Periodically scientists and laboratory professionals perform searches to determine “what is the best LIMS software.” With so many changes in technology, the results are overwhelming when comparing one vendor’s LIMS software to another’s. While the applications appear different, the primary needs of the laboratory remain the same:
- Manage internal and external requests
- Guide laboratory scientists through lab processes
- Increase the quality of results
- Ensure reproducible results
- Maintain compliance when in clinical settings
- Track data related to samples and processes
The LIMS of Yesterday
A LIMS (laboratory information management system) has traditionally been thought of as the building block of laboratory technology strategy. It often began as spreadsheets or internally built applications to keep track of inventory management for samples, instruments, and test results. Top LIMS vendors were historically known to charge large amounts for the application and take years to deploy. This is because LIMS software was more software development services than a software product. The result was a continuous requirement gathering exercise and custom feature development that often didn’t meet the needs of research laboratories.
The LIMS of Today
A modern laboratory management system has more built-in features for sample management and inventory management and usually sports some configurable elements. The majority of the LIMS systems are also web-based LIMS software. A lab can purchase and take advantage of the out-of-the-box LIMS features. Integration to instruments, ELNs (electronic laboratory notebooks), and analytics systems may not exist. Also, the complexity and importance of the business processes and workflows often require configurations not available in the LIMS software forcing the business to adapt to the laboratory management software instead of the software adapting to the business needs. The features needed may require development of the software that will be delivered in a future version release. This again slows down the full deployment of the software to benefit the research laboratories while increasing both real and opportunity costs.
The LIMS of Tomorrow
The demands for LIMS software in pharma or clinical LIMS software are higher than ever in these ever-evolving competitive markets. Outside of the typical patient, sample, and inventory management capabilities, the LIMS of tomorrow has many requirements to meet.
A few key features industry has indicated are important include:
- Low activation energy
- Higher data volume support
- Rapid deployment
- Rapid adaptation to changes
- Integration capabilities with systems and instruments
- Low code or no code configurations
- Flexible processes and workflows
- Fully configurable data model
- Regulatory compliance
- Integrated charting
- Advanced integrated searching
- Integrated analytics
- Combined LIMS and Electronic Lab Notebooks (ELN)
However, more than ever, there are requests for the silos between applications such as LIMS, ELN, Lab Execution System (LES), and SDMS to disappear. Having a centralized system of a true laboratory information management system is highly appealing.
What is the Best LIMS Software?
Perhaps the best LIMS software is more than just a LIMS. For the software to be able to be adaptable to different scenarios, it must be designed in this way from the beginning. The best way to do this is to have an informatics system that is built from the ground up as a platform. A platform is a software that is application-agnostic and can become any application. Sapio started with a platform and progressively built on it a LIMS, ELN, and SDMS that are seamlessly integrated.
While much harder to develop and deliver, what makes this approach worthwhile and powerful is that any application that is built on top of the platform will inherit the implicit capabilities of the platform including:
- Fully configurable data model
- Powerful searching
- Easy to create and view advanced data visualizations
- Configurable no-code business rules
- Controlled permissions on data as well as features and functions
- Full auditability
- Intuitive user interface
- Configurable data views
- Unlimited role support, each with its own permissions
- Extensible API supporting multiple languages
Having a LIMS system built on a platform is great, but ideally, you can have an ELN built on the same platform, and not only will they share the same data model, but also the same underlying capabilities for enterprise-level search, visualizations, and analytics. Extend the platform to include your SDMS R&D efforts at your organization.
Exemplar Seamless LIMS is a LIMS system built on a powerful, scalable informatics platform. Combined with Exemplar Seamless ELN, it will break down barriers to collecting and interpreting your data and processes accelerating your discovery efforts. Exemplar Seamless LIMS and Exempla Seamless ELN include all of the key features mentioned above as well as integrated chat, permission-based access to data and features, and the unique feature of real-time collaboration, science aware capabilities such as large and small molecule design and registration capabilities. Exemplar Seamless also is the only LIMS software or ELN that supports true collaboration with concurrent workflow and experiment support so scientists can work together in real-time and see each other’s updates to the experiment in real-time.
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