A Laboratory Information Management System can be a lifesaver for a lab that does not have one. Properly implemented, a LIMS can increase productivity and efficiency almost immediately after installation as well as automate data management.
But, just as with any decision, finding the right LIMS for your lab can be complicated. The most common pain points in regards to finding a LIMS software are choosing a vendor/pricing and implementation of the new system.
When researching a LIMS for your laboratory you will come across hundreds of different vendors who all claim their product is the best. As in most industries, purchases referrals can be very helpful in deciding which vendor to choose. Turn to your peers and your network, see which surrounding laboratories use a LIMS and what they think of it. Ask a lot of questions, dig into the details and make sure you understand all of the details of the quote. Because purchasing a LIMS can be costly, it is important to do your research before jumping in with the first vendor you come across on your Internet search.
A common complaint of someone comparing LIMS software is that it is nearly impossible to find a vendor's pricing without calling up and asking for a quote. Because LIMS software is customizable to add-ons, such-as instrument interfaces and user licenses, it is difficult for a vendor to put a specific cost on their website. Pricing can change with each new client, so there isn't really a way to know exactly how much you will be spending without first asking for a quote from different vendors.
The implementation of a LIMS can be a challenge, and the migration from a currently installed LIMS to a new one can be an even bigger feat. It takes a lot of time and cooperation to make sure that everything is in place before the lab can go to production on the new system. The LIMS implementation team should consist of project managers from both the vendor and laboratory. The project managers should work to coordinate the implementation with the use of a project plan and project charter. Most vendors will include on-site implementation and training assistance which can be crucial to the success of the project. On-site implementation sessions are also very important in making sure that the LIMS conforms to your laboratories work flow. The laboratory information system should be flexible enough to adapt to the lab without forcing change in the work flow.
Although there can be roadblocks and pains along the road to implementing a new LIMS system, the benefits can definitely outweigh the frustrations. By staying patient, positive and diligent in the purchasing and implementation process you will be doing your part to ensure a great result in a very important project.