Integrated Informatics: Single Vendor vs. “Best of Breed”

Your organization has actively embraced laboratory informatics tools to help increase your lab’s efficiency and effectiveness, information availability across the enterprise, innovation and discovery, and collaboration amongst your scientists and partners.  While the laboratory informatics solutions you currently have implemented have enabled you to make great strides, in order to get to the next level, you need to implement a fully Integrated Informatics Solution (IIS).  The goal of an IIS is to connect all your laboratory information systems (LIMS, ELN, SDMS, etc.), instrument systems (CDS, MS, balances, etc.), business and manufacturing systems, and reporting and analytics tools such that the data and information flows seamlessly between them.

Webinar: "LIMS Instrument Interfacing - The Times They Are A-Changing"

Fully integrated informatics solutions can be implemented by following two distinct approaches: Single Vendor or “Best of Breed”.  The single vendor/platform approach by definition entails implementing a solution and architecture that comes with all of the informatics systems already integrated.  The multi-vendor/best of breed approach, however, will require you to integrate the individual informatics point solutions within the architecture that you have established.  Integration to other systems in either approach should be supported.  There are advantages/benefits and disadvantages/challenges with either approach.

Recently, CSols has been receiving more requests to compare and contrast these two approaches.  Leveraging our informatics expertise and experience as well as through research and investigation, we have determined the key differentiators between the two approaches.  We even gave a presentation on this topic at a recent Partner User Conference.  However, attempting to relate all the relevant information here, in this blog, is not really feasible.  There is just too much to go through.  Rather, we have included a link to the Single Vendor vs. “Best of Breed” presentation and we invite you to review it at your leisure.

Click here to access the Presentation:

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To be clear, our intention is not to make a decision for you as to which approach is best for your organization.  Rather, our goal is to provide both the pros and cons of each approach and provide you with some guidance as to how you can reach your own decision.  As is true with any informatics solution selection, it will be critical for you to understand and fully document your business and laboratory needs and requirements.  However, when deciding on your IIS approach, there are several additional factors such as your IT infrastructure, architecture, resource availability, and culture that will need to be considered as well.

Webinar: "Integrated Informatics Solution: Single vs Best of Breed"

Have you implemented a fully Integrated Informatics Solution?  If so, tell us which approach you used.  What were the pros and cons of the approach selected? If you had to do it again would you use the same approach?  If not, are you planning to implement one soon?

Related Reading: Implementation and Integration of Thermo Scientific SampleManager LIMS™ v11.1

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2 responses to “Integrated Informatics: Single Vendor vs. “Best of Breed””

  1. note – this issue is discussed in the book: Computerized Systems in the Modern Laboratory: A Practical Guide

  2. Greg says:

    Ok I am going to look at this from a UK perspective.
    For consideration…
    The UK attempted this as part of the NPfIT / CfH (National Programme for It and Connecting for health).
    However this has been pretty much abandoned for two reasons:
    – Too ambitious, no systems can fit all
    – Too many systems to integrate and work together.
    Most people understand their own system and requirements but very few (if any) actually understand what other department requirements are.. eg : Radiology doesnt understand Pathology, Ward staff dont understand what gives them the ability to view Pathology results in the allocated time they need.
    Also NHS staff are under increasing pressure to deliver results, this comes under an umbrella of under investment, no new staff coming forward and dedicated staff either retiring or moving on..
    The Executive does not realise the difficulty and the dependancy of Ward staff to rely on Pathology, Radiology…etc results for diagnosis. For example although some POCT tests are now available the AE staff are totally dependant on results (24/7) from other support departments which are invariably understaffed and unmotivated…
    The hit to be taken to new systems would have a crucial impacy on existing systems. A lot of work has gone in to integrate these systems to ensure that they can all talk to each other in a timely PAS to EPR to Pathology to Radiology…etc..
    Yep in an ideal world it would be great but it needs a tremendous amount of realistic requirements study to see what is really needed including experts in each discipline..A top down ‘Just do it’ approach would be hopeless for delivery of the service and the safety of the patients…
    Sorry Ive been there many times before and I know the risks and the complications…good luck..Greg

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