If you’re looking for product reviews, this blog isn’t the place to look. Every once in a while, one person or another will suggest this to be a good task for me to take on in this blog. That’s not likely to happen. Keep reading for more about why that is.
I write about products I work with in the spirit of “write about what you know.” That’s not the same as writing a review. I write about some of the details regarding how the products are used in certain situations or about issues you might run into because I’m the expert in them and sharing some of my knowledge. That’s not the same as reviewing it or comparing it to other products. So, while you do see occasional blog posts that refer to specific products, they’re not meant to review the product.
LIMS, ELN and LES systems are huge. They have a lot of features, as you can imagine. Reviewing even a single one could be fairly time-consuming. Just installing them and getting them running can be a chore, and then there are sometimes supporting architecture issues that have to be met – the installation alone is some amount of work.
Then, to look at all the most common features to compare against other products is time-consuming. Just think how long it takes to create complex objects such as product specifications. Or, in some systems, think how many different objects one has to create in order just to log a sample.
Let’s be optimistic and say you could do it in a week, if you really knew what you were doing. Then, think of this – take ten products at ten total weeks and that’s ten weeks where I wouldn’t have time to do my chargeable work (i.e., the work that keeps me in business). It’s not practical.
Getting Your Hands On them
The other issue about doing a review would be that you have to have a copy of the software to do this with. And, the way to get that would be for the software vendor you give you a licensed copy to use. Most software vendors aren’t going to do this. They want to entirely control what is written about their software and giving away copies for reviews doesn’t fit in with this.
The other option would be to buy copies of the software. First of all, if I started buying a copy of a number of brands of LIMS, ELN and LES software, that would eat up my profits for the year and I have no reason to do that.
On top of that, software vendors aren’t required to sell licenses. Some of them would not even sell a single license as it’s just too much trouble. In addition, some wouldn’t sell the license because they’re not interested in having their product reviewed.
Back to the Issue
The issue is that it’s difficult to compare these systems and that’s why some customers still pay outside consultants such as myself to assist them in the process. I’ve written in other blog posts about how complex this can be. These systems just cost so much money to implement that some customers want to get someone in who can at least help them get started with the process, if not guide them through the entire process.
And, with that, comes the occasional suggestion that it would be nice to have product reviews. But, unlike some of the simpler software packages on the market, or products such as peanut butter that are much simpler to compare, most people don’t have the money or interest in tackling this. It’s not like buying a dozen jars of peanut butter to compare. If you have not yet done so, watch a video where they compare consumer products and you’ll realize that even something as simple as peanut butter takes huge test cases for a real comparison, and that’s just for something with some peanut and maybe some sugar and salt in it. Multiply that by several orders of magnitude and you’ll start to realize what a massive task comparing LIMS, ELNs or LES products would be.