In the last post, I wrote about one reason why customers don’t switch services vendors. In one of the comments to that post, the idea of responsibility came up and that is what I’m going to blog about, today.

 Who is Responsible For Your Project?
Some customers are quite knowledgeable about LIMS, ELN and the other products available to them in our laboratory informatics industry. Additionally, some are also knowledgeable about how to manage a successful project. Not all customers have these areas of expertise covered, though, and will then look to the outside world either for a new internal hire to cover that knowledge gap or to buy that in their services.

Thus, I do sometimes hear customers ask that companies come in and merely take the entire project over, where some services company will come in and run the entire project for the customer, where the customer need do nothing but make their internal resources available for questions and assistance.

Does This Work?
Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t. If you’re buying something as large as these LIMS and ELN projects as one large purchase, it’s a huge thing to buy. There are many components to it, including finding all the right people at the right time to pull it off. Some of the services companies have enough people lined-up to manage to accomplish these types of projects on-time, but others don’t. Some will take these projects with the hope that they’ll find all the right people in-time. After all, being such a large sale, few companies want to let it go for lack of a handful of people.

However, among all the companies that claim that they can pull-off these types of projects, only some of them truly can do it. And, among those, even fewer can do it and be truly successful.

How do You Pick Among Them?
Some of the companies can give true and illustrative examples about what they have done for other customers. However, some of the case studies and white papers you’ll be given from those companies that will label just about anything a success will be over-optimistic. Then, there are other companies that stretch the truth to the point where it’s merely a lie.

If you know nothing about running a project, LIMS, ELN or whichever other products are involved, it’s hard to know which one to pick. In the end, if you make a bad choice, you’re merely throwing away quite a lot of money, possibly even putting your own job on the line.

Who is Ultimately Responsible?
It’s still you, the person that picked the services vendor. Whether they’re successful with the project or not, when you make the selection and the committment, the buck stops with you. I’m not saying this to scare you I’m saying this because, even here in 2014 when we think we know how to run a project, it’s amazing how many failures and incomplete projects take place. As suggested in the comment to my previous post, you need to plan for failure. For one, make sure you have clear ways to get out of the contract if things aren’t going as planned and set time limits that are written-down and signed-off.

Gloria Metrick
GeoMetrick Enterprises