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Nobody Can Do it All

February 10, 2016

I’ve said this before, but no-one can do everything. I’m no exception.

You Build Your Expertise, Regardless the Size of Your Services Company
For many years, I’ve been working with the Thermo Fisher Scientific SampleManager LIMS and the LabWare LIMS / ELN. Additionally, last year, I talked about some of the new systems I was learning. By no stretch of the imagination did I mean to suggest that I would ever become an expert in all those systems.

It’s hard to believe I’ve been working with the LabWare system for 20 years and the SampleManager product even longer. With all the customers I’ve worked with and the fact that I’ve worked with so many of the modules and packages for each of these products, it’s actually kind of easy to now be an expert in many of those areas. Still, it’s not possible to be an expert in EVERY area of each of those systems. With all that said, I think it’s important to retain as much of one’s expertise as possible and I hope to be able to continue to work in at least one of these systems, as this past knowledge is like an investment that I hate to part with.

You Look Ahead for New Opportunities, Regardless the Size of Your Services Company
All that aside, you have to build new skills into your services offerings to survive over the long term. Last year, while it was interesting learning some new systems, it won’t be possible to build an expertise in each of them. I enjoyed that Autoscribe gave me the opportunity to learn their Matrix Gemini LIMS and it seems like a configurable system to use. Not having implemented it, I can’t say more than that about it because, as you’ve guessed, I’m no expert in it.

Additionally, I just love the BINOCS software for resource capacity planning. While I haven’t done any work with it, it seems to be such a powerful tool for resource capacity planning in order to make better business decisions on resources, including but not limited to people and instruments. Of course, I’m still disappointed that I wasn’t able to sell this to some customers so that I could get my hands in there and try out implementing it but, as many of you probably know, I’m not much of a sales person. Still, while I’m no expert on that system, I’m still hoping to get some opportunities to get involved with this.

In an entirely different situation, IVUS and I are working out how to create expertise. The question comes down to how one can create expertise with people who are new to a system.With lots of industry expertise, when I learn a system new to me and learn it well, I’m “something” of an expert. Am I truly an expert? It’s hard to say. Some systems are easier to claim expertise in than others. Considering that the main job is to get customers implemented in a way that meets their requirements, I’m certainly an expert in that, for one.

As for creating databases and other resources in places like the Azure cloud services, I’m absolutely no expert in that, even if I can manage to get it done.

My Point is That It’s no Different For Any Non-Vendor Services Group
Except for the services groups run by the software vendors, themselves, all the rest of us, large or small, have to keep an eye out for new opportunities. Here, I’ve talked openly about my own expertise within my own company and the fact that I’m not claiming I can do it all which is definitely not possible. It’s also not possible for anyone larger than me. Notice that the bigger companies don’t tend to claim they can do it all. If you run into someone who claims to be “all things to all customers” and companies that claim this do exist, but you can give them the raspberry because they’ve deluded themselves into this – it’s not real!

Gloria Metrick
GeoMetrick Enterprises
http://www.GeoMetrick.com/

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 15, 2016 11:13 pm

    I disagree with the suggestion that there are not firms out there that can provide all aspects and services in Lab Informatics. There are businesses that built entire industries and transformed this country. Take a look at Kaiser Steel that virtually formed the health insurance industry. Bechtel Engineering that has built some of the greatest public works projects on earth. Standard Oil built out the entire oil industry we see and use to this day. Lab Informatics is dinky by comparison and child’s play for the mega IT consulting shops that service dozens of industries with project dollar volumes that range in the billions per year.

    A company can do it all and do it well if it has a mind to and there is an economic benefit. It is a function of staffing with skilled professionals and a management structure that is scalable. There is nothing magical about LI but there is an economic constraint. If the profits and volume of business are not sufficient, then there is not a sufficient market for the mega companies to pursue. This fact alone probably best explains the current state of the LI industry. It is niche and very competitive and it kills the opportunities for the mega consulting companies to take it over. What can you say about 300+ LIMS/LI products on the market.

  2. February 16, 2016 9:39 am

    Every once in a while, one of the larger consulting firms tries to get into this market in a bigger way. For example, Accenture on occasion will start looking for someone who can do business development in our industry and build a practice. I’m sure they’re not the only ones, but I’m just using them as an example. However, since they seem to restart this effort every so often, I’m guessing that this might mean that they didn’t succeed previous times or didn’t find it worthwhile and need to begin, again, but I can’t say what the real situation is.

  3. February 16, 2016 1:19 pm

    I think your guess is pretty well spot on. I do not think they succeed because the money is not there. They go after government jobs and those are few and far between and so they make a big push when there is a big bid. I have seen this first hand. They chase the money and in LI, the money is split up between a few hundred vendors.

    Economics is what dictates this market. The skills are there and no one has any technology the other 300 vendors cannot replicate. This is evolving into a mature market with attributes of being a commodity.

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