A few days ago, we released the R&D Cool Vendors list. Similar to selecting the right plants for our yard, filtering the right technology-based vendors for this report required a fair bit of attention. We sought vendors that enable “Digital R&D” and innovation strategies that:
- Operate at the intersection of scientific, laboratory and engineering-related processes;
- Leverage the nexus of forces, and IoT-enabled devices;
- Place “people,” “business process” and “things” on near equal-footing with a focus on analytics;
- Support the R&D shift from “externalized / transactional’ to “distributed R&D network” innovation models.
I’m not one to have “lawn envy,” but I’ve always wanted my yard to have some uniqueness. However, I know my limitations. If I did all the work, my lawn would resemble a dusty, barren Martian landscape or a sad dust bowl from the Great Depression (#yardfail on Twitter & Instagram…). In the past, I’ve made some odd assumptions or didn’t pay attention to warning signs – over-watering, under-watering, planting too early or desiccating the crap out of them with too much sun…..and then there are the grubs. Sometimes I let the local pests and residents chew on roots….ugh.
After a trip to the garden store, I was hit with a zillion varieties of perennials and annuals, foreign and local, etc. Most plants looked like they would be nice additions…..but I recognize that most combinations don’t go well together, and that other plants will just be a royal pain to maintain. There are an overwhelming number of options and even more ways to accidentally kill your investments through mismanagement or neglect.
There were a zillion niche software tools to choose from in this broad R&D space, too – some were sickly, lame “perennials” that probably wouldn’t make it more than a season..and then a lot of discounted “annuals” that looked good but didn’t have potential to transform the yard. We don’t want to dig up things after eight months and replace them with something else, unless it delivers something special for the time we want it. (Hey – bimodal yard maintenance ….) So Gartner did the weeding out for you and this year, seedlings include some promising technologies that will hopefully take root with the right care and nurturing.
The 2016 cool vendors all align to the different portions of “Digital R&D” mentioned above. Hopefully they will begin to flourish, survive the winter and add more color, variety and some differentiation:
- Citrine Informatics — a novel, cloud-based materials informatics platform that leverages machine learning to predict and optimize arbitrary properties of both existing and new materials and chemicals in real-world use cases;
- iTiZZiMO — an enabler of the laboratory of the future, with digital technologies, such as smart laboratory glasses with augmented data layers and collaboration technologies;
- Paradigm4 — a scalable scientific database for integrating and analyzing massive sets of complex and diverse data;
- Signals — a SaaS-based portfolio intelligence solution for decision support and ongoing insights that leverages external evidence-based data;
- StackWave — a software and service vendor that has developed a unique laboratory instrument administration and performance monitoring tool.
- We also included an update for Core Informatic, a cloud based informatics provider w/ ELN & LIMS capabilities with a marketplace for applications from our inaugural R&D report. It is important to keep a score card for how well the vendors do after being mentioned in reports like this.
As my 11-year-olds say “ bland is sooo boring.” So… I did some lawn-research on my own, hit Youtube, and talked to the vendors (garden stores) & consultants (my neighbor is a Rock Star with his lawn). I also transitioned from an internal FTE model to a landscaping outsourcing model (both for strategy help, implementation, and maintenance).
As with these cool vendors, and other cool ones that you’ve found on your own, hopefully, we can collectively keep our R&D IT yard both healthy and differentiated.