IDBS Blog | 27th November 2013

Insider Secrets to Successful ELN Implementations: Rolling Out the Vision

This final blog in the series explores implementation strategies and considers the ultimate measure of a successful ELN implementation.

Our two previous blogs (Where to start?,  Pilots, customizations and testing) discussed requirements, organizational buy-in, the challenge of change management, super users and advocates, configuration and initial system optimization.

Insider secret #7: ‘Achieving the vision’. Don’t rush towards the implementation phase. This isn’t about giving users the freedom to opt out or, as Danny Jurmann put it, continue to propagate data silos. Karen Kedzie explained the need for scientists to see the ELNs’ benefits before presenting the implementation as a fait accompli. This contrasted with the path reportedly taken by a large pharmaceutical company, which took away staff lab notebooks and refused to issue further copies. However, they followed the ELNs’ implementation with backing for individual teams from departmental experts/advocates who, in turn, were supported by super users. The key here is balance – enough stick and enough carrot to get the project moved forwards – and the vision needs to be articulated and described to everyone.

Insider secret #8: ‘Staged roll outs’. Roll outs should ideally start with a group which has a good number of super users and enthusiastic ‘early adopters’. A positive experience within these groups encourages others to get fully on board – essentially they sell the system to their peers. Phillip Woodhouse picked a representative area to pilot its ELN, made changes to optimize the new processes and then moved to full implementation. Interestingly, implementation seems less a discrete set of sequential steps but more a continuous process of training, support and adapting to the learnings. Super users and champions that are on hand to provide one-to-one help as needed are seen as an effective way to deliver comprehensive user adoption. Shoe-horning roll out “into an already overstretched scenario without re-allocation of resources” is not recommended at all.

Insider secret #9: ‘User adoption’. What is the ultimate measure of a successful implementation? Assessing user adoption is a popular method. Conversely, issues around buy-in and poor adoption levels usually indicate a poor deployment in some way, shape or form. In essence, the secret to achieving a successful ELN implementation seems to be relatively simple. Put the needs of the user right up there and implement your ELN in a way that makes the user’s life easier and less complicated – this will automatically deliver value back to the organization, a win-win situation.

Great advice – from the horse’s mouth! Once again, we really appreciated everyone’s input. Thank you very much.

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