Over the past decade, remotely hosted software, otherwise known as “software-as-a-service” (SaaS), has become an increasingly popular software delivery model in the healthcare market and in the laboratory space in particular. Many LIMS vendors now offer a SaaS model to their customers. Software-as-a-service is becoming the predominate way labs utilize software to run their business given the financial and operational benefits.
SaaS = Less I.T. Burden on the Lab
Traditionally, when buying a LIMS, a laboratory was required to purchase the server(s) and network hardware to run the software. In addition, the laboratory was also required to have the technical staff on hand to maintain the servers and network, as well as manage the day-to-day maintenance of the system. With a cloud-based / SaaS model, these requirements are no longer a concern. As the software is hosted on the LIMS vendor's servers in their datacenter, the responsibility for managing the hardware and software is now on the LIMS vendor. Having a LIMS administrator on staff is still advisable but utilizing a cloud-based LIMS significantly minimizes the I.T. burden on the lab.
Predictable Fees and Low TCO
With a SaaS model, given the software is hosted on the vendor’s servers, the fee structure differs from a traditional on-premise, license purchase model. When purchasing a license for a LIMS to be hosted at your lab’s location, the laboratory will typically pay a one-time fee that includes the license to use the system, as well as any instrument integration, EMR interfaces, and optional modules, such as a web portal. This one-time fee is in addition to a one-time implementation fee which encompasses the services to install the software and train laboratory staff. On the other hand, with a SaaS model, the laboratory pays no license fee up front and, along with a one-time implementation fee, instead pays a monthly fee for a specific contract period. The monthly fee, which becomes a predictable operating expense, covers several costs from hardware and datacenter costs to ongoing I.T., system maintenance, security, and networking costs. As a result, from a total cost of ownership (TCO) perspective, the SaaS model is advantageous versus traditional, on-premise software models.
Speed of Implementation & Other Benefits
Another key benefit of a SaaS model is the speed with which the software can be implemented at the lab. With software-as-a-service, the vendor can quickly provision and configure the application, eliminating any delays that could arise if the lab was solely responsible for procuring server and networking equipment and educating I.T. staff on the new system. Further, hardware upgrades and application maintenance are handled completely by the vendor, as well as back-up / disaster recovery and important security and HIPAA requirements.
A cloud-based / SaaS LIMS is a great choice for labs that do not have the upfront capital to 1) host and maintain their own server and networking infrastructure and 2) manage all of the ongoing I.T. expenses and requirements. A SaaS solution can allow labs to get up and running with a new LIMS quickly and efficiently and gives labs that traditionally could not afford a LIMS the ability to utilize a comprehensive solution that can easily scale with their business over time.