The Human Workflow Defined


The biological Research and Development community is facing many challenges including:

  1. data/information explosion

  2. transition from paper to electronic records (electronic lab notebook)

  3. evolving and changing technologies

  4. Information dissemination

  5. solutions that don’t all work together

Many vendors are expending tremendous energy to provide “solutions” to some of the above individual problems. Generally, these solutions address what we call micro-workflows. Examples might include:

  1. public data integration databases

  2. visualization tools

  3. bioinformatics platforms

  4. laboratory automation systems

  5. electronic laboratory notebooks

  6. instrument platforms and supporting software

The REAL problem is that micro-workflow solutions are typically developed in isolation by individual vendors or IT departments and as a result don’t work well with other micro-solutions. The reality is that the solutions provided in this way are creating a bigger problem: a Human Workflows problem.


What are Human Workflows?

Human workflows are the combination of all the micro-workflows necessary to accomplish goals. Designing effective human workflows requires a detailed understanding of the technical requirements of the individual steps in an entire process as well as how the end-users perform those steps. For example, in a typical laboratory, tissue samples are prepared, logged, and stored. These activities are performed in different locations. Thus it is not sufficient for a LIMS system to catalog sample locations, IDs and preparation protocols if all the data entry has to be performed from a PC terminal. The Human Workflow dictates that a more appropriate solution would allow data entry from a portable device such as a PDA. It is this detailed understanding of the total process map (how people interact with software, machines, and even other scientists) that provides the basis for developing truly successful solutions.


What is the potential cost of not understanding customers’ Human Workflows?

  1. inefficient processes

  2. cost overruns

  3. lost opportunities

  4. missed information

  5. missed communication

  6. losing ground to competitors

  7. redundant work

What is the solution?

Human Workflows, LLC is a consulting company that provides a variety of services to take you from isolated products or services to real Human Workflow solutions. Our unique strength is the dual experience of our staff. Each of our founders has directed and performed research in academic and commercial laboratories. In addition, each founder has significant experience in designing, managing and supporting informatics products and solutions to the life sciences industries. This combination of experience provides us a unique advantage in understanding how solutions should be designed and implemented so that they meet the human and workflow needs of the end-users. We can apply our experience in a number of ways to help you get the most out of your business. Whether you need consulting services, strategic planning, software design and implementation, architectural design for your information management or other related areas, we can help. Please review the types of services we provide and contact us. We are ready to discuss your needs and make sure that your great ideas become successful ideas.

Our three steps are...

  1. Information Integration

  2. Experimental Design and Execution

  3. Results and Information Analysis and Sharing

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