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Ditto for the LabWare LIMS / ELN

October 12, 2016

In my last post, Where Have All the SampleManager Resources Gone?, I talked about the fact that there seems to be quite a few people asking for Thermo Fisher Scientific resources but seemingly not finding them when there are actually resources available in the market. Today, I would say, “Ditto for the LabWare LIMS / ELN.”

What I mean is that, as this product has grown, it has been taken over more and more by larger services groups. I don’t hear from that many consultants who aren’t tied to those larger companies, necessarily, but this product has so many people working with it, now, that it’s probably due to hit its peak number in the coming years, if it’s not now at that number.

This will be the same situation as the Thermo Fisher Scientific SampleManager people where some people will have to get pushed-out of that services arena. Those people will likely be the smaller businesses.

If you’re wondering if I expect to entirely get pushed-out of the LabWare LIMS / ELN market, despite having been working with this product for longer than a tiny handful of people, the answer would be, “Yes.” Seriously, I see the current situation in the US is that customers tend to use the largest companies available to service their projects. That is the current trend.

Now, if customers in other parts of the world who are in a similar economy (i.e., the charge rates are similar) see this as an opportunity to get more options, that could be useful for them. I don’t know what the situation is like in other countries and I will admit that I do spend parts of my days with customers in other parts of the world, where they didn’t find resources in their own country and need another hand on their project. So, I suppose that could be a possibility.

My Point
My point is that we all need a little diversification. In 10 years, will I be working 100% with iVention iLES software (i.e., 0% with LabWare LIMS / ELN)? Who knows. I sure don’t know the future. As such, I will do what I’ve always done, which is to make sure I have a couple options open to my business.

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

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 12, 2016 11:44 am

    Yes, diversification is what is needed. Also, don’t get fooled into thinking you have to be an expert in a particular system. I think your experience lets you work with many different vendor systems. You just have to be willing to go outside your set comfort zone of legacy vendor LIMS.

    Build a relationship with multiple vendors as a consulting resource. Remember there are over 300 LI vendors out there. Yeah, labware and thermo are big but they do not represent even close to the majority of what is going on in the LI world. Their market is actually shrinking as the market is expanding as evidenced by the shear number of new players. Few are leaving the market (except for the large players, like PE) but a bunch are coming into the market.

    The legacy players you have worked with appear to be circling the wagons and holding all the revenue they can get and that means every dollar that goes to you is a dollar that is not going to them. The rest of the LI market is thriving and expanding and they all need freelance consulting help and welcome it. Maybe, indeed, a change is needed.

  2. October 12, 2016 1:16 pm

    There are several aspects small companies and consultants should consider before adding in product expertise, though:

    1. Is the implementation strategy similar to what you’re already doing? If it’s not, can you support products that are too different from each other? Based on your own philosophy, would you rather work on systems that are much alike, so that you’re basically always doing about the same thing, regardless the system so that your company can easily take on any of the projects -or- would you prefer they be entirely different so that you stretch your company’s skillset? For example, if you are working with programming-heavy products such as the LabWare LIMS / ELN, would you be unhappy to switch to a system such as iLES, where it’s just configuration? Or, if doing the opposite, would you be able to handle the additional complexities of more difficult system?

    2. Does the rate structure match your current rate structure? If the rates are much lower in the next product set, will you be satisfied? It’s not JUST about finding new customers but in keeping your billables at a comfortable rate. For example, I had a software vendor that said they would like me to work with their system but wanted to charge my for training AND couldn’t give me any idea what the rate structure was. I considered taking the gamble of taking their training but, in the end, decided that not knowing anything of the rate structure made paying them for their training in order to “suck up” to them and get my foot in the door wasn’t such a great risk. Even if the rates don’t compare to what is currently made, you have to understand the rate structure to compare that with other potential benefits of the deal.

    3. How do you get your foot in the door? I have found that knowing a workflow, such as drug metabolism or chemical, for example, doesn’t help get your foot in the door. It helps if you know the actual product software product (LIMS, ELN, LES, etc…), regardless whether the workflow is the same, strangely. You would think it’s easier to jump products than jump workflows, but I haven’t found that customers find that appealing. Some software vendors actively want more people working with their systems where others, as John mentioned, see every external person working on their system as someone actively taking money from their own mouth. As such, you can’t just decide that a system is “hot” and that there’s a “demand” and go start working with it without some help from that software vendor, in most instances.

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