Modern science requires the accurate organization and storage of large amounts of data which is incompatible with traditional-based methods of information management. Software such as a LIMS system is used within laboratories to store, manage and access a range of data. There are different types of LIMS – On-Premise, Cloud-Based, Web-Based and Open-Source, all of which have their own features and capabilities.

This guide outlines the different types of LIMS. We’ll discuss the features of LIMS software and explain the differences between the various types.

What are the different features of LIMS software?

LIMS have a range of features that facilitate the storage, management and access to a range of laboratory data. These features can vary based on the type of LIMS software or industry, however, the best LIMS systems have the following features:

  • Automated workflow. With a LIMS system, laboratory staff can create and manage their own custom workflows which suit the processes and procedures of their organization.
  • Request management. A LIMS allows laboratories to manage and track requests for a variety of services.
  • Sample management. LIMS software allows laboratory staff to track and manage samples which are being tracked or analyzed.
  • Sample processing. By using a LIMS system, laboratory staff can track the progress of samples which are being analyzed.
  • Science data analytics. Once a workflow has been created, some systems will allow staff to interpret and analyze the data created.
  • Work queue management. A LIMS can allow laboratory staff to better manage their workload by prioritizing their workload to ensure that the deadlines for the most crucial tasks are met.
  • Instrument integration. A good LIMS needs instrument integration features. This is because instrument integration ensures that data between instruments and systems can be transferred easily and efficiently.

Types of LIMS system

On-Premise LIMS

An on-premise LIMS is a type of system which is installed on an organization’s servers. By installing an on-premise solution, an organization will have full responsibility for the hardware and software which can come with its advantages and disadvantages.

The installation of an on-premise LIMS system requires a substantial upfront investment and it requires a lot of ongoing technical support to run and maintain. However, with an On-Premise LIMS organizations are able to closely monitor who is accessing the stored data and how they are using it. Therefore, an on-premise LIMS is best suited to organizations where there are strict data security and compliance requirements and there is the technical expertise needed to run and maintain it.

Cloud-Based LIMS

Unlike an on-premise solution, a cloud-based LIMS is hosted on a remote server, allowing it to be accessed at any time by anyone (providing that there is an internet connection).

Despite using a remote host, a cloud-based LIMS is an extremely secure system which has strict encryption processes to ensure that the data is kept in the right place and can only be accessed by the right people. It is managed by an external team of specialists who will oversee the installation and ongoing maintenance. This is a major benefit to organizations who lack the internal technical expertise or time required to maintain the other types of systems. Moreover, as it is hosted remotely, this format can require less upfront financial investment, however, it will require a monthly fee.

Web-Based LIMS

Like a cloud-based system, a web-based LIMS can be accessed by anyone, anywhere providing that there is an internet connection. However, unlike cloud-based software, web-based LIMS are likely to be installed on a local server or hosted with a lab’s network. Therefore, organizations with a web-based set-up can not only keep control over their data, but they can also restrict remote access to authorized users only.

Industry-Specific LIMS

Unlike the other types of LIMS discussed, an industry-specific LIMS system has been specially designed to meet the individual needs and requirements of a specific industry or sector. It is a tailor made solution which can include industry specific features such as compliance tools or custom workflows and templates. The main advantage of this type of LIMS is that by offering relevant features, the software can better align with the challenges and goals of a particular sector.

Open-Source LIMS

An open-source system has been developed by a community of developers. It is different from the other types of LIMS because its source code is widely accessible, and free to use, modify and distribute. While this level of modification means that open-source LIMS systems can be customized to the needs of different organizations, it also means that a higher degree of technical expertise is required.

What are the different types of LIMS solutions?

Research LIMS

Many laboratories today use spreadsheets or outdated software for lab management to perform tracking of samples through these processes. These methods usually lack proper traceability, searching, or other key efficiency features like instrument automation. This decreases lab efficiency reducing throughput, while also not delivering on proper data delivery and reporting.

Modern digital labs view process as an asset. Under this scenario, the lab should be able to configure complex process workflows quickly, chain the workflows together into overarching processes, and track work progress, show work to be done, etc. Critical within the lab workflow is automation both from a physical processing standpoint, such as acquiring automated liquid handler robots, to the laboratory management systems integrating with robotics to send instructions and read output whether it’s sample quantitative/qualitative assessments or assay result data.

Looking to the future, scale is going to be critical. One certain thing is that data volumes will increase over time and not decrease. The research lab management software should be able to scale to massive data volumes with many data points and load it all in a timely fashion without bogging down the system performance over time.

With Sapio LIMS System there is no limit on what type of processes can be tracked due to the versatility of Sapio to adapt to any lab process quickly via configuration. In addition to its configurable workflow engine, Sapio’s research lab management software is the only solution that offers real-time collaboration. When working through a lab workflow any number of lab technicians can be working concurrently on the same workflow.


The dynamic nature of the NGS lab requires a LIMS that can adapt quickly to changing protocols and platforms. Sapio NGS LIMS is a system built to handle clinical or research laboratories’ NGS sample tracking and processing needs. Sapio provides complete tracking of samples through the NGS pipeline from request through sample processing and results delivery. It provides automation integration as needed, preconfigured NGS workflows, management-level dashboards, full consumables management and support for regulatory compliance such as CLIA.

Clinical LIMS

Sapio Clinical LIMS software is built on the industry’s best informatics platform with integrated LIMS software, Electronic Lab Notebook, medical CRM and Scientific Data Management. Key clinical lab metrics are automatically calculated like turnaround times, queue times, process times and more. But we don’t stop there; all captured data is cross-system, targeted, searchable and can be visualized and even analyzed with our integrated data warehouse and analytics engine.

Histopathology LIMS

Histopathology is a common function in hospital laboratories, research institutes, pharma and biotechnology. Sapio supports many types of histopathology-related processes with its histopathology lab software where labs may be getting tissue samples that need a histology review. The Sapio histopathology LIMS is targeted at a particular domain: the high throughput clinical or R&D lab working with large numbers of samples for assessing the effects of drugs on subjects. Applications include immune-toxicology evaluation and related assessments of cellular changes after exposure to a candidate drug.

Bioanalytical LIMS

Bioanalysis has become a key part of the pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic characterization in drug discovery and during various stages of drug development. Bioanalysis is the quantitative measurement of analytes in biological matrices, including tissue, blood, serum, urine, or other body fluids. Bioanalytical method validation and regulated bioanalysis are an integral part of a drug development program. Various laboratory platforms have been used to analyze chemical-based drug candidates, such as, but not limited to, high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS), liquid chromatography with ultraviolet detection (LC-UV), and others.

At the onset of method development, scientists carefully evaluate the properties of the analyte of interest, and its metabolites, against the currently available technological platforms. Because a bioanalytical method can be executed for clinical and non-clinical samples and during method development, the scientists can proceed with method validation and bioanalysis adhering to Good Laboratory Practice (GLP), other regulatory guidelines and laboratory-specific Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

Sapio initializes a bioanalytical method by tracking the subjects, treatment groups, and chain of custody of a sample throughout the lifecycle of a study. Additionally, Sapio performs and maintains verification of instruments and laboratory’s calibration, and reagents against defined controls and expiration dates before the execution of a method specific to a study. Predefined Sapio LIMS templates will complete the remaining portion of the bioanalysis workflow(s).

The Sapio bioanalytical LIMS consists of the following components:

  • Instrument Management
  • Materials Management
  • Method Development
  • Reagent Preparation
  • Sample Preparation
  • STD & QC for Calibration
  • Method Development
  • Method Validation
  • Method Execution
  • Data Analysis and Review
  • KPI

Sapio bioanalytical LIMS is a complete solution to the bioanalysis pipeline. It addresses all the key components of the bioanalytical process from Project and Study setup, sample prep and processing, through method design and execution. Most process areas are fulfilled via workflow templates for an easy-to-use, intuitive experience for the end user, thus reducing training requirements to ensure system adoption. Instrument integrations are also in place to enable drag and drop loading of data, followed by data analysis in visual and interactive displays.

Stability LIMS

Sapio Stability LIMS is a system built to define and track Stability Studies details from inception to completion for various industries. This includes creation of the manufacturing details, sample batch/lot tracking, scheduled pulls, and much more.

Bioprocessing LIMS

While Bioprocessing is a mature practice, fundamental challenges remain. In today’s digital age, many teams are still stuck with paper-based records, disparate sources of data and documentation, little transparency into the overall process, and lack of the digital infrastructure required to collaborate and operate efficiently. In some cases, the opposite is true. Organizations of scale comprising highly specialized teams may be overwhelmed by the complex digital infrastructures manifested over time. Too many systems in place can result in the same core challenges. Sapio Sciences solves these challenges with its comprehensive bioprocessing software designed for organizations of any size and scale of complexity.

Discover Sapio LIMS

LIMS solutions have a range of features that support the collection and storage of vast amounts of data. From automated workflows to sample management, they can be customized to suit the specific needs of laboratories.

When researching the different types of systems, it is essential to understand their differences. Whether you need software that enables remote data access or require an out-of-the-box solution, there is a specific type of LIMS system to suit the needs of your organization.

Sapio’s LIMS system 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 you have a solution that best suits your organization’s specific needs.

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