Make the Digital Transition in Your Lab: Addressing Concerns Regarding ELN Adoption

Digital Solutions

scientist on computer
For people who are hesitant to adopt new technology, a major concern is losing technology competency that they already have.
Image source: Flickr user Robert Scoble

I’ve frequently been surrounded by people who are a little scared to make digital transitions. I have had colleagues who would rather manually enter 50 references into a manuscript, write down data on a legal pad and proofread manuscripts with an actual red pen than spend 30 minutes learning a much more efficient digital alternative. I’ve never had that fear of digital transition; rather, I recognize that digital solutions will typically decrease my workload, decrease errors and simplify tasks. Now, having said that, I also recognize that a digital transition can make some people uncomfortable largely because of preconceptions based on prior bad experiences and word of mouth. These events can have a lasting effect on how people perceive new technology adoption.

An electronic laboratory notebook (ELN) is another digital transition that some people are hesitant to make. Users are often concerned that implementation will be lengthy and time consuming and that the transition won’t allow them to use their favorite software. As with other digital formats, users may also be concerned that their digital notebooks will not be secure and are at risk for loss in the event of hardware failure. Fortunately, the Accelrys Notebook is the answer to these concerns. It is time to dispel myths about digital transition and address some of these common concerns among those afraid of taking the digital leap.

Concern Number One: Training and roll-out will take too long. Sometimes new technologies can be difficult to install and learn. Users like interfaces that can be learned in practice and don’t require a manual. However, poor system design can make user interfaces counterintuitive and frustrating for new users to adopt. Since most firms can’t sacrifice weeks of operations and productivity to implement an ELN, it is important to choose a system that has a proven track record of simple implementation and user ease. The Accelrys Notebook has over a decade of demonstrated use as an easy-to-use, easy-to-deploy, on-site ELN solution. Researchers can expect to be fully trained in one hour, with simple online access ready to go in less than five minutes.

computer users
With Accelrys Notebook, researchers can expect to be fully trained in one hour with simple online access ready to go in less than five minutes.
Image source: Flickr user HackNY

Concern Number Two: We won’t be able to use current software. When scientific software requires an extensive investment of time to really learn and become competent with, some users may be hesitant to adopt a new system for fear of losing the familiar. The Accelrys Notebook is not a replacement for complex, industry-specific software; rather, it is a complement to it. Users will still use their scientific software as before, but use the ELN to store and share the results and analyses. The system can accept image files, pdfs, data files and more for attachment to notebook entries. The Accelrys Notebook even offers tight spreadsheet software integration.

Concern Number Three: Digital storage isn’t secure. The digital world is scary, especially to users who grew up pre-internet. My 61-year-old dad still thinks that he’ll immediately have his credit card information stolen if he makes a purchase online. He “doesn’t get into that stuff,” as if it’s some dangerous black-market. The idea of storing important or private information on the great World Wide Web is a real concern that should not be taken lightly, especially for firms dealing with proprietary information. Accelrys pulls out all the stops, however, regarding digital security. Programmable automatic back-ups make sure that your data is saved in the event of a disaster. Furthermore, electronic traffic to and from the researcher is encrypted and data securely managed by Oracle or SQL Servers.

Data security is a real concern for users making the digital transition.
Image source: Flicker user Perspecsys Photos

If you think your lab is ready to take the leap into the digital world, let the experienced individuals at Accelrys help your firm ease through the process. Visit the Accelrys website to learn more about how your lab can make a simple digital transition with the Accelrys Notebook.

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