Building or Purchasing Your Laboratory’s LIMS – Part 2

Building or Purchasing Your Laboratory’s LIMS – Part 2

As discussed in Part 1, LIMS can be built in-house or acquired from an organization specializing in LIMS development. Part 2 will discuss the Advantages and Disadvantages of building your own LIMS.


The chief rationale for building your own LIMS is saving money. Although the price of LIMS has been decreasing, the substantial cost may still be unaffordable for smaller laboratories. Numerous labs and companies also think their requirements cannot be met by a pre-configured LIMS. Building a LIMS from other software solutions allows customization, especially for labs with unique configurations. Thus, lab personnel and trainees may have higher levels of familiarity and usability than with a purchased LIMS.


It is usually the case that an in-house LIMS does not perform well with specialized types of software designed for the operation of manufacturing or laboratory equipment. Data generated by specialized software often requires export or manual entry to be made usable by the in-house LIMS’ programs. Below is a list of other disadvantages.
• IT staff that built LIMS may lack expertise in testing and reporting procedures
• Significant lag in the performance of advanced analytical applications
• Mix of various programs may mishandle data, including sensitive information
• Exporting and manual entry of data result in higher rate of error
• Lack of transparency and accountability, making regulatory audits difficult
• New employees may not be able to fix issues without help of original IT staff

Purchased LIMS

There are numerous commercial LIMS of varying capabilities available. They start from basic data management software to elaborate programs that can manage every aspect of laboratory operations, including the performance of advanced analytics.

The most costly LIMS packages permit a lab to outright buy the software and related instruments. A smaller laboratory that cannot afford this has the option of renting the software license or utilizing a hosted system over the internet.

Part 3 will discuss the Advantages and Disadvantages of purchased LIMS and STARLIMS.

Alpha Engineering LIMS 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. For affordable client-focused network consulting services and solutions, please call Alpha Engineering Associates today at (410) 295-9500.