In this blog post, we’ll delve into ten essential tips to guide you in choosing the best ELN software for NGS to make an informed decision and stay at the forefront of NGS technology.

Next-generation sequencing (NGS) has revolutionized genomics research, generating vast amounts of data that require efficient management and analysis. The continuous advancement in sequencing technology and decreasing costs underscores the need for effective software solutions capable of handling end-to-end NGS workflows.

Electronic Laboratory Notebooks (ELNs) emerge as pivotal tools in this landscape, streamlining workflows and ensuring data integrity within NGS labs. The rapid evolution of sequencing technology, surpassing predictions like Moore’s Law, emphasizes the necessity for software that adeptly manages the complexities of NGS workflows. To navigate this dynamic landscape effectively, labs require ELN software that can enforce standardized procedures for quality control, data handling, and analysis. 

  1. Out of the Box NGS ELN 
  2. Support for Complex NGS Workflows
  3. Is NGS Data Overwhelming You?
  4. Diverse Material Management Requirements
  5. Specialized Instrument Integration
  6. Realtime Monitoring
  7. Prioritize Data Analysis Capabilities
  8. Boost Collaboration with Effective Data Centralization
  9. Optimize your Lab with Storage and Sample Management
  10. Opt for an All-in-One Software

Transform your organization with Sapio ELN

Out of the Box NGS ELN 

An out-of-the-box solution provides the best built-in capabilities and configurability to empower NGS cell and gene therapy companies to hit the ground running while tailoring the platform to their requirements over time—and doing so without code. Let me expand on that a bit. Our solution at Sapio delivers out-of-the-box NGS functionality.

That means our solution has pre-built templates that scientists can instantly configure, activate, and use immediately. We find these templates, combined with our no-code Rules Engine, meet most of the NGS requirements. But it couples these templates with radical levels of no-code configurability, empowering scientists to tightly align the platform’s workflows with their actual workflows. Add in highly scalable data management, robust sample and material management capabilities, best-in-class search and data visualizations, and robust instrument integrations—and you have an out-of-the-box NGS solution.

Sapio also has the only truly unified science-aware LIMS and ELN with built-in large molecule tools such as plasmid design tools so you can track the entire cell and gene therapy pipeline with all the data in one system, uniformly represented, searchable, visualizable, and analyzable all in one place. The Sapio platform does this at scale to track very high throughput workflows and resulting data without latency, etc., that you might experience with other systems.

Choosing the Best ELN Software for Complex Workflows

NGS, for example, often has very complex and variable workflows – they are unlike any other in the lab setting. Typically, standard lab informatics solutions are not equipped to address the complexity and sophistication of NGS processes. Those that do fail to adapt seamlessly in stride when those processes change, as NGS workflows inevitably do.

Is NGS Data Overwhelming You?

NGS has unprecedented data volume and velocity – the volume of data generated by NGS experiments is massive, to put it mildly. Scientists can derive the most meaningful insights by finding a proper way to store and manage all this data. NGS data’s sheer volume and velocity are enough to leave many platforms winded.

Diverse Material Management Requirements

Multifaceted material management needs – the quality of a reagent or another material used in sequencing can have significant implications for the accuracy of results. Scientists need a way to properly track expiration dates and other lot-related issues to ensure ongoing quality—not just passively but with full traceability into usage.

Instrument Integration When Choosing the Best ELN Software

NGS requires many different systems and instruments for sequencing and analysis. With a way to seamlessly integrate these key components, scientists can deal with disparate systems and error-prone data. Integration is integral to achieving operational visibility, particularly with Illumina, Oxford Nanopore, Ion Torrent, Pacific Biosystem, and emerging Chinese manufacturers.

Realtime Monitoring

Any number of issues can arise as a sequence is running, and failing to catch these issues in real time leads to wasted time and inaccurate results, creating delays and wasted resources. To maximize efficiency and mitigate waste, scientists need a way to spot issues and intervene proactively during sequencing.

Choosing the Best ELN Software for NGS Data Analysis

In the world of NGS, there’s a big challenge and opportunity – lots and lots of data for each sample. The key to a successful NGS lab is understanding this data effectively. When choosing an electronic lab notebook (ELN), it’s essential to pick one that helps and improves your lab’s ability to analyze data.

The best ELN for NGS researchers goes beyond just handling data – it includes a laboratory informatics system (LIMS) that can integrate with genomics instruments, collect high-quality data, and integrate with your personal analysis programs.

An effective NGS ELN can also handle the different types of data files and should be equipped with tools to visualize, analyze, and utilize scientific data in a truly scientific way. With Sapio ELN, users can easily interpret complex data with a science-aware knowledge graph that utilizes AI analytics, saving your NGS lab time on repetitive tasks and instead uncovering insights that drive forward your research.

Boost Collaboration with Effective Data Centralization

Centralizing your data is essential for efficient collaboration and data integrity. The best ELN software for NGS labs should provide a centralized platform where researchers can securely store, access, and share data. This centralized platform allows lab members to track every sequenced library, fostering transparency and collaboration efficiently. Additionally, it facilitates the review of libraries previously sequenced by other team members, promoting knowledge sharing and optimizing experimental workflows.

Beyond data storage, a robust NGS ELN should be capable of efficiently managing large sequencing files within the platform and enable direct communication among team members. Features like due task notifications enhance coordination and ensure that everyone is on the same page. This collaborative aspect of the ELN streamlines workflows, reducing the likelihood of errors and enhancing overall efficiency.

Overall, centralized data management streamlines communication, reduces the likelihood of errors, and enhances the traceability of experimental workflows.

Optimize your Lab with Storage and Sample Management

In NGS labs with extensive data and abundant samples, a high-quality ELN should provide comprehensive storage and sample management. This entails the efficient registration, approval, and monitoring of samples, allowing for detailed tracking of storage locations and lineage maps for quick navigation.

A good NGS ELN software should do more than store things. It should let you customize how you track your supplies, like keeping an eye on expiration dates and knowing how much you have left in stock. This will help you keep an organized storage, and in so doing, save you time and money.

Having an easy-to-use interface for tracking and finding samples is also a big deal. The best ELN software ensures you can find exactly what you’re looking for when needed. A superior ELN should empower NGS labs with efficient sample workflow management, promoting precision, transparency, and resource optimization throughout the research process.

Opt for an All-in-One ELN Software

Consider whether you prefer an all-in-one ELN solution that combines various functionalities or if you prefer the flexibility of integrating different software tools. 

We highly recommend considering an all-in-one ELN solution that consolidates various functionalities for your NGS lab. This comprehensive approach combines data analysis, storage, sample management, and equipment management within a unified platform. Opting for an all-in-one solution can significantly simplify workflows, mitigate the risk of information loss, and foster a more organized structure.

While some labs may prefer the flexibility of integrating specialized tools for each function, it’s crucial to recognize that using separate tools can lead to information loss and messy structuring, potentially impacting the overall effectiveness of your workflow. By choosing an all-in-one ELN solution, you streamline your processes, enhance collaboration, and create a cohesive digital environment that supports the specific needs of your NGS lab.

Transform your organization with Sapio ELN

Choosing the best ELN software for NGS labs is a strategic decision that can significantly impact the efficiency and success of your genomics research. ELN software is crucial in maintaining accurate records throughout the research process, from documenting key experiment details to facilitating seamless collaboration among peers. This efficient system boosts productivity and eliminates the disorder and data risks associated with handwritten processes.

Sapio ELN is a powerful electronic lab notebook that enables accurate, efficient documentation and collaboration through intuitive workflows and streamlined integration. Packed with practical scientific tools and reusable data objects, Sapio ELN empowers scientists to do what they do best.

Also, read the NGS Toolkit blog.

To learn more about Sapio ELN, or any of our solutions, get in touch or request a demo today.


Gartner – Electronic Laboratory Notebooks in Life Sciences Require Better Bridges Between R&D and Manufacturing

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