The year is not quite over and with the acquisition of StarLIMS by Abbott, we see that it’s never too late in the year for something to happen. Between that and the merger/acquisition of LabVantage and SQL*LIMS earlier in the year, that’s already quite a lot of news for one year among the laboratory informatics software vendors.

There’s lots of news among other software vendors that we never hear about because the press releases usually come from the largest vendors. Unfortunately, this year, I suspect their news is that some of them will be going out of business. As I talk to other consultants and a number of the small software vendors, it’s a mixed bag. The economy has hit companies hard, as you’d imagine. Some have found unique ways to survive, and others survive more because they’ve been around long-enough that they have saved capitol to hold them over or have other ways to keep the company going in bad times. Then, there are some that seem to be doing well despite it all. Possibility they’re positioned in a way that allows that, or have a unique piece of software coming out at just the right time, or some other reason they can do well in a bad economy.

As for the consulting end of our business, it’s hard to tell how the companies are doing. Among the smaller consulting firms, it appears (not based on numbers, remember, just by the people I’ve spoken with) that most consultants are working on projects and have time left with their work before moving along to other projects. But for those that don’t have a project, it seems to be taking them much longer than usual to find new customers, and many of those without projects don’t quite know where to turn to change this.

As there are many of us calling and e-mailing each other around this time of year, sometimes trying to catch-up with each other, other times trying to make new contacts, we’re having quite a lot of these conversations about the economy. As we ponder whether it will improve or not, in the end, it’s all just talk – none of us have any idea and we just hope for an improvement.

Regardless the economy, things are very busy for most people, right now. As many people in the US are getting ready to take a couple weeks off from work, they’re scrambling to finish things in their office or lab before doing so. With everyone so busy, to begin with, as everyone is working leaner, these days, this is an especially tough task for them.

I don’t know that I’ll blog, again, in 2009, as I find myself scrambling to finish last-minute things in my office AND to enjoy the holidays. So, as I look back at the year, it’s been a year that has brought new experiences for me and new opportunities for my business but it’s definitely been a challenging business year. I realize my business is one of the lucky ones as I know I will still have a business going into 2010.

Gloria Metrick
GeoMetrick Enterprises

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