Process Automation vs Process Change

To improve a technical process, technology may not be the answer.

The main output of a Biotech Experiment Factory is data that can be turned into knowledge, insights, etc.

So a large part of scaling biotech is getting better at collecting data from processes.

But depending on where the process starts from, this can be a very different kind of problem.

If the process data is collected in an Excel sheet and you want to start collecting it in a database, that’s a technology problem that can be solved with a web app.

If it’s currently collected in an email, that requires more than technology: Capturing structured data in a table requires more precise thinking and reduces flexibility.

(It pushes the process towards the consistency end of the flexibility/consistenct trade-off.)

The people involved will have to fundamentally change the way they interact.

If the process doesn’t even involve email documentation, and is handled differently each time…

It’s probably too soon to start designing that web app.

Often the human side of a process will need to be significantly changed, or even created, before it’s ready for technology.

Organizations need to be very deliberate about identifying which kinds of problems they have, who they send to fix them, and how they go about it.