookies were run before consent was obtained.
⇨ Sensitive personal data requires special protection. The Usercentrics CMP saves and manages user consents in an audit-proof manner and to the highest data protection standards. Additionally, we also guarantee the strict separation of consent data from other business data through our CMP.
Conclusion: build vs. buy
The idea of building your own tools in house is attractive. You have so much more control – over costs, over features, over everything. But do you, really? Every software development project has risks, and it’s weighing those risks that keeps development managers up at night. Of course, development is only one piece of it. Who will ensure maintenance, and how regularly? Who will ensure constant vigilance to maintain legal compliance? How much of a drain would the project be on core business operations?
Some companies may be big enough and experienced enough to balance all of these considerations at scale. But far more widely, a less risky, more efficient and cost effective SaaS solution is proven, stable, up to date, and provides peace of mind for regulatory compliance, robust support and transparent cost structure.
⇨ At Usercentrics, every day we work with more than 60 experts from the legal, tech and customer success teams to continuously develop and optimize our Consent Management Platform (CMP). We have been supporting large enterprises, small to medium-size companies and the earliest startups for over two years in achieving GDPR compliance and understanding the complexities of data protection more broadly. Benefit from our expertise, place the complexities of Consent Management in our hands and use your valuable time and resources for what you do best – your core business.
To find out how to pick the right Consent Management Platform for your company, download our Buyer’s Guide: Consent Management Platform.