OpenApps: A Marketplace of Solutions
In addition to the apps, modules, and plug-ins themselves, there are of course the solution providers and consultants who bring their deep industry knowledge, helping others with the acquisition and maintenance processes. That knowledge includes everything from identifying needs and solutions to actually implementing them—setting up, configuring, validating, interfacing, etc.—and keeping them running. The web-based nature of the community means anyone can participate in that knowledge acquisition and sharing process from anywhere, any time.
Similarly, the OpenApp Marketplace facilitates the sale and purchase of equipment and supplies. From standards and reagents to instruments and devices—or even general office supplies for your lab, medical facility, agency, or office—you're able to easily search for and order from the marketplace, where you can comparison shop and find your best value, whether it's new or used. You can even list your own items for sale or trade.
The effects of all of these community-based platform features are that the laboratory, scientific, and medical community benefits. Some of those results are:
- Lower total solution cost: It's a free market, and that means all the natural laws of supply and demand and real value-based competition work to provide the community with the best quality goods and services at the best prices. And all of the processes are made more efficient through availability and easy comparison shopping, which means lower costs and shorter time frames for implementations and project completions. And that adds up to a lower overall solution cost.
- Future-proof solutions: The fact that solutions are continually used and thus tested in the real world by the community means that feedback and resulting updates are also continuous. That means maximized responsiveness so that the risk of obsolescence is reduced to the point of near-negligibility. And even as some apps may inevitably reach the end of their potential, there are always new ones being generated to perform the same functions better and more efficiently. The OpenApps community is the best hedge against future irrelevance or non-competitiveness there could be.
- Increased value for users: All of this means the users win. In a flat, even marketplace with the free flow of information and availability of apps and resources, the best value propositions win.
The equation looks like this:
Solution = Apps + Community
...where community is LabLynx plus our clients and other stakeholders, all working together providing services in conjunction with software, to create solutions specific to the laboratory's needs, not only meeting today's needs, but also with the built-in ability to adapt as the lab and market demand.
This expression illustrates the fact that a total data management solution for the customer is a function of the solution edition chosen; the vendor services employed to set up, configure, train, etc.; and the community contributions. While the first two are simply additive, the vast range of community involvement makes it a multiplier. That involvement can include any of:
- identifying requirements;
- testing and validating individual functions;
- testing and validating full solutions;
- providing feedback while driving iterative development;
- creating peer discussion via an exchange of ideas and experiences regarding the apps, services, and providers; and
- offering competitive alternatives.
So many aspects of community-based development that involve end-users combine to build value in a given solution; it functions as a multiplier of that value. And that can greatly surpass the legacy model of closed development in efficient, speedy, and effective advancement. Also, by its nature, it is as closely allied to the end-users' needs as possible, ultimately providing maximum customer satisfaction in continuously innovative ways.