Bioinformatics data analysis: hire someone, outsource it or buy a software?
Buying software solutions for genomic data analysis is not the ideal solution if you are conducting an extensive research project. Buy a software only if you have an in-house bioinformatics expert and he/she instructs you to do so. A software usually has limited usability and is only fit for single purposes. It is very rare that you can use a bioinformatics software tool to solve your unique problems without any modification of the programming behind it.
In general, the early phase of bioinformatics analysis is more standardizable and hence, there are software solutions available for these stages in the market. For ‘make sense’ data analysis in the later phases, you will need a bioinformatics team in-house or you will have to outsource these tasks. In terms of cost, both solutions are expensive. The decision is highly influenced by your financial possibilities e.g. scientific research groups run by government grants usually prefer to hire someone rather than outsourcing a research task.
We suggest that if your needs are unbalanced or the project contains repeated, automatable steps, then outsourcing is the right choice. If the demand for bioinformatics is continuous and the tasks need frequent consultation, then an in-house bioinformatician is the best solution. For collaborative research projects, you definitely need to have an independent, professional bioinformatics service provider since coordinating the operations of more academic bioinformatics groups is a huge challenge. These groups use their own unstandardized software solutions, workflows and methods and due to incompatibility of these solutions, the results might not be comparable.