In the last blog post, I wrote about complaints about the Labware LIMS. Today, I write about a search term that found my blog: “problems with labware lims implementations”
The major problems you find with LabWare LIMS implementations are the same problems you find with many of the “big” LIMS implementations. If you get into this major category LIMS that takes the bulk of the LIMS market share, what the products tend to have in common is that they are extremely flexible and powerful. This is a recipe for disaster and for quite a lot of money going down the drain quite quickly in the hands of the wrong resources.
For example, the Thermo Fisher Scientific Sample Manager product has gotten something of a bad rap as a product that is almost impossible to implement without spending a fortune and ending up with an implementation that’s a nightmare to maintain for the long-term. And for those of who you think the LabWare LIMS has that same reputation or who could name any of the other major products, you will notice the same factors in the projects that lead to these reputations.
First of all, as any expert knows and will tell you, you won’t have an implementation of these types of products without writing code. Whether it’s called “programming” or “scripting” or “configuring,” it’s still the act of writing code. And, the more of it you write, the harder the implementation becomes to manage and maintain. Small implementations usually do alright because there’s less to manage but when you get to large implementations, this is where it gets hard.
Also, not all large implementations fail. We hear about the ones where people spend hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars and there are quite a number of truly notorious projects that the industry knows about and can pick apart in a project autopsy but we seldom focus on the ones that succeed to learn what is “right” with them.
The ones that succeed usually have good resources with strong project management. They have great communication. Their resources are either highly qualified or they get excellent training and mentoring to become highly qualified. There are other factors, too. But take away any of these and the project starts to falter. For example, poor resources that are unqualified and not properly trained make for poor projects regardless how well the project is managed. One significant and important factor that is bad is enough to kill an implementation.