What does requirements gathering imply?
Have you ever been in a situation when you have a problem (e.g., all sequencing data produced by your company is analyzed by different people using different tools, which makes it incomparable), you need a solution (e.g., a centralized unique way of analyzing all sequencing data and distributing the analysis results among your colleagues)… but you do not know the details. In this example, you know you need a unique analysis workflow, but which one? How will the data be collected? Will the analysis be federated or centralized on one server? These and many more questions related to finding the optimal solution can be daunting, especially when you need to deliver such a solution to a large group of stakeholders.
This is what we call requirements gathering: asking all relevant stakeholders what their data looks like and how they want it to be analyzed, what do they like in the current solution and what they would like to see different, what are their expectations of the new solution. The process of collecting all this information, processing it to make it structured and answering a few key questions, and storing all this information in one place accessible for you is what we call requirements gathering.
Why is requirements gathering important
Nowadays, in the world of IT abundance and complexity, it is often difficult to find the right solution that would fit your specific use case the best. Architecture and IT infrastructure can now be so sophisticated that almost any need a researcher or a clinician might have, however, countless opportunities and possibilities come with a price. To build a sophisticated infrastructure that fits your user group and user requirements perfectly, you often need to have a very extensive background in the field (e.g., translational medicine or cancer genomics), to have an IT education and to spend a lot, a lot of time talking to all key stakeholders and identifying their needs and expectations. But without requirement gathering, you have a high chance of having a sub-optimal solution that will have to be replaced in just a few years due to its inefficiency. You increase the chances of missing key functionality (e.g., scalability or missing support for the most relevant use cases). Without proper requirements gathering you might also have the opposite time of problem – when building a tool that “checks all the boxes” of the requirements coming from your colleagues, you might overshoot the solution you actually need and end up with a more expensive and unnecessarily extensive toolkit than your use cases originally required.
How The Hyve helps
Hiring an external provider to do a professional service of requirements gathering is very popular nowadays, when you understand that, unless you work at an IT company yourself, you often need experience and expertise from the outside.
At The Hyve we have a lot of experience with requirements gathering for different applications and at different levels. In one of our projects, we worked with a research medical center and gathered requirements for one of the architecture layers, namely a data exchange system for patient information, clinical trials results and genomic data. In another project, we worked with researchers who were in need of a federated data warehouse and helped them identify the list of requirements for their optimal solution. Whether you need to get feedback from IT professionals from your R&D IT department, or biologists and researchers who are not very technically advanced but know the biological relevance very well, we can always help you. Our diverse team of data scientists, software developers, system administrators and solution architects, as well as project managers and principal consultants, will make sure that the process of requirements gathering is performed professionally with any audience. We specialize in bio-IT and medical informatics, and our extensive background in biology and bioinformatics makes us an even better fit to do requirements gathering for your project in the area of Life Sciences.