As discussed in Parts 1 and 2, LIMS can be built in-house or acquired from a company specializing in LIMS development. Part 3 will discuss the Advantages and Disadvantages of a purchased LIMS.
Several advantages for a purchased LIMS were included in the discussion of an in-house LIMS. The following list other important advantages.
• Technical support for LIMS software packages
• Automatic data backup to external site
• Extra digital security
• Regular updates to stay secure and function optimally
• Capable of interfacing with several applications and instruments
• Data can be gathered from equipment and processed in real-time
• Auto import of data makes separate downloads and manual export unneeded
• Automatic sample tracking and test scheduling
• Programmable automation of workflows
A purchased LIMS usually includes numerous out-of-the-box analytical applications. Typically, LIMS suppliers let their client select particular features for installation. This flexibility allows for customization to address a laboratory’s specific requirements. The chosen applications address certain needs for advanced calculations, trend analysis, and generating reports.
For many laboratories, the chief disadvantage of purchasing a LIMS is the significant expense. Top LIMS packages are very costly, which may make them out of reach for smaller labs or those with limited budgets. Fortunately, prices have been gradually decreasing, and there are now more affordable options.
A second disadvantage is the complex user interface of the typical purchased LIMS. This will initially result in some confusion and lower productivity among laboratory personnel and their management. In addition, the set-up time involved may be considerable because of the many hours of labor a new LIMS requires to configure its interface with each piece of lab equipment and train staff to properly use an unfamiliar system.
Alpha Engineering STARLIMS Implementation
Alpha Engineering Associates, Inc. has been involved with the implementation of over 50 LIMS systems ranging in size from small, “off-the-shelf” software systems to very large, highly customized, multi-functional systems, including STARLIMS, for both governmental agencies and private enterprises.
Implementing state-of-the art technology, STARLIMS provides a totally integrated solution that incorporates LIMS, Electronic Laboratory Notebook (ELN), Scientific Data Management System (SDMS), Advanced Analytics, and Mobile within a single application. This innovation makes building and maintaining custom interfaces required by third party tools unnecessary.