Reputable scientific computing consultants don’t say these things.

Today’s Life Science and biopharmaceutical research processes rely heavily on high-performance computing technology. Your scientific computing partner plays a major role in supporting discovery and guaranteeing positive research outcomes.

It should come as no surprise that not just anyone can fulfill such a crucial role. Life Science executives and research teams place a great deal of trust in their scientific computing advisors – it’s vital that you have absolute confidence in their abilities.

But not all scientific computing vendors are equally capable, and it can be difficult to tell whether you’re dealing with a real expert. Pay close attention to the things vendors say and be on the lookout for any of these five indicators that they may not have what it takes to handle your research firm’s IT needs.

5 Things Your Scientific Computing Vendor Should Never Say 

If you feel like your partner could be doing more to optimize research processes and improve outcomes, pay close attention to some of the things they say. Any one of these statements can be cause for concern in a scientific computing partnership:

1. “But you never told us you needed that.”

Scientific computing is a dynamic field, with ongoing research into emerging technologies leading to a constant flow of new discoveries and best practices. Your scientific computing partner can’t assume it’s your job to stay on top of those developments. They must be proactive, offering solutions and advice even when not specifically solicited.

Your focus should be on core life science research – not how the latest high-performance computing hardware may impact that research. A great scientific computing vendor will understand what you need and recommend improvements to your processes of their own initiative.  

2. “It worked for our other clients.” 

It doesn’t matter what “it” is. The important part is that your scientific computing vendor is explicitly comparing you to one of your competitors. This indicates a “one-size-fits-all” mentality that does not predict success in the challenging world of Life Science research.

Every Life Science research firm is unique especially with respect to their processes. Setting up and supporting a compute environment involves assessing and responding to a wide variety of unique challenges. If your computing vendor doesn’t recognize those challenges as unique, they are probably ignoring valuable opportunities to help you improve research outcomes.

3. “Yes, we are specialists in that field too.” 

There is little room for jacks-of-all-trades in the world of scientific computing. Creating, implementing, and maintaining scientific computing frameworks to support research outcomes requires in-depth understanding and expertise. Life Science research has a unique set of requirements that other disciplines do not generally share.

If your Life Science computing vendor also serves research organizations in other disciplines, it may indicate a lack of specialization. It might mean that you don’t really have reliable field-specific expertise on-hand but a more general advisor who may not always know how best to help you achieve research outcomes.

4. “We met the terms of our service-level agreement.”

This should be a good thing, but watch out for scientific computing vendors who use it defensively. Your vendors may be more focused on meeting their own standards and abiding by contractually defined service-level agreements than helping you generate value through scientific research.

Imagine what happens when your project’s standards and objectives come into conflict with your vendor’s revenue model. If your vendor doesn’t have your best interests at heart, falling back to the service-level agreement is a convenient defense mechanism.

5. “We’re the only approved partner your company can use.”

If the primary reason you’re working with a specific vendor is that they are the only approved partner within your company, that’s a problem. It means you have no choice but to use their services, regardless of how good or bad they might be.

Giving anyone monopolistic control over the way your research team works is a risky venture. If you don’t have multiple approved vendors to choose from, you may need to make your case to company stakeholders and enact change.

Don’t Miss Out on Scientific Computing Innovation 

There are many opportunities your Life Science research firm may be positioned to capitalize on, but most of them rely on a productive partnership with your scientific computing vendor. Life Science organizations can no longer accept scientific computing services that are merely “good enough” when the alternative is positive transformational change. 

RCH Solutions is a global provider of computational science expertise, helping Life Sciences and Healthcare firms of all sizes clear the path to discovery for nearly 30 years. If you’re interesting in learning how RCH can support your goals, get in touch with us here. 

Michael Riener

Michael oversees the executive management of RCH, including the company’s overall strategic direction, and brings more than 25 years of experience to his role.