PSO Pros & Cons: Considerations for Choosing the Right LIMS Implementation Team

PSO Pros & Cons: Considerations for Choosing the Right LIMS Implementation Team

Imagine that you’re building a custom house. If you work in the residential construction business, you might understand what’s involved. However, you’re unlikely to have deep knowledge of every skill needed to complete the job — from pouring the foundation to plumbing, electrical, HVAC, roofing, interior design, etc.

Most people don’t have this kind of expertise. Even if they do, they’re likely to rely on one of two other choices: using a construction company recommended by the architect who designed the house or hiring a general contractor.

Getting a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) up and running successfully is similar to building a custom home. It’s a complicated process requiring specialists in many different disciplines. As with our home-building example, you have two choices if you don’t want to do it yourself: use your LIMS vendor’s professional services organization (PSO) team or hire a third-party PSO.

In this next article of our PSO series, we’ll weigh the pros and cons of each of these two options.

What’s the Right Type of PSO Partner for Your Organization?

In Part 1 of this series, we discussed what PSOs are and how these expert teams can bring significant benefits to any LIMS implementation. Once you’ve decided to use a PSO team, you’ll be faced with the critical choice between a third-party PSO or the in-house team from your LIMS vendor.

Many factors can impact the quote for PSO services, notably your organization’s unique needs when configuring the implementation. This can include but isn’t limited to, integration with other software or specialized instruments, compliance documentation, validation testing, procedural analysis optimization, training support, and more.

Let’s be frank about the one key advantage third-party PSO organizations have in these negotiations: their up-front quote is likely to be cheaper than the one you’ll get from your LIMS vendor’s team. While it can be very tempting for budget-constrained purchasing teams to opt for a more affordable price tag, it’s crucial to understand that this cost difference comes with certain contingencies — and some potentially significant risks.

It’s easy to overlook the much higher value your vendor’s PSO team can deliver. The difference between a third-party PSO and a vendor partner can easily mean the difference between a good implementation, or a seamless implementation that minimizes many potential pitfalls.

Laying a Strong Foundation for LIMS Implementation

Let’s go back to our home-building analogy for a moment. You can choose the exclusive design and construction team recommended by the architect or a general contractor.

While both options can get the job done, the architect’s team offers a specialized approach that’s well-aligned with your architect’s vision, ensuring a flawless build that delivers the precise outcomes you want. Although a general contractor may promise a lower cost upfront, they lack a close working relationship with the architect, resulting in a less-specialized end product that may not fully align with the initial vision.

Similarly, when you purchase a LIMS, you have very specific expectations for how it will be implemented. Choosing your vendor’s PSO team ensures the realization of this vision because they have direct access to the product management and development teams and the product roadmap. They’re directly accountable to your vendor and will offer other exclusive perks.

Although third-party PSO teams may be proficient with LIMS, they lack the depth of knowledge your vendor’s team can provide. They didn’t create the software, don’t have direct access to internal team members, and may not be able to match the in-depth insights provided by your vendor’s own PSO team.

Why Vendor PSO Teams are Worth the Extra Cost

While it is possible that your Vendor PSO could be expensive upfront, experience regularly shows that this is an investment rather than an expense because it also offers a significant extra value. You’re likely to save money in the long run (and possibly in the short run, too).

Let’s dig into the details.

  • In-Depth Product Knowledge

When collaborating with your vendor’s team, you tap into a specialized group that’s intimately familiar with the software. They’re among the first to be informed about updates and features, providing valuable insights, and enabling you to leverage the latest advancements. They also have direct access to developers and experts, facilitating swift issue resolution and optimal alignment with your requirements.

Third-party teams can’t match this familiarity. This can lead to less efficient LIMS implementation because they require more time to grasp the specific nuances of the product and may not be as informed about updates and new features. Communication and issue resolution may be hindered because they don’t have direct access to the experts behind the LIMS software, and you may not get precise alignment with your requirements.

  • Seamless Post-Implementation Support

When collaborating with a vendor team, you can expect an instant and seamless transition from PSO to post-implementation support. If there’s any need for troubleshooting, updates, or reconfiguration, a vendor team will be ready to handle it. You can also re-engage the PSO team at any time if your needs change, secure in the knowledge that they’ll prioritize your productivity and profits while they work on the changes or updates you need.

With some third-party teams, the transition period can take up to 90 days or even longer, delaying your access to support. If your LIMS implementation doesn’t go as planned, this could potentially damage your business operations.

Moreover, if any issues arise before or after going live, a third-party PSO team may require more time to learn and resolve the problems, putting your productivity and profits at risk. You might even have to fall back on the vendor’s PSO team and get billed a second time.

  • Vendor Accountability

When you work with your vendor’s PSO team, the entire organization is interested in the software’s success and ensuring it’s configured to meet your specific requirements. The involvement of multiple teams within the same organization also enhances manpower, leading to a more thorough approach and greater dedication to your satisfaction. Direct access to the vendor’s support team also ensures timely assistance, plus prompt updates and upgrades so that your system remains current with industry standards.

Third-party PSOs will do the best they can to support you during implementation, but they don’t have a stake in the product itself. They may also struggle to stay aligned with your vendor’s goals, strategies, and product updates.

  • Direct Access

LIMS software is continually being updated, demanding ongoing education and training. Although many members of third-party PSO teams often come from LIMS vendors, their knowledge of their former employer’s product can quickly become outdated, even six months or a year after they leave the company.

The direct access your vendor’s PSO team enjoys empowers them to inform you promptly about upcoming features and updates. Their seamless communication with in-house teams facilitates the swift resolution of complex technical issues during implementation and is also invaluable to ensuring successful long-term planning.

  • Comprehensive Documentation

Vendor teams provide you with detailed documentation that streamlines implementation and contributes to the long-term success of your LIMS. In addition, vendor PSOs frequently offer internal validation services to help you demonstrate compliance with your industry’s standards and regulations.

  • Less Chance of Failure

Your vendor’s PSO team will have the resources and expertise necessary to ensure a seamless implementation of your LIMS. Working with a third-party team without this expertise significantly increases your risk of failure. If you need to seek resolution from the LIMS vendor, this can increase your costs by up to 30 percent.

Consider the Total Cost

The significant advantages of a vendor’s PSO team are worth considering, especially when you’re already spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a software system.

If your organization has a tight budget and its singular goal is to make the LIMS work, then a third-party LIMS PSO team may be the best choice. However, if you’re seeking a seamless LIMS implementation that perfectly aligns with your vision and has no adverse effects on your business operations or profits — from purchase through the lifetime of your LIMS — working with a LIMS vendor’s PSO team will prove to be a better option.

In part 3 of this series, we’ll discuss what to look for when selecting a PSO team.

No One Knows LabVantage Better than LabVantage

Choosing LabVantage PSO services to implement LabVantage LIMS products ensures your path to success. The LabVantage deployment team is one of the industry’s most experienced, with more than 35 years of successfully delivering LIMS solutions.

Contact us to learn more about how our professional services help ensure the success of your LIMS implementation.