What to Look for in a LIMS PSO Team

What to Look for in a LIMS PSO Team

In Part 1 of this series, we discussed what PSOs are and the significant benefits these expert teams can provide when getting any LIMS system up and running. Part 2 provided a detailed look at the advantages and disadvantages of working with a third-party PSO team compared to collaborating with the in-house team of the vendor from whom you purchased the LIMS.

In this installment, we’ll take a deep dive into what you should know about the characteristics of an ideal PSO team.

PSO Team Size and Resources

PSO organizations can vary significantly in size, whether you work with your vendor’s team or a third-party company. When it comes to projects as complex as a LIMS implementation, bigger is better because larger teams have more consultants and specialized individuals on standby and can scale more quickly. This is particularly advantageous for global LIMS implementations because larger teams can offer more reliable support and have access to more backup resources in case of team member unavailability or the need for additional expertise. Larger teams can also reallocate resources quickly, ensuring project continuity and minimizing potential delays.

When it comes to assembling a PSO team, it’s preferable to have a large team. Vendor PSOs frequently maintain teams with 500 or more members — a scale you’ll typically find only in vendor PSOs. In addition to the advantages mentioned above, teams of this size have resources and personnel readily available to start your implementation earlier and complete it faster. Your team will be able to take advantage of enhanced productivity, increased profits, and reduced time to market in less time while achieving greater overall ROI.

Larger teams also have ample resources and expertise to handle time-sensitive projects or work in multiple global locations simultaneously, ensuring seamless implementations that meet tight deadlines.

Many smaller PSO teams lack the resources to meet global expectations, may not have sufficient staff to handle your timetable, or lack expertise and other resources. Some teams have less than 20 members, making it challenging for them to effectively implement LIMS at multiple sites simultaneously. Even if they meet the minimal personnel requirement, there’s little room for error because they’re stretching their staff so thin, risking significant delays if any staff member becomes sick or unavailable.

Global Capability

If you need to implement a LIMS globally, you’ll need a team familiar with every region’s language, business, and laboratory needs. Globally established PSO organizations have local teams in the same time zone who speak the local languages and work the same business hours. You can ensure accurate communication, minimize translation errors, and expect replies to inquiries as quickly as the same business day. Smaller tasks can be completed faster, potentially leading to significantly faster implementation.

In contrast, third-party LIMS PSOs are often based in one country. This may delay a global LIMS implementation, as resources are limited and will most likely require setting up one site at a time. Your organization won’t receive local cultural and business expertise, which may result in delays or errors.

Significant delays can also result when a PSO team is based in a time zone different from the installation site. If an issue arises, it can take up to two business days for a third-party PSO team to inform you and up to two more business days for your reply. This communication barrier can delay implementations by up to four times the expected timeline.

Domain Experience and Diverse Skill Sets

Large vendor teams have the resources to attract higher-quality talent with greater education and experience. As a result, they have more exposure to diverse conditions, challenges, and unique situations related to specific industries, regulatory compliance, organizational structures, and other client-specific needs.

Combined with the more in-depth product knowledge and training not available to third-party PSOs, this enables vendor teams to solve new and personalized issues that require out-of-the-box thinking, far surpassing the scope of what a third-party PSO team may contribute. Their accumulated experience enables them to contribute industry expertise to improve your organization’s success.

Vendor PSOs can also draw on more diverse team members with similar past experiences to seamlessly implement your LIMS, streamlining your timeline for maximum efficiency and profitability. Their certifications are typically renewed every 6 to 12 months to keep pace with the ever-changing LIMS industry.

Third-party PSOs lack this more up-to-date knowledge, which is crucial for addressing unique circumstances, industry-specific challenges, regulatory compliance issues, customization needs, unique integration circumstances, data migration complexity, and other specialized situations.

Although it could be argued that some employees at third-party PSO groups started at the vendor they service, a PSO professional’s knowledge of the product can become outdated in as little as six months. Third-party teams may have to delay your implementation as they struggle to learn how to troubleshoot new or unique issues.

Direct Access

When working with a vendor’s PSO team, you have direct contact with product management and development team members, the product roadmap, and many other resources within the vendor’s organization. Seamless communication with these in-house teams facilitates the swift resolution of complex technical issues and alerts you to upcoming features and updates. These connections, not available to third-party PSOs or other outsiders, are invaluable in long-term planning, ensuring that your solution remains aligned with future developments.

Additionally, when working with a vendor’s PSO team, your organization gains a voice in the product’s future roadmap. If your organization wants to see something added to the software, your PSO can take your suggestion directly to the product’ management and development teams.

Many third-party PSO teams don’t have a close working relationship with internal departments within a LIMS vendor. This can make it difficult for you to gain access to critical information or request additions to tailor the software to your specific needs, while potentially hindering long-term planning.

Post-Implementation LIMS Support

When collaborating with a vendor’s PSO team after go-live, you can expect a seamless transition to post-implementation support. If you need troubleshooting, updates, or changes as your needs evolve, knowledgeable teams are ready to address your issues. Re-engaging your PSO team is a smooth process. They’ll prioritize maintaining your operational productivity and profits by finding workarounds that enable you to continue running LIMS while the support team works on any necessary changes or updates.

Third-party PSO teams will never be able to provide comparable long-term partnership support. They lack the control, knowledge, and expertise that vendor teams provide. It’s also very difficult — often impossible — for a third-party PSO to make suggestions or request changes to a vendor’s product.

Another essential consideration is the transition period when moving from a third-party PSO to vendor support. With some third-party teams, this can take up to a year or longer for smaller projects, delaying access to support.

If your LIMS implementation doesn’t go as planned, there’s a risk of not getting timely support, potentially affecting your business operations. If any issues arise before or after go-live that require more specialized personnel, a third-party team may require extra time to learn and then resolve issues. Alternatively, you may choose to come back to the vendor’s PSO team, which will bill you again to resolve your issues.

Partnership and Accountability

Opting for a vendor’s PSO team ensures a seamless connection between services and the product, eliminating any gaps. This not only aligns your organization’s investment with the PSO team’s stake in the implementation’s success but also integrates the vendor’s accountability and investment in your software’s success.

If needed, the vendor is committed to dedicating any resources when you work with their PSO. You also benefit from holistic problem-solving, comprehensive understanding, and proactive planning. This commitment accelerates the timeline for your organization to operate at maximum productivity and achieve optimal profits.

If your organization opts to collaborate with a third-party PSO team, the nature of the relationship is likely to be more transactional. This introduces constraints on accessing direct commitment and resources from the product vendor, possibly resulting in slower response times, limited resources, and a lack of direct influence on the product’s development and enhancement. These limitations not only impact the implementation process but could extend over the lifetime of your purchase, potentially leading to diminished productivity and lower profits.

Making Informed LIMS Implementation Decisions

Although third-party LIMS PSO teams claim a pricing advantage over vendor teams, the “savings” can cost you over time. Your organization may miss out on many significant benefits that will ensure your organizational needs are properly addressed during implementation.

Consider this article’s criteria carefully to ensure you make a fully informed decision.

Need additional guidance about selecting a PSO team? Check out parts 1 and 2 of this series or contact us today.