Marlborough, MA – Imagine this: A company has identified a new digital capability that could potentially address a problem or gap within their laboratories. They have heard good things about it and decide to investigate the technology’s utility by launching a pilot. Progress is made in addressing a specific requirement, but it never gets implemented on a broader scale within the enterprise. The cycle repeats itself until eventually, the lab becomes a patchwork of projects and islands of information. It has entered pilot purgatory.

Sound familiar? Chances are yes, considering how commonplace this phenomenon is. Research by Accenture has shown that up to 84% of technology implementations get stuck in this in-between state. For the unfamiliar, pilot purgatory is a state of stasis where many projects are successful in their own niches but fail to expand across the organization. This means there is little chance of justifying the upfront cost and effort and realizing an acceptable return on investment. In short, it’s like the pilot for a new TV show failing to get picked up as a series because the studio doesn’t think it’ll bring in viewers.

There are a multitude of reasons why pilots fall into this void. A common cause is that the technology is not a solution to an existing problem but a solution looking for a problem. Basically, companies will see a new technology and want to use it without clearly identifying how it would work with the company’s existing products and/or services or how it might scale to the enterprise. Sometimes there’s a legitimate reason, but many are often contrived. Other examples include not involving key stakeholders from across the organization in the definition and deployment or hiring a company that does not have sufficient experience implementing large-scale projects. There are more culprits for the existence of pilot purgatory, but let’s leave them for now and focus instead on…

How to avoid pilot purgatory altogether! Much like the reasons for its existence, there are a number of ways to ensure it is never encountered at all. The first one is simple: don’t try to find your project’s purpose during the pilot – it should be clearly defined and focused on business outcomes before you begin. Ask how it fits with the company’s overall long-term strategy. Focus on what the end-user needs to solve a real problem, not something abstract. Furthermore, get the right people with the right skills involved early.

Quite a lot to take in, right? Fortunately, there is help, and because it’s a new year, why not start it with a new approach? At Scitara, we have the tools and the know-how to help you ensure your technology deployments are driven by business goals and can be expanded throughout the organization so they never end up in pilot purgatory. Check out our latest podcast Escaping Pilot Purgatory to learn more and please contact us, we would love to hear from you!

About Scitara
Scitara is a global provider of cloud-based, industry-specific platform and solutions for the life sciences industry. Based in Massachusetts, the Scitara leadership brings decades of experience in solving digital challenges for the scientific laboratory: Meet the Modern Lab™. For more information, please visit

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Scitara Corporation