2004 03 31 ACS ELN Perspectives


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ELN Perspectives, presented at the ACS March 2004. Old presentation but gives a perspective on how we got to PatentSafe's market architecture.

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2004 03 31 ACS ELN Perspectives

  1. 1. ELN perspectives Simon Coles
  2. 2. ELN perspectives • Copies of this presentation • Our Journey • Scaling from 5,000 to 5 • What we did • The surprise • What we learned & some solutions • Some recommendations http://www.amphora-research.com/2
  3. 3. Copies of this presentation • Copies of this presentation will be on our web site tomorrow • Or, give me a card and I will email it to you http://www.amphora-research.com/3
  4. 4. Our beginngings • Started working in ELNs in 1996 as a consulting engagement with Kodak • Aim was global deployment (~5,000 users) • Lotus Notes based • Electronic Records for patents • Kodak encouraged development/sale of a product • We joined CENSA • Further sales, e.g. DuPont, ICI • Lots of general interest - publications, conferences, sales activity • As far as Enterprise-class ELNs go, the Notes ELN is still one of the most successful • Largest deployments (thousands of users) • Electronic records for patents http://www.amphora-research.com/4
  5. 5. Let’s build a business • Need to sell to people other than the Fortune 100 • There are only 100 possible targets! • Sales cycle & costs are just painful • Exposed to the economic cycle • So we’d like to be able to approach • Smaller R&D divisions of larger multinationals • Smaller R&D companies - the most obvious is Biotech • Problems • Notes ELN too large for smaller companies • Overall very complex, lots of bells & whistles that arent needed in smaller installations • Expensive infrastructure requirements • Patent issue is a big problem http://www.amphora-research.com/5
  6. 6. A second generation of products • Modular • Build the smallest possible “ELN” • Add functionality as needed (from Amphora, or others) • Technology advances over the past few years have made integration much much easier • Scale from 5 users to 5,000 • Works with our existing range of products • Can use paper or electronic records for patents http://www.amphora-research.com/6
  7. 7. Scaling from 5,000 to 5 • For smaller deployments, product needs to • Deliver significant ROI, quickly • Be easy to understand and sell • Use common, cheap infrastructure • Seamlessly integrate with existing systems • Allow for partners and resellers • Turns out that a “Low-end” product is harder than the all-encompasing “Enterprise Class” system http://www.amphora-research.com/7
  8. 8. Technical aspects of scalability • Seems to be harder to scale down than scale up • Once you can do enterprise class systems • Producing a low-cost 5 user system that can grow to 5,000 is a matter of computer architecture • Taking a product aimed at Enterprise users and figuring out how to fit it into a startup is harder • Generally, the startup is much more challenging • Less infrastructure • Less resource to install/maintain systems • Much less money • Commercially much more challenging • Scaling to the Enterprise • Some technical/commercial issues, but well understood • Lots of people to help you http://www.amphora-research.com/8
  9. 9. Outcome • New range of products • Modular, can be purchased as a system or in parts • Based on J2EE, .Net, SQL, etc. - including a complete Open Source stack • Merger with PatentPad® • Specialized (and patented) security paper • The only loose-leaf paper alternative to the Bound Lab Notebook • Allows us to conveniently support Paper as well as Electronic Records according to customer preference • US/UK company • Nearly global reach • Partner for the rest • Customers include major bluechips to Biotech http://www.amphora-research.com/9
  10. 10. Products • PatentSafe™ • Solves the really tricky Patent issue • Paper or Electronic records • Patent Evidence Creation and Preservation system • Enough collaboration etc. to benefit a smaller/medium company • Search & share content • Straightforward and robust security regime • Can be used standalone or with another “ELN” e.g. from Amphora, CambridgeSoft,Tripos, Klee etc. • PatentPad® • Security paper • Used in conjunction with PatentSafe™ to produce paper records http://www.amphora-research.com/10
  11. 11. What we expected • Smaller companies would like PatentSafe™, and use it either on its own or with another application • We knew larger companies needed a solution to that Patent problem, and PatentSafe™ was ideal for that • But we expected it to be used as part of a larger ELN system, from Amphora or another supplier - PatentSafe™ http://www.amphora-research.com/11
  12. 12. What happened Hey guys, just wanted to show you this PatentSafe thing, just as an FYI - it really isn’t aimed at you. It’s part of the big thing (it does the patent stuff), but thought you might want to know that this thing can be used on it’s own. OK.... Here you are, it does, this, that, the other - and that’s about it Interesting. What do you need to run it? How much does it cost? How long does it take to deploy? Not much, and not much That’s really interesting. That might be just the thing we need. Can we try it? Hang on a moment! This isn’t aimed at you. This doesn’t do half of what you said you wanted. Yeah, but this might be just the thing. Can we try it? Cool... http://www.amphora-research.com/12
  13. 13. Interesting... • This is not the reaction we expected • These companies are the ones that approached us with fairly comprehensive specifications • They were meant to say “Cute, nice Patent system, but it’s a component of this big ELN system that we need to meet all our varied requirements” • What’s going on? • We we went to find out • Interviews • Usage metrics http://www.amphora-research.com/13
  14. 14. What we learned • Partly, technology has moved on • There are significant challenges involved in implementing ELNs in any organisation • Difficulty in forming an ROI case • Patent-related concerns • Challenges involved in supporting varied workstyles - “Broad” vs “Deep” functionality • Pilot issues • Once the organisation commits to a full ELN, there’s still the challenge of deploying it • The ravages of time • Cultural issues (including the Toaster problem) • Technical implications • Still a number of places where paper is preferable http://www.amphora-research.com/14
  15. 15. ROI issues • Probably one of the biggest challenges the ELN industry faces • We can all provide a “Business Case”, but • It is often based on faith, not real measurements • Time savings are “Soft” dollars • Often the investment required is significant, so youre looking for someone to take a big bet • Taking big bets on an ethereal ROI is not career enhancing • Larger companies might often have a formal ROI process, which is painful • But in smaller companies, the final decision maker is often signing a personal cheque - theoretical results don’t help http://www.amphora-research.com/15
  16. 16. ROI issues – Solutions • Hope • Wait until the money is available for the big bet • Generally, it never comes • Phasing • Split the ELN project into a series of smaller investments • Move forward as you demonstrate ROI at each stage • Building credibility all the time • Segmentation • Split the ELN into component parts • Each of which can be purchased & deployed by an individual budget holder • e.g. records, individual labs http://www.amphora-research.com/16
  17. 17. Patent-related concerns • In a lot of companies, one of the primary business reasons for a “Lab Notebook” is to create records which you might then rely on to defend a patent • At some point your lawyers will need to be consulted, at which point they could: • Stop the project dead • Insist on keeping the Bound Lab Notebook • Seriously impacting any ROI that the ELN might provide • All you’ve done is created a load cut & paste “opportunities” • Put the project on hold pending investigation • Frustration for all • Unlikely to be a satisfactory answer anytime soon http://www.amphora-research.com/17
  18. 18. Patent issues – Solutions • Solve the Patent issue early and properly • Send someone to talk with the lawyers in their own language • Give them a choice of paper or electronic • Provide a solution that can be used throughout the company, and will stand the test of time http://www.amphora-research.com/18
  19. 19. “Broad” Vs “Deep” • “Broad” • Support a wide variety of work across a company • Enables collaboration & Knowledge Management • Best achieved by deploying a “Thin” layer over other systems • Budget & ROI generally found in a staff function • “Deep” • Support for each individual scientific discipline • Generally involves specific datatypes • Generally reinforce/dictate specific workstyle • Can involve significant product & implementation costs • But delivers significant productivity benefits • Budget & ROI found on a departmental basis http://www.amphora-research.com/19
  20. 20. “Broad” Vs “Deep” systems “Broad” aspects Security, Collaboration, Patent Protection etc. A B C D http://www.amphora-research.com/20
  21. 21. “Broad” Vs “Deep” systems • Problem • Each “Deep” ELN is only really applicable to a specific discipline • Other disciplines find it alien to their work • Solution • Single project to provide generic ELN support processes • Cross-discipline collaboration • Patent Evidence Creation & Preservation • Split the discipline-specific aspects into their own sub-projects • This will often result in a better solution for the individual audiences • As well as an easier time for the overall project • Each can move according to their own timescale • Ppurchase best-of-breed applications from specialized vendors • Budget/ROI and functionality decisions can made on a local basis • Often youll already have have some or all of the tools necessary http://www.amphora-research.com/21
  22. 22. Pilot issues • How do you pilot an ELN? • You still need good records • Generally, dual entry is the only acceptable approach • Unfortunately, the users hate it • Pilot participation of 30% is not uncommon • Possible solutions • Decide on a Patent Evidence Creation & Preservation system first • Use something like PatentSafe/PatentPad to minimize the pain of producing paper • Use PatentSafe in electronic mode, and at the end of the pilot continue, dump to paper, or import resulting PDFs into another system http://www.amphora-research.com/22
  23. 23. The toaster problem • Most ELNs are specified and designed by committee • Committee members tend to be those who really care about the ELN • Committee process creates complex systems, reflecting the inevitable compromises http://www.amphora-research.com/23
  24. 24. The toaster problem • What is this? • The Toaster Geeks Toaster! http://www.amphora-research.com/24
  25. 25. Complexity is a two-edged sword • Can give you lots of power, but comes at a price • Training time • Extra effort in use to consider all those new options • I thought the solution was a UI that gently “revealed” iteself • Complexity was hidden unless needed • 80% of cases were handled automatically • Turns out, some people still percieved the system as “Complicated” • This led them to avoid using the ELN unless they had a definate need • Solution: Two ELNs, one very simple that does 80%, and one for the power users http://www.amphora-research.com/25
  26. 26. Buying a toaster • Unfortunately the people who buy toasters are the people who are interested in toasters • This leads them to purchase the “best” toaster • Unfortunately there family members want to concentrate on the eating, not on the toasting • Solution • Keep things simple • Where you need complexity, make sure • It is optional • It brings benefit to the user • “Market test” soon and often • Be suspicious of ornate requirements • A good design is when there’s noting left to take out http://www.amphora-research.com/26
  27. 27. Technical issues • Generally, the more code you have to deploy onto user machines, the more pain youll have • Deployment hassle (installation, training) • Compatibility & support issues • Most organisations have a mix of platforms • Windows clients are the majority • But there will be important pockets of other platforms (Mac, Linux, etc.) • Solution • As much as you can, make generic ELN services • Part of the network infrastructure • Web based • Platform neutral • Deploy client-intensive, platform-specific code as needed http://www.amphora-research.com/27
  28. 28. Paper isn’t dead yet • Some scientists have Bound Lab Notebooks full of cut & stick – an ELN is the answer to their prayers • Others have lots and lots of handwriting • An ELN would cost them a lot of time because they write faster than they’d type • But the organisation wants to move to an ELN for collaboration/KM purposes • There really isn’t an acceptable computer replacement for paper when taking notes • Solution • User computers where best • Print out on PatentPad® • Write on it, sign/witness as usual • Scan it back in • Everyone happy http://www.amphora-research.com/28