Is your LIMS project truly a success even if it was on-time, within budget and met the requirements if no one ends up using it? The answer is an emphatic NO! If the laboratory personnel and managers have not adopted the new LIMS and are not fully utilizing it, then the project was actually a failure.
In the first part of this blog, Without Adoption there is No Success – Part 1, we went over several best practices that should be followed to facilitate attaining high levels of system adoption and utilization. These included: Involvement, Communication, Balanced Phases, and Customized Training. Now we will continue with best practices from the point of going live with your new LIMS and then beyond.
Best Practice 5 – Go-Live Support
The fifth best practice for attaining high levels of system adoption and utilization is to offer complete and extensive Go-Live Support. Go-live is crunch time for attaining true success with your LIMS project. The users will finally get their hands fully on the production LIMS. They will be ready and eager to use it. They will be trained and excited. And they will inevitably run into a snag! How they are supported at this critical junction will make or break your project’s success. Best practices dictate that you need to have LIMS experts available to help with any issues that arise. Your experts need to be on-site and they will need to jump in and offer guidance and one-on-one help as needed. If not, the users will quickly come to the conclusion that the system is no good and they will go back to whatever they used before.
Some key points here that need to be emphasized are that these resources need to be LIMS experts, on-site, and available. The LIMS expert is not just the local super user who has had training; they need to be a true LIMS expert that can go deep and wide with the LIMS to diagnose and remedy an issue as it occurs.
The LIMS expert also needs to be on-site, not reachable via the phone or I.M. Nothing beats a physical person in your lab or office helping you with an issue you are having.
Lastly, the LIMS expert needs to be available. During the go-live period this should be their primary responsibility, not just a “get to it when you can” assignment. All of this may seem costly but is really priceless for attaining high adoption and utilization rates.
Best Practice 6 – Retire Old Systems
Now that the new LIMS is up and running and your users appear happy, you may believe you have accomplished your goals and your project can be counted as a success. Well, you are close but another best practice for attaining true project success and attaining high levels of system adoption and utilization is retiring all old systems that were being utilized prior to the implementation of the LIMS. This includes any of those “personal” spreadsheets and databases, even if they are on the scientist’s stand-alone computer or some memory stick somewhere. Retiring old system also includes legacy paper worksheets, calibration logs, inventory sheets, etc.
Getting the scientists, technicians and managers to agree to the retirement of these legacy tools (aka crutches) is a critical step in attaining high levels of system adoption and utilization and maintaining those levels. People are often reluctant to change and by removing these legacy systems you will remove the possibility that your users will continue to use their old systems while “going through the motions” with the new LIMS. If your legacy systems are not retired it can cause a decrease in your operation’s efficiency and effectiveness and will also mean that these users will never truly realize the benefits that the new LIMS will offer. [Tweet This]
Best Practice 7 – On-Going Activities
Having attained high levels of system adoption and utilization by following the previous best practices, you can maintain and even expand your project success by continuing to improve and expand your LIMS. Your laboratory operation will change over time including your work processes and information flows, your reporting needs, the analyses and instruments that you utilize, the systems that you will need to integrate with, etc. All of these and more will need to be addressed over the lifetime of your LIMS.
If you have followed the best practices described it is likely that the scientists, technician, and managers in your laboratory operation and others in your organization will be requesting and anxiously anticipating the new capabilities and features that you will be implementing. Keeping your LIMS vibrant and useful is critical in maintaining its adoption and utilization rates. Of course, when addressing these on-going needs you should continue to follow best practices one through six as have been previously described.
Did you have true success with your LIMS Implementation project? Did you attain high levels of system adoption and utilization and maintain them over time? If not, what would you do differently if you did it over again? What lessons did you learn during your LIMS implementation and beyond?