Whether you are looking for your first LIMS or replacing your current LIMS, you will eventually find yourself trying to determine which LIMS vendors are the top vendors so you can evaluate their solutions. However, determining who the Top LIMS Vendors are is not so simple. There really is not a list somewhere on the net that will accurately provide you this information. Why is this? One good reason is that there tends to be quite a bit of churn in the LIMS market with vendors entering and leaving the market on a regular basis. However, the main reason is that there are many factors to consider when trying to determine who the Top LIMS Vendors are, some of which we will explore in this blog.
Multi-purpose LIMS vs. Purpose-built LIMS
In order to satisfy the needs of potential customers, LIMS vendors have taken two primary solution approaches. These are Multi-purpose LIMS and Purpose-built LIMS.
Approach 1: Multi-purpose LIMS
The fist approach is the development of multi-purpose, broad featured LIMS that can be configured and customized to fit most customers’ needs regardless of industry or lab type. The flexibility and the plethora of additional added-value modules (Stability, Inventory, etc.) that are offered with these systems make them very attractive to many organizations. The trade-off here is that these
LIMS may require a considerable investment of time and money to implement them to exactly fit a customer’s needs. This, however, has been addressed and mitigated by these vendors by offering LIMS templates (i.e. Pharmaceutical QC, Biobanking, Clinical Diagnostics, etc.) that can be used as an implementation starting point for specific industries and lab types.
Approach 2: Purpose-built LIMS
The second approach is the development of a purpose-built LIMS where the LIMS is designed for a particular type of lab and industry. By narrowing their target market, the solutions offered by the LIMS vendors taking this approach will provide specialized and deep functionality in that particular space. Configuration and customization may still be required but not necessarily at the level of a multi-purpose LIMS. The trade-off here is that the purpose-built LIMS may not be a good fit for your organization if you are not in that particular space and some of their internal constructs may not be as flexible as you need. A good example of a purpose-built LIMS is a Forensic LIMS or a Water Quality LIMS.
So depending on whether you are looking for a multi-purpose, broad featured LIMS or a purpose-built LIMS, the list of the Top LIMS Vendors will be different.
LIMS Vendor and System Stability
When attempting to determine the Top LIMS Vendors it is always critical to consider the stability and viability of each vendor and system. Factors to consider include:
- Company Size
- # of Employees
- Years in Business
- Financial Stability / Profitability
- # of Systems Successfully Implemented
- # of Users
- IT Technology / Architecture Used
However, each customer will have its own “appetite for risk”. Perhaps your company culture is oriented towards gaining a competitive advantage by being early adopters of technology. If so, then you should look for a new, young LIMS vendor who’s LIMS, while virtually untested, offers new, exciting features and benefits. Or perhaps your company culture is particularly risk adverse. Then you would only consider LIMS vendors who have been in business and profitable for over a decade or more who use tried and true technology. Or maybe you are somewhat in the middle and the idea of being “a big fish in a smaller pond” appeals to you and the use of newer but not “bleeding edge” technology is acceptable.
So depending on your viewpoint and culture, the list of the Top LIMS Vendors will be different.
LIMS Vendor Services
It is inevitable that with a software system as complex as a modern LIMS, you will eventually run into some glitch or issue with the software. Your internal LIMS administrator or IT department may be able to handle issue triage and some minor fixes but resolving bigger issues and bugs will require you to get help from your LIMS vendor. Therefore, the availability and quality of the LIMS vendor’s support staff, as well as how an escalation of issues is handled by the LIMS vendor, will be a large factor in determining the Top LIMS Vendors.
Even the most Out-Of-Box (OOB) oriented LIMS which advertise virtual “plug and play” use will require some configuration and setup. Additionally, most LIMS solutions require considerable configuration and may even require some customization to satisfy your needs. Therefore, the number, quality, and availability of the LIMS vendor’s implementation staff will be a large factor in determining the Top LIMS Vendors. The significance of this factor, however, can be minimized if 3rd party resources and subject matter experts can be sourced and utilized to supplement the vendor’s staff.
Satisfying LIMS Requirements
The most important factor to assess when compiling your Top LIMS Vendors list is whether or not their LIMS solution can satisfy your needs and requirements. Of course, making this determination requires your organization to have fully explored, documented, and prioritized your needs and requirements. Doing so to the degree necessary to truly differentiate between LIMS vendors and their LIMS solutions often requires the utilization of specialized, subject matter experts with extensive LIMS experience who can assist you in this endeavor.
→ Related Reading: Laboratory Informatics Implementation Planning – Don’t Forget!
So at the end of the day, determining who the Top LIMS Vendors are is not a simple task. There is no simple list that you can use to look this up and even if there was, who the Top LIMS Vendors are for you and your organization will be dependent on many factors that all must be taken into consideration.
Have you determined who you believe the Top LIMS Vendors are? Did you assess all the factors discussed above in making your determination? What other factors did you assess in compiling your Top LIMS Vendors list?