Normally, we only talk about success when we talk about ourselves. When we talk to others, we like to talk about doom-and-gloom, especially the stories where big companies go millions of dollars over budget with no laboratory informatics strategy implemented and the software often thrown away without being used. It seems to be human nature to look for the failures and talk endlessly about them.
Today’s story is not like that. Today’s story is, well, boring. Yes, success is boring and I’ll tell you why. First of all, there’s nothing special they did that made it all happen. They worked hard and did all the things we all say are important to do but that so few companies achieve. Often, customers ask me about a new methodology or a “secret” for success. There’s no “secret” to it and a new methodology doesn’t save you from the worst problems, such as politics and similar issues.
Anyway, on Friday, I was speaking with a large company. They implemented a multi-layer, paperless laboratory solution which they are still rolling out to their worldwide operations, but which is going well and is now providing huge payback to them.
By the way, this is not my own customer. I can’t comment on the correctness of the numbers they gave me and the facts they passed along, but I can say that everything they told me about their approach and the details of their roll-out convinced me they were on the level. Their timeline for doing all this is actually quite short, too.
So, once again, this is the type of situation where we LOVE to hear about failure because it would have been a multi-million dollar failure and that would have made our failure stories truly dire and scary.
Instead, they worked on their process, first. Then, they planned how the various pieces of software would fit into that process and how the software would interact with each other. They knew they’d have unexpected issues pop-up and planned for that. They decided not to try to make any of the software do things it wasn’t meant to do and they refused to be guinea pigs for new features.
For those of you who wanted to hear about something interesting and exciting that they did, it doesn’t exist. As usual, it’s about good process mapping, project planning, teamwork, and the usual truly boring stuff. I’m sure their corporate culture made this all a possibility, too, but it is all the dull and tedious hard work and planning they put into this that made this all happen.