If you’ve read Part 1 of our blog series on the “World’s Best LIMS” you will already know that there isn’t really such a beast lurking in the lab informatics jungle. There are just too many variables and factors to be weighed when determining the best LIMS for your lab organization and enterprise. In Part 1 we explored the factors of Industry, Lab Type and IT Architecture to see how they can affect the determination of the “World’s Best LIMS”. In this second installment of the blog series we will take a look at several more factors and variables and explore their effects on the choosing the “World’s Best LIMS”.
The number, type, and availability of LIMS resources to plan, implement and then support your solution will be critical when determining the best LIMS for you. Successfully selecting and implementing a traditional LIMS solution, depending on the project size and complexity (i.e. number of users, locations, functional areas, languages, etc.), can require a plethora of resources from IT, the labs, management, and other stakeholder organizations. For organizations that are resource limited, lack resources with the applicable background and skills, and are not able to secure outside, 3rd party LIMS expertise, the lack of LIMS resources may drive the choice of LIMS solution to:
- Software as a Service (SaaS) LIMS – A SaaS LIMS can be hosted in the cloud, thereby reducing the need for IT resources to install and maintain your LIMS, perform backups, etc. Assigning a resource to be your LIMS administrator from within your lab or IT organization would still be recommended.
- Functionally Rich, Out-of-the-Box LIMS (OOB) – A LIMS with rich OOB functionality, will come with extensive features, capabilities and functions that you can tailor and make use of right away. The effort required and therefore the number and types of resources needed to implement these systems can be significantly lower. Administering and maintaining these systems will still require a LIMS administrator from within your lab or IT organization.
Specialty LIMS – As we discussed in Part 1 of this blog, there are many specialty LIMS available on the market today. These purpose-built LIMS solutions will have industry specific and specialized functions built-in to serve the niche industry that the LIMS was designed for. So compared to a general purpose LIMS, the effort and number of resources needed to tailor your solution to meet your needs may be less compared to a general purpose LIMS.
You would be making a big mistake if you believed that company politics will have little effect on the selection of the best LIMS for your organization. We can’t tell you how many times we have seen the choice of the best LIMS for an organization get completely co-opted by a high level individual in the company who happens to “like” a particular LIMS or knows someone they trust who does. No thought is given as to whether that particular LIMS satisfies the needs of the lab or the company. All that
matters is that upper management has spoken!
Company politics driving the choice and utilization of a particular LIMS is especially prevalent when a merger and/or acquisition have taken place. In these situations, it is often not just a high level person who has a preference but rather whole organizations will have a preference based on their having a vested interest in keeping what they are already using and are comfortable with. The politics here can be driven by who is the dominant organization/company, which may not necessarily be the organization with the best LIMS for the combined, new company!
One of the most frequent questions we are asked, and a huge factor to consider when determining the “World’s Best LIMS” for you, is the total cost of ownership of the LIMS solution. We have explored what constitutes the total costs for a LIMS project previously, so we will not go in to details on all the contributing factors here. What does warrant repeating is that it is very important that one compares “Apples to Apples” when analyzing the costs for different LIMS solutions. Care must be taken that one is looking at the same number and types of LIMS licenses as well as what is standard functionality in each LIMS and what are the extra cost modules.
At the end of the day, you may have determined what the best LIMS for your lab is technically but justifying the cost of that solution is just not feasible. Justifying your LIMS is a critical aspect to successfully attaining funding for your project. LIMS justifications consist of both quantitative and qualitative factors and while quantitative savings and efficiencies are very important, it is often the qualitative factors, especially when replacing a current LIMS, which truly drive attaining your budget.
How did you address these three factors when determining the “World’s Best LIMS” for your organization?