Preparing for the Laboratories of the Future

lab experiment

The field of science is always changing and you as a researcher understand the need to keep on top of the latest technology. It can feel like a daunting task when it comes to choosing the software that will be best for you and your team. Keep reading the article below to learn more so that you can make choices with confidence.

A key feature found in the modern lab is a laboratory information management system, known as a LIMS. With the amount of information that you need to handle and process on a daily basis, it seems only logical to find a software that will do all the hard work for you. 

What is a LIMS software solution and what is its purpose?

This software solution features key elements that support modern laboratories operations. Some of these features include workflow and data support and data exchange interfaces which help researchers to communicate their ideas and pass on information concisely. As in all fields of technology this software is ever expanding, and its capabilities continue to grow every day. The scientific field of life sciences is one of the fields of study that involves a particularly high volume of data and analysis, therefore LIMS software solution would be perfect in helping this kind of laboratory to progress and develop. During the COVID 19 pandemic the value of life science studies has only risen as more funds are being used to develop research in this area. The growth in the area of research has fuelled a growth in the area of software support and as we look to the future, perhaps of other unprecedented biological events, the need for this software is only going to increase.

What are the benefits of a LIMS solution?

In the study of life science there are various avenues of data that need to be compiled from analyses and other instruments. A LMIS system can easily integrate all these different avenues into one concise system. Information is more readily accessible and it’s easier to use. Limited training will be required for many of the staff. The use of the system is often quite self-explanatory. In today’s world of recording highly sensitive information, it can be a worry when it comes to handling this data. The main benefit of a LIMS system is that it solves this problem by offering one secure database to hold the data safely. This will give a laboratory the peace of mind of knowing that their data handling is compliant with the various regulations involved. As the LIMS solution has the purpose of managing workflow, all the staff members involved can be made aware of their responsibilities and of the protocols involved in their task. Regarding the topic of workflow, a LIMS eliminates unnecessary steps which will only improve the efficiency and speed of your workforce as your research expands and a LMIS can expand with you, supporting you as a reliable solution for many years to come.

The market size of laboratory information management systems is only increasing as its projected to reach $505.2 million in the US in 2022. To address the complex problems and regulatory challenges that your laboratory faces, you need a useful LIMS solution to help tackle these problems.

What are the costs of implementing a laboratory information management system?

The answer to this question is more complicated than it might appear. The cost of the system all depends on the needs of your library. There are three most common platforms available on the market and these include: free software, software as a service, and web based/server-based software. Firstly, as the name suggests, freeware is free, with no upfront cost. However, as with all free software, it comes with limitations and there are other costs associated with its instalment. To use all the features of the software you may need to pay an additional fee which will increase your expenses. However, every option could be worth looking into as we find the software that’s best for you. Use the available free software as a chance to test drive a laboratory information management system and get a realistic view of how it’s going to work for you and your team. Alternatively, you can choose to opt for “software as a service”, known as SaaS. This software involves user licences, and these can range from between $200 to $1500 per licence per month. Depending on the size of your team, this could turn out to be a valid option or an expensive one. Because the software provider hosts the software it can save you the expense of having to purchase the hardware yourself. There is also greater flexibility as it’s easy for you to scale up the number of users that you require. You might choose to go for a traditional web based or server-based system. These licences can cost between $3000 to $13,000 per user. In contrast to a software as a service system. with the traditional system your organisation will own a licence which eventually will reduce your costs.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, from what we have briefly discussed, there are lots of factors that should be considered when it comes to deciding whether to have a LMIS system in the first place, and if so, which software option to go for. You need to consider the needs of your team and the data that you’ll be handling the budget that you can afford to spend on this system. Although you might feel reluctant to spend money on something you consider to be a frivolity, many researchers will attest to the fact that a laboratory information management system not only saves them time and money, but also a lot of stress and aggravation. When it comes to making the right decision for you and your team, it’s best to consider all the factors and see how a laboratory information management system could make your team more successful, more efficient and ultimately more useful to the field of life science.