Lab Informatics Business Analyst: The Benefits of Having One

Business Analyst

Laboratory Informatics software is continually evolving to make use of new technology, which in turn has generated an increased need for a “bridge” between IT, lab informatics developers, and stakeholders (scientists, technicians, managers, etc.). The “bridge” in this environment is a Lab Informatics Business Analyst. So what exactly is a Business Analyst (BA)? A business analyst, as defined by Wikipedia, is an individual practicing the research discipline of identifying business needs and determining solutions to business problems. Based on that definition, let’s explore how a lab informatics BA can be beneficial to your organization and its pending laboratory informatics projects?

The Benefits of a Lab Informatics Business Analyst

Determine and Communicate Requirements

A lab informatics Business Analyst will possess prior laboratory, IT, and laboratory informatics software expertise. They are able to articulate the requirements between departments so that they are understood by all.

Slideshare: Pay Now Or Later: Creating Solid User Requirements
  • This is helpful when determining the priority of your requirements (must haves, should haves, and could haves) with your stakeholders.
  • The BA will also hold meetings with as many stakeholders and informatics team members as possible to gather all the requirements.
  • Once the requirements and their priorities have been established and documented, the lab informatics BA can meet with the developers to confirm that the needs of stakeholders can be met by the selected solution.

Requirements Prioritization

Stakeholders often wear multiple hats such that your lab informatics project may not be their main focus at all times.

  • A lab informatics BA will ensure that at the various stages of your Laboratory Informatics project, the attention of the stakeholders is focused on your project’s goals and satisfying your project timeline.
  • The lab informatics BA can also develop and determine the strategy needed in order to maintain and hit project targets. The BA can help prioritize your requirements in order to minimize risk and ensure the highest return or most important requirements are implemented first.

Facilitator

There are many causes for why a Laboratory Informatics project can fail, but the main reasons are due to:

  • Lack of planning
  • Constant change in requirements
  • Lack of user involvement
  • Poor requirements
  • Lack of support from upper management
  • Unrealistic expectations/timelines

Adding a Lab Informatics Business Analyst to your project can mitigate these risks since they will play the role of facilitator. The BA can help define what needs to be done, who and what is needed, and the effort involved.

Reduction in costs

At first glance, one would think that by adding a Lab Informatics Business Analyst to a project, it would increase costs.  While this may be true from a cost perspective when you look at ROI, the value and return that a Lab Informatics BA brings to the equation far outweighs the investment.  For example:

  • Reducing the amount of rework:
    • There is always some amount of change needed during a lab informatics project, but adding a lab informatics BA can reduce the amount of unnecessary changes by making sure your requirements are well understood by all parties. The lab informatics BA can ensure that requirements can be met by speaking with the designers and developers on your lab informatics project team. In addition, holding prototype meetings will give stakeholders a hands-on opportunity to review capabilities as well as allow them to provide feedback on how the functionality should flow and work.
  • Recommending cost-effective solutions:
    • When or if a problem arises during a lab informatics project, the BA can investigate and recommend cost-effective solutions.
Read about a LIMS Implementation, Enhancement, and Validation project that received a needs and requirements assessment, solution optimization, and design support

If you are questioning how a Laboratory Informatics (LIMS, ELN, LES, etc.) Business Analyst will provide the most value for your next laboratory informatics project, ensure that the BA has a scientific background, IT knowledge, and hands-on experience and expertise in the laboratory informatics software you are implementing or enhancing. Effective communication, writing, problem-solving skills, and industry and domain knowledge are all qualities a good Lab Informatics Business Analyst should possess. Adding a Lab Informatics BA with these skills to your resources will help ensure the success of your project.


Thinking of your past lab informatics projects, would it have been beneficial having a lab informatics BA on the project? Are you considering using a lab informatics BA for your next project?

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