More and more companies have adopted laboratory informatics systems to support their operations. The earliest adopters have seen their versions of LIMS go off support. Despite years of relative satisfaction and trouble-free service from their LIMS, these customers need an upgrade. This is the case for one of our clients.
A Canadian mining company wanted their SampleManager LIMS™ 10.5 migrated to the newer version 12.3. Their old system was no longer supported by Thermo Scientific™, and if they did not make the upgrade, Thermo would not be able to answer requests for help on their system. In the mining and chemicals industries, there are no regulations that force upgrades to maintain data integrity compliance. However, once the point of no return is reached with an older version of a LIMS, any upgrade or change is often more complex than if the process had been undertaken incrementally at regular intervals.
CSols was recommended for this work by Thermo and functioned as a subcontractor on this project.
Objectives and Challenges
The goal of this project was to upgrade the client’s existing SampleManager LIMS to a supported platform. If this work had not been performed and the system had developed a serious problem, the client would not have been able to count on support from Thermo.
The biggest challenge was bringing some of their old customized functionality forward into the new system. This included form modifications (mostly VGL forms, but some newer ones too).
The client first had to install the latest version of Oracle to enable this upgrade. Any company contemplating an upgrade from a legacy system to a newer version may need to make infrastructure changes. In the client’s case, this did not cause serious problems but was just another item that had to be completed prior to the start of data migration. However, everyone should be aware that upgrades to supporting systems also may be needed as part of the LIMS upgrade process, and these should be budgeted accordingly.
CSols’s Role in the Solution
The CSols consultant took on the roles of both Business Analyst and Developer for this project.
Having both roles fulfilled by the same person ensured that the system assessment didn’t get lost in translation and that the customized functionality the client had built over many years was configured into the new system. The consultant’s deep knowledge of both v10.5 and v12.3 made the upgrade process more efficient and precise. Deliverables that the consultant provided included the following:
- Migrate static data from SampleManager LIMS 10.5 to 12.3
- Modify the new system structure file to handle all the custom fields and other data from the older system
- Update some new Windows-based forms as well as some old VGL-based forms with fields and functions to replicate customized functionality from the legacy system
- The standard LIMS forms in 12.3 were modified to be able to handle the VGL-based data from the old system
- Test the system and provide hypercare support as testing went into a mode where CNRL personnel were responsible for testing/production usage
- The older SampleManager version’s functionality has been fully replicated, but now with a newer, cleaner interface; additional functionality; and faster processes.
- The system can be extended a little at a time, if the client chooses, resulting in easier transitions and training for the users.
- Support and training on the new functions within SampleManager LIMS 12.3.
- Peace of mind knowing that their new system would be supported by Thermo for years to come.
- On-time and on-budget delivery of the migration project, which kept operations moving smoothly for the client.
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