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  November 2006

ELN Market Maturity and the Gartner Hype Cycles

So, how mature is the ELN market? For the past few years, in Gartner Hype Cycle terminology, has the ELN market has been heading up the Peak of Inflated Expectations, or sliding down into the Trough of Disillusionment? Most organisations have exercised sufficient caution before making a commitment to implement an ELN, that it could be that the Peak of Inflated Expectations may have been more of a molehill than a mountain!  The evidence from the recent IQPC Conference ‘ELNs and Laboratory Informatics’, held in London, seems to indicate that a cautious progression towards deployment has been the preferred strategy for the early adopters.  There is a growing body of evidence being reported through case studies, that due consideration has been given to issues such as legal acceptance of electronic patent evidence, return on investment, long term preservation of electronic records and user acceptance, and in return, real benefits in time saving and operational efficiency are accruing.  With a continued level of investment, predicted at 30% annually by Michael Elliott, President, Atrium Research, the ELN market can look forward to a busy few years.

However, upon closer examination, a significant number of the case studies that have been reported are still in ‘pilot’ mode.  Again, this is a preferred strategy for deployment and a successful pilot will provide the basis for further investment to underwrite a full scale production roll-out.  But it seems that so far only a few large organisations have got to the point of full deployment and the subsequent withdrawal of the bound paper laboratory notebook.  So are the full scale production deployments still delivering the expected benefits?  The few organisations that have presented data are indeed confirming this; and what’s more, they are often reporting a number of non-quantifiable benefits as well.

So, getting back to the Gartner Hype Cycles, does this mean that we are through the ‘hype’ peak, and that the ELN market can look forward to a steady progression in terms of sales, from the vendors’ perspective, and successful deployments from the customers’ perspective?  The evidence seems to support this, although it is important to appreciate that the size and complexity of the organisation may be a factor in determining how soon the benefits start to accrue.

More information :

Gartner Hype Cycles

 


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