Read about the author: Richard Halton

The article was revised and updated on March 11, 2024

First, we need to define a LIMS System, as opposed to LIMS software, LIMS platform, lab instruments, lab data integration, a laboratory data lake, and other similar concepts. A LIMS System refers to the whole rather than the parts. The dictionary definition of a “system” is a group of interacting or interdependent elements forming a unified whole. Therefore, a LIMS System can be made up of numerous components, including an underlying LIMS platform, a LIMS software solution built on top of the platform, LIMS applications that are purpose-made for different use case scenarios, such as sequencing, bioanalysis, in vivo, chemistry and more, and other components which make up the system as a whole – typically instruments, data integration, data storage, and data analytics. As you can see, a LIMS System can be a broader topic than just LIMS software or a LIMS application.

Now, let’s explore the benefits of a LIMS system and how it can help labs improve their efficiency and data security. If you’re not familiar with this type of system, our article What is a LIMS and what is it used for? covers this in more detail.

Modern laboratories must manage complex workflows and collect, store, and analyze large amounts of data daily, which requires a robust data storage solution. A configurable laboratory information management system (LIMS) system is specifically designed for use in lab operations, where processing high-velocity workflow and high volumes of data, compliant with rigorous GxP standards, are of the utmost importance. Many laboratories also are specialized and require application-specific software modules out-of-the-box.

In this article, we’ll cover the following topics:

LIMS System key features

As a digital solution designed explicitly for use in laboratories, a LIMS system offers many vital features that more generic lab management and data management systems don’t. LIMS systems use automation and configurable laboratory workflows to improve laboratory operations by processing laboratory orders, samples, materials, and instrument tests, providing rigorous quality assurance checkpoints, and analyzing and reporting results and associated data.

Some of the key features of a modern LIMS software solution, whether cloud-based LIMS or on-premise LIMS (or LIS), include:

  • Workflow automation
  • Workflow lifecycle management
  • Sample management and barcodes
  • Sample traceability and lineage
  • Materials management
  • Inventory management
  • Equipment management
  • Process management
  • Regulatory compliance and audit trails (e.g. CFR part)
  • Validation of GxP Best Practices
  • Operating procedure implementation
  • Process automation
  • Support for high-throughput clinical and diagnostics
  • Out-of-the-box support for NGS sequencing, bioanalysis, in vivo, chemistry and more
  • Data entry and processing
  • Data integrity and visualization
  • Lab information management
  • Real-time data dashboard
  • Report and test results automation
  • Team collaboration and cross-site coordination

Advantages of a LIMS

When deciding what type of system to implement in your organization, it’s essential to weigh up the benefits of a LIMS versus any downsides. It’s also important to consider the potential pros and cons of continuing with your legacy system, particularly your needs for configurability due to the unique nature of your laboratory operations, processes, workflows, data types, experiments, and assays.

Let’s take a look at the advantages of LIMS in more detail.

Process automation

Automation is a crucial advantage of LIMS software, reducing the impact of manual tasks and the associated human error on lab productivity. By automating laboratory procedures such as sample management, analysis, and reporting, technicians can produce and process samples of a higher quality much more efficiently.

Increased productivity

Automation, streamlined workflows, and improved process management allow laboratories to benefit from a massive increase in productivity. Performing tasks more quickly enables high-throughput sample processing to boost profits and meet project targets and timeframes. Implementing LIMS software typically increases throughput anywhere from 10 to 100 times.

Data security

Laboratories generate and store huge amounts of data, posing a significant security risk. Mitigating the possibility of a data breach is particularly important when dealing with the sensitive nature of the samples and personal information processed daily. As it has been created for use by laboratories, LIMS comprises industry compliance measures as a standard for greater security.

Quality control

Enforcing quality control measures is critical to ensure that lab results are reliable and meet the high standards required by stakeholders and regulatory bodies. LIMS system software helps monitor instrument status, track samples, and access up-to-date information. Customizable process automation enables the creation of efficient, repeatable workflows in any facility, minimizing inconsistencies between experiments and research projects.

Improved collaboration

By combining all data into a secure cloud network, LIMS software makes it easy for technicians to collaborate across wider lab networks. All collaborators can be sure that the information they are accessing is accurate and up to date, eliminating duplicate documents and time wasted manually searching for information. Permissions-based access controls ensure data security and privacy across the network while offering instant, convenient access for authorized parties.

Employee satisfaction

One of the most significant benefits of the LIMS system is how much it simplifies laboratory-specific tasks and its positive effects on employee satisfaction within their roles. From unlocking well-coordinated collaboration to offering seamless integration with ELN solutions in multiple locations, a robust LIMS solution helps make working in a modern lab more effortless and enjoyable.

Disadvantages of a LIMS System

Now that we’ve explored the advantages let’s look at the disadvantages of a LIMS system.

Higher price point

LIMS systems are more expensive than generic data management solutions with highly specialized software. It’s worth bearing in mind that this cost will more than likely be offset by increased productivity and reduced errors. Your lab may also be able to consolidate several legacy systems into one single LIMS, reducing ongoing software and maintenance costs.

Digital transformation requirements

Switching to a LIMS could be a complex transformation project involving multiple departments. This may initially cause downtime and a few complications within the lab, particularly if the project isn’t well organized. However, once in place, the new system will unlock streamlined collaboration internally and externally and simplify ongoing system maintenance. Any disruption during the initial implementation phase can also be mitigated by working with experienced digital transformation experts.

Employee learning curve

Current lab employees must learn how to use the new LIMS, which may seem daunting as the software encompasses various functions. However, once they are accustomed to a new way of working, they can use the LIMS to simplify workflows, automate processes, and improve lab efficiency. For future employees, the onboarding process will be significantly easier as the various systems and features are combined within a single piece of software. To minimize the friction of learning how to use a new system, opt for a no-code LIMS with user-friendly drag-and-drop functionality.

Benefits of a highly configurable LIMS system

While they have many processes in common, every laboratory is unique, with its own set of requirements, challenges, and required outcomes. A huge benefit of LIMS solutions is their ability to be fully customized to accommodate the needs of each organization.

The best laboratory information management systems offer user-friendly, no-code configurability, allowing technicians to drag and drop elements to create custom workflows. LIMS solutions that are designed to integrate seamlessly with other lab vendor software can also be scaled up and down to meet the changing requirements of the laboratory without the need to reinvest in expensive software.

How benefits of a LIMS system can improve lab workflows

LIMS solutions are designed to streamline lab workflows and enable seamless cross-department collaboration. By combining all laboratory data into a single repository, a LIMS enables all authorized parties to access essential information while eradicating data duplication that can lead to errors and inconsistencies. This also helps to improve data security, reducing the risk of leaks.

LIMS software offers end-to-end support for lab-specific processes such as sample management, from collecting and labeling samples to analyzing and reporting on data. With easily customizable workflows and powerful automation tools, the LIMS can reliably take care of day-to-day lab processes in the background, leaving technicians free for more complex tasks.

Discover Sapio LIMS

There are many benefits of a LIMS that can help your laboratory to operate more efficiently while keeping data safe. From automating workflows to generating lab performance reports, the advantages of upgrading your legacy system to a lab and industry-specific solution can help to keep costs down and minimize downtime.

Sapio LIMS software is a no-code, no-SQL platform created to empower laboratories through seamless integration, collaboration, and data management. With scalability and industry-specific compliance requirements built in, you can be sure that the advantages to your lab are cost-effective and long-lasting.

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

FAQs: Must ask questions

  1. What are the common challenges faced during the implementation of a LIMS system?
    Common challenges during LIMS implementation include:
    – Ensuring compatibility with existing systems and workflows
    – Managing data migration from legacy systems
    – Addressing resistance to change from staff
    – Customization to fit specific laboratory needs
    – Training staff on how to effectively use the new system
  2. How can a LIMS system adapt to different types of laboratories, such as clinical labs versus research labs?
    LIMS systems can adapt to different types of laboratories through configurable workflows and modules. They can be tailored to meet the specific requirements of clinical labs, research labs, or other specialized facilities. This adaptability allows the system to accommodate different processes, data types, regulatory requirements, and workflows unique to each type of laboratory.
  3. What are the typical criteria for selecting the right LIMS system for a specific laboratory’s needs?
    Typical criteria for selecting a LIMS system include:
    – Compatibility with existing infrastructure and software
    – Scalability to accommodate future growth
    – Customizability to meet specific laboratory workflows and requirements
    – Compliance with industry regulations and standards
    – Ease of integration with other systems
    – User-friendly interface and intuitive usability
    – Vendor support and reputation
    – Total cost of ownership, including implementation, maintenance, and support costs
  4. Are there any industry standards or certifications that a LIMS system should adhere to, and how does this affect the selection process?
    Yes, a LIMS system should adhere to several industry standards and certifications, depending on the type of laboratory and its regulatory requirements.
    Examples include:
    ISO 17025 for testing and calibration laboratories
    FDA 21 CFR Part 11 for electronic records and signatures in pharmaceuticals
    HIPAA for protecting patient health information in clinical laboratories
    GLP (Good Laboratory Practice), guidelines for non-clinical laboratory studies
    GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice), regulations for manufacturing
  5. What are some best practices for migrating data from legacy systems to a new LIMS platform, and how can potential data loss or corruption be minimized during this process?
    Best practices for migrating data to a new LIMS platform include:
    – Thoroughly assessing the existing data and determining what needs to be migrated
    – Cleaning and standardizing data to ensure accuracy and consistent
    – Developing a detailed migration plan with clearly defined milestones and responsibilities
    – Testing the migration process in a controlled environment before full implementation
    – Implementing backup and rollback procedures to mitigate the risk of data loss or corruption
    – Providing adequate training and support to users during and after the migration process
    – Monitoring and evaluating the performance of the new system post-migration to identify any issues and address them promptly.


  1. Article on LIMS Implementation Best Practices:
  2. Guide to ISO 17025 Certification for Laboratories:
  3. FDA 21 CFR Part 11 Compliance Overview:
  4. Guide to Good Laboratory Practices (GLP):