How can we do ELNs safely?

If the traditional large-ELN model no longer fits, what options are there for organisations who still need to find a better replacement for the Paper Lab Notebook? Fortunately, there are a number of concepts which have grown out of ELN deployments outside of the Life Sciences industry (which never had the money to afford “ERP for R&D”-style approaches) which can allow organisations to tease apart their requirements and clearly identify what they need.

Using these approaches, organisations can often achieve swift return on investment (often in a matter of months) for minimal outlay and vastly reduced risk. The more a project can focus, build on what’s already in place and solve the problems that need solving then it will by definition involve less of everything – less requirements, less code, less consulting, less change, and less money. Smaller, quicker projects are vastly less risky than larger ones, are easier to get approved, and allow the organisation to react easily to changing business circumstances. By building a culture of “quick wins” they lay the foundation for further improvements in tools.

The two models which help tease part the “ELN” functionality are relatively straightforward and indeed most thinkers in this space have their own versions. Their real power comes when they allow project teams to understand what they have and what they need, and develop a road map such that the future is protected even though the initial project may not have the widest possible scope.

We’ll examine each model in a separate post, first looking at ELN functionality and then what gets stored.

On to the next post in this series

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