The pharmaceutical industry has historically identified ‘the best” ELN vendor and then force-fit that solution across all organization functions. There were practical reasons for this practice:
However, organizations have also discovered that there are significant costs with the one size fits all approach:
Let’s face it, although Electronic Laboratory Notebooks are considered general purpose tools, each has its own strengths and weakness. The scientific community is VERY diverse; think Biology, Small Molecule, Inhaled, Dermal. Another variant are the phases. Just consider the differences between research, development, and manufacture. ELN designers cannot possibly be experts in each of these areas and instead focus and design for specific communities. For example, forcing a research-oriented application into a development organization has predictably negative consequences.
SaaS has changed the ELN paradigm
The advent of SaaS (Software as a Service) Electronic Laboratory Notebook offerings has disrupted the conventional single ELN vendor implementation. SaaS eliminates many of the barriers to ELN implementation which drove the need for a single vendor solution.
The Plug and Play nature of SaaS ELN solutions can be liberating! Organizations are now free to consider the benefits to be derived from implementing the best solution for a functional group.
Medium to large organizations should reconsider the “one-size fits all” ELN strategy. By rethinking the drivers which resulted in a single ELN approach your organization may be free to consider implementation of the “best” application for specific functions across the organization. The result can be more productive scientists coupled with reduced cost of ownership.