It’s a funny thing but if you ask anyone who has been involved in the LIMS industry for any length of time, they will uniformly agree that Phase 2 of LIMS implementation projects rarely, if ever, come to fruition.
Is this because breaking a LIMS implementation into multiple phases is wrong? Not really. There are perfectly good reasons to do so like: lack of time, money or resources to do the full implementation in one go. Nor can you say that laboratories do not truly intend on fully completing all of the phases of their LIMS projects because they do. It’s just that it is very common that Phase 2 quietly never gets kicked off and over time it simply fades away.
I guess not getting to those Phase 2 requirements might not be all that terrible. Think about it. If the laboratory requirements that have been relegated to Phase 2 were all that important, then wouldn’t the lab scientist be up in arms when he noticed they weren’t there? Wouldn’t the lab supervisors complain about all the manual results and calculation checking they still had to perform? Wouldn’t the managers exclaim about their lack of information and lab KPIs? But that does not happen. The truth of the matter is too often the scientists, supervisors, and managers either put up with it or come up with less efficient work-arounds.
Capabilities and Features You’re Missing
This is bad enough, but when you further look into what often is put off to Phase 2, the situation really becomes ugly. What you will find is that some of the greatest efficiency and productivity enhancing capabilities of the LIMS get pushed to the ghost Phase 2. Things like automated reporting, instrument interfacing, automated training records, instrument calibration and maintenance, LIMS integration to business and manufacturing systems, and management dashboards. The implementation of these capabilities is often the backbone of the business justification for the LIMS in the first place. And even more important, implementing these types of capabilities really shows the value of the LIMS to the scientists, supervisors and managers.
Getting to Phase 2
So dust off your requirements document, review your LIMS Justification, pull out your LIMS Implementation Plan and bring those Phase 2 capabilities to life! You will greatly improve your laboratory organization’s productivity and efficiency. You could even improve your whole operation. And your LIMS user satisfaction will soar.
If it seems like too much for you to do on your own, never fear. There are informatics consulting organizations that can help you complete your LIMS implementation and make your Phase 2 ghosts corporeal. When selecting a consulting organization to assist you is completing your LIMS you should ensure that they are:
- Experts in your particular LIMS
- Experts in laboratory work processes, laboratory data and information flow, and instrument and systems integration (get references!)
- Domain experts (i.e. your industry and your type of lab)
- IT experts
- Regulatory experts (if your lab is in a regulated environment)
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Tell us about your experience with getting to Phase 2. Did you break your LIMS implementation into multiple phases? Did you ever get to Phase 2? If so, how did you keep the momentum going? If not, do you wish you had?