As I occasionally like to do, today, I’m going to write this post based on a search phrase that someone used to find this blog. The phrase is “learning labware lims.”

First of all, I don’t want to comment on just the LabWare LIMS, but any complex software product. It could be another LIMS, an ELN, or even something like SAP (enterprise software). Whenever we start using these extremely complex software products, we run into exactly the same problem, which is that they’re difficult to learn and to keep up with.

A few minutes ago, I was reading a post to one of the discussion groups from a LabWare LIMS user stating that their upgrade issues weren’t well-documented and that the consultants sent to them didn’t even seem to know of the issues. For a company trying to implement or upgrade a system, these are the pitfalls they often run into:

1. Bringing in consultants from the software vendor or their partners doesn’t guarantee any level of knowledge in the people sent to do the work.

2. Acquiring people who are certified doesn’t guarantee any level of expertise and, in fact, many junior people who have never done an implementation nor used the software can get certified in many of the software packages that offer certifications. Certification is merely a marketing tool to help brand certain people who software vendors deem as being potential sources of income for them.

3. Regardless how much information is available on various implementation and upgrade topics, there is no guarantee that all the information is available.

4. Regardless how much information is available on various implementation and upgrade topics, there is no guarantee that the consultants sent to a project understand those topics well-enough to know how to find the right information.

5. Regardless of the fact that a customer selects all consultants from the same general place, that doesn’t mean that those people will work together as a team or that they’ll talk to others coming from the same place. So, if you have your software vendor send out all their own people, it doesn’t mean those people are going to talk to others to get help on what they’re doing.

The thing that’s most amazing about all this is that, customers who sceptically view car commercials on television and who don’t believe the ads they see from the automobile market are often the same people who blindly believe the marketing they get on the laboratory informatics side of things, believing that whomever they pick to deliver their services aren’t just there to make as much money as humanly possible before abandoning them and moving on to the next money source. As has been by the law said for our lifetimes (here in the United States, at least), caveat emptor (buyer beware). Some services groups openly operate entirely on this legal principle, while others do actually care whether they deliver value to you. If the buyer doesn’t care enough to try to sort out who is who, there is no-one else who can do it.

Gloria Metrick
GeoMetrick Enterprises