Yes, shelling out money for a third-party consultancy may seem counterintuitive when you’re contemplating making a big investment in a laboratory informatics management system (LIMS). However, the value companies gain by working with a LIMS consultancy provides multiple dividends. As laboratory staff, you are the expert in your research field, and no one expects you to also understand the intricacies of deploying a LIMS; that’s why consultancies exist. LIMS implementations are our specialty and we’re here to help.
Companies may plan for a LIMS implementation and tell themselves that once the vendor’s work is done, they can handle any future configuration on their own; or they ask why should we pay more for an outside consultant to help with this project, or, what more will a consultancy bring to the table that we’re not already getting with the product vendor?
However, LIMS consultancies such as CSols should be viewed as experts who put the client first. An excellent LIMS consultant not only will deliver quality work on time and on budget, but also will educate as the work progresses, providing clients with the skills they need to handle more advanced LIMS configuration and building trust that may lead to more collaborations in the future.
To illustrate what we mean by this view, this blog post provides examples of how a LIMS consultancy can help labs and organizations plan, select, implement, and validate their LIMS solution, either alongside the vendor or by taking the lead.
Prior to a LIMS implementation, a vendor-neutral LIMS consultancy can help with the vendor selection process. Working with a consultancy at this stage provides value because the end users of the LIMS can get a full picture of what each software offers. LIMS consultancies will have a rigorous evaluation process to help you structure vendor demonstrations and weigh the pros and cons of each software against the needs of your business. Developing a script for the demo with the help of a consultancy will help a laboratory identify the unknown unknowns in a LIMS implementation. When a consultancy is involved in writing a demonstration script, the opportunity to supply missing information is uncovered at the beginning of the process.
The vendor selection process ensures that lab staff get a full picture of what each software can offer without getting bogged down in fancy language and empty promises. A competent summary of the vendor demonstration process puts the results in plain English so that decision-makers are not distracted by unimportant aspects of the software. An excellent LIMS consultant can also guide an organization prior to the implementation to ensure that the lab is ready for the work to come.
Additional Reading: How Do We Choose The Best LIMS
Perhaps the most important reason to work with a LIMS consultancy during the implementation is the assurance of a dedicated resource. Your lab personnel all have day jobs doing science, and trying to rearrange their schedules or the schedule of someone from IT to dedicate a point person during an implementation is often impractical. A consultant only has one job while your project is running, and that’s to make sure that the implementation is done correctly, on time, and goes as smoothly as possible so that the end users get the product they deserve.
Related Reading: Resourcing Your LIMS Project for Success
A consultant can oversee the day-to-day details of the project to be sure all requirements are documented thoroughly and traced through the testing to completion. With a dedicated resource in place, nothing falls through the cracks. The advantage of having a neutral third party on the project also means that power struggles between departments can be effectively mediated with less bias.
As you may be aware, it’s a best practice to have a third party perform the validation of your LIMS, to be sure it’s fit for purpose and can stand up to an audit. This is a common way that a third-party consultancy becomes involved in a LIMS implementation. An excellent validation consultant may even identify where improvements could be made to your LIMS through additional configuration or customization to better suit the needs of the business.
Competent laboratory informatics project leadership is a skill set that can be missing within an organization, yet it is critical to the success of your LIMS project. A LIMS consultancy has completed many previous implementation projects, bringing a depth of project and domain experience that most organizations lack. Knowing what the pitfalls are can help to avoid them, and engaging a project leader from a consultancy can improve the chances that your project will succeed.
Another benefit to bringing in a project leader from a LIMS consultancy is their experience with organizational change management and increasing user adoption. We have written before about how critical user adoption is to the success of an implementation. It’s no good spending lots of money on a shiny new system if it’s too complicated to make your staff’s jobs easier and they won’t use it.
The value of a consultancy can extend to the time after a LIMS implementation, too. In fact, the postimplementation period is another common time for organizations to recognize they have an issue and reach out for help. Whether it’s for additional configuration work, instrument integration, or even to reboot a project from the ground up, it’s not too late to call in a consultant after the vendors are gone.
Some LIMS vendors will sell you their product and do the initial configuration, provide basic training, and then move on to their next project. When you work with a consultancy, the needs of your organization are the first priority and support won’t expire as soon as the software is deployed. Given that a phased approach to LIMS implementation has become the industry standard, the postimplementation phase may be even more important to the success of your project than the initial go-live.
Get the LIMS implementation help you need, done right the first time, from a LIMS consultancy. When you hire CSols, you’re hiring an advocate for your project to succeed. Let’s talk about your implementation project.
What other value have you seen from hiring a LIMS consultancy? Tell us in the comments below.