An Essential Factor for Informatics Success
Once a LIMS implementation project is underway, it is important to consider the activities associated with a move to the production environment and allocate time and resources to these activities early in the process. This early time investment will help you achieve a quicker transition to production. We have found three main areas which impact roll-out timelines.
1. Organizational Readiness for a New Lab Informatics System: The Importance of Documentation
Depending on your industry and lab type, you may have more or less documentation required by your internal groups in order to “go-live” with the solution. A clinical lab may require detailed SOPs outlining procedures for database restore, software development lifecycle (SDLC), and training policies. A regulated customer will have IQ, OQ, and PQ requirements. When you develop the project implementation plan, it will be important for your vendor to understand your internal documentation requirements and include those in the project plan. These will need to be tracked along with the configuration activities. You will need to make it clear when and where you will need the vendor’s input in preparing documentation so the team can allocate the appropriate resources in advance to develop the proper informatics system to meet your needs.
Ensure you are having this dialogue with your vendors and are clear on what documentation your team will need to complete, to avoid surprises and roll-out delays.
Key Documentation: User Acceptance Testing (UAT)
An important piece of documentation is the UAT, because this sets the stage for system lock, OQ, and PQ if you are regulated. It also promotes user adoption by identifying and addressing roadblocks early, ahead of onboarding the full team to a new platform.
Many vendors do not provide UAT scripts for deployed software, and instead have customers develop their own testing scripts. This can be a very valuable exercise for customers, because it helps them to become more familiar with the platform.
However, in our experience, we have found that having the Core team write the UAT scripts is more productive. Customers don’t always have enough system knowledge to feel confident in developing UAT scripts. Because of that, time to complete UAT can be longer than anticipated and customers aren’t sure if a UAT finding is a bug or a training issue. When Core Informatics began providing UAT scripts, time to complete UAT dropped by half. Clients shared feedback with us that the scripts were also useful training tools, which could be used for onboarding new team members and providing a basis for PQ for our regulated clients.
2. End User Roll-Out and Adoption of a LIMS
It can be intimidating for an end-user to begin using a new informatics system. A key to end-user adoption is ensuring that the users thoroughly understand the workflows they will be using and how to navigate across the platform.
In order to properly train and familiarize end users, it is key that they have familiarity with the UAT scripts – as mentioned above, these can be used later as training documents. For example, while UAT scripts are being written and completed, end users can practice running through the scripts or have a guided session with their delivery team. In the case of Core Informatics, we have both a Customer Success Manager (CSM) and Business Analyst (BA) assigned during the implementation who are both engaged in teaching and assisting the end-user community. Core Informatics recommends regular guided sessions, to allow end users to ask questions and have an open discussion ahead of production roll-out.
3. Support and Maintenance After Implementation Ends
Understanding and managing your post-deployment support expectations is important to ensure a smooth move to your LIMS system for long-term use. As the implementation work ends and the production deployment date approaches, we schedule a series of transitional activities including a meeting with Core Customer Support to introduce the teams and to explain where feature requests/issues should be handled in the future. The Core BA and Project Manager stay involved immediately following “go-live” to assist in the transition to the Customer Support Team. In addition, the assigned CSM will be the main point of contact throughout the duration of the customer’s use of the Core LIMS. This continuity ensures cohesion between implementation and the original solution design.
Active communication between customers and providers should not stop after the informatics system is in production. At Core Informatics, our Customer Support team is engaged and continually working with customers. We know, when you succeed, we succeed.
Laura Trudeau is a Project Manager at Core Informatics. This is part of our blog series supported by the Core Customer Success group. Please contact Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org with any thoughts you would like to share.