Most organizations use an abstract management system that falls in one of the following categories:
- Custom-built: a system or platform that is specifically built for the specialized requirements of that organization. This type of system may be developed and sold by a third party, or may be developed by the organization itself using internal resources. Ongoing development and maintenance is usually the responsibility of the organization who owns the system, using their own internal resources.
Pros: Built specifically to a customer’s own specifications and needs.
Cons: Can be very expensive to develop; requires ongoing investment and resources for development and maintenance, which can be difficult for some organizations to sustain.
- Configurable: a system or platform that is built on a pre-defined framework by a third-party provider, with key areas that can be customized to match a customer’s desired call for abstracts process and flow. Some of the areas that can typically be customized include: the number of steps a submitter or reviewer must follow; the submission and review questions; the types of fields that are used for each question; field requirements and limitations/restrictions; etc. A configurable system also makes it easy to build and run custom reports and emails. The provider is responsible for ongoing development and maintenance. And, these types of systems are usually delivered as a full-service solution, meaning the provider handles setup and support for the customer.
Pros: Cost-effective; dedicated project contact for setup and support; built to support best practices in abstract management
Cons: May require workarounds if a customer has very unique, customized requirements
- Out of the box/SaaS: a self-serve system. Once purchased, the customer is responsible for all set-up and configuration. These systems are less flexible, with pre-defined options available for forms and fields. Some online technical support may be provided to customers and end-users.
Pros: Tend to be lower in cost
Cons: Need to use internal resources for setup; less flexible for more customized processes and flows; customer does not have a dedicated point of contact for technical support and assistance.