Do You Hold Your Scientific Data Together with Duct Tape?

Harmonization and Simplification in Lab Informatics

We all know them… the people who would rather “make it work” instead of fixing something the right way. There is a certain thrill and satisfaction which comes along with a jerry-rigged solution. It’s a bit rebellious—instead of doing something the proper way, you outsmarted the system. Think of the person who will duct tape the pipe, instead of installing new plumbing. While this fix may stop the leak, the best plan is to fix the root of the problem and not wait until it becomes a job that would scare most plumbers.

While this duct tape solution may work temporarily for your plumbing, it can set a dangerous precedent for a lab informatics system. Users can become accustomed to converting something here, exporting, reformatting and importing something there, and then turning the lights on and hopping on one foot (OK, maybe not that far, but it’s close). Each of these short-term “ingenious” solutions become a small surrender against efficiency and laboratory success. Unraveling these connections, dependencies and spaghetti code soon becomes untenable. When maintenance takes significant resources, new changes can be slow or even impossible. New requests may wind up in the backlog because the essential work of keeping the jerry-rigged system running is too time consuming.

Streamlining Informatics with a Platform Solution

So how do you get yourself out of the mess? Well, the first step would be prevention-- to always follow proper protocol and make sure everything is well documented. But even when integrations are well planned and executed, they can become brittle as various systems are updated and new point solutions are added with custom connectors that take time to understand, develop, and maintain. If you already have this problem, there are only two options: walk away or fix it. Since abandoning your data is never an option, the only thing left to do is fix it.

Organizations can increase productivity and insights by streamlining and simplifying processes and access to data. An extensible, cloud-based platform can help your organization to scale sustainably. A true platform should allow you to add to it easily, instead of creating custom-coded integrations. If everything can work on the same platform and can be written on the same code base (no matter when it was added) the mess of duct tape and spaghetti code can be avoided.

Core’s Platform for Science allows teams to add new capabilities quickly with applications, while changes to the platform can be made via configurations, not confusion-inducing, time-consuming custom coded integrations. The Platform for Science allows for easy connection and communication between systems via Core Connect. Core’s standards-based OData (Open Data Protocol) API is a key feature of Core Connect. This API allows you to quickly and easily communicate between systems and is the single point of integration for your informatics platform.

You should spend your time worrying about your science, not the informatics systems surrounding it. We all love duct tape, but sometimes you just need to fix the plumbing.