Selecting LIMS or SAP for Laboratories – Part 4

Selecting LIMS or SAP for Laboratories – Part 4

Part 4 will provide a Comparison and Contrast of SAP (Systems Applications and Products) and LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System).

Chief Similarities & Differences

SAP and LIMS are both capable of the management of data by centralizing the location of file and information storage while providing software and instrument integration. Enhanced data security is ensured by each through automated backups to cloud-based storage networks with automatic software updates. Both solutions also provide inventory management, batch results, scheduling, sample tracking, and regulatory compliance.

SAP and LIMS’ chief differences lie in the different purposes of their original individual designs. Designed for administration functions, SAP is proficient in billing, invoice processing, HR management, procurement, and purchasing. LIMS was designed for laboratory workflows, capable of being integrated with test equipment and analytical software for testing. Lab personnel typically describe LIMS as providing an interface that is more intuitive and streamlined for experimental and QC laboratory processes and procedures.


The process of LIMS implementation may last from several months to more than a year, depending on the use case and number of users. Sometimes a LIMS supplier may offer preconfigured workflows for laboratory instruments and procedures, saving a significant amount of time and effort during the initial setup.

In stark contrast, SAP implementation can be very time consuming and complicated, taking upwards of several years. Almost all employees, including the IT team, managers, and end users, must be involved in the setup. SAP implementation will typically result in a significant disruption of operational functions and require employees to make major adjustments.

Part 5 will continue providing a Comparison and Contrast of SAP and LIMS.

STARLIMS Integrated Solution

STARLIMS implements the latest advances of modern technology to provide 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 the creation and maintenance of custom interfaces to third party tools unnecessary.

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.