The advent of cloud technology has helped many labs to automate by easily migrating their data saved in the form of old paper notebooks and spreadsheets. Cloud Technology not only helped labs to streamline lab operations and save resources, but also paved the way for offering personalized LIMS services on demand guaranteeing maximum user satisfaction. This white paper underlines the evolution of LIMS, different types of LIMS architecture, cloud technology and deployment models, benefits and risks of cloud computing, and how SaaS models leverage cloud technology to maximize Return on Investment (ROI) by minimizing Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). This white paper will help biobanks, clinical research, diagnostic, pathological and food & beverage testing labs to become familiar with the concept of Cloud Technology and realize the benefits of an affordable LIMS solution.
Since the late 1970s, managing laboratory samples and their associated tests, studies, and reports were being recorded manually using spreadsheets and laboratory notebooks. This was an extremely time consuming and cumbersome process, often riddled with transcription errors. Tracing back, the development of first generation LIMS dates to the year 1982. The first generation LIMS evolved in the form of a single centralized minicomputer, which facilitated automated reporting for the first time with greater lab productivity. Late 1980s witnessed the era of second generation commercial LIMS, to provide application specific solutions using relational databases. Commercial LIMS still relied on minicomputers though, as PC-based solutions were just starting to emerge. In the 1990’s, personal computers and software databases made programming and documentation easier. This paved way for the advent of third generation commercial LIMS. It combined the power of PC’s easy to use interface and desktop tools with client/server configuration model of minicomputer servers to advance data processing. In 1996, Web-enabled LIMS debuted, enabling researchers to work outside the confines of their laboratory changing the entire picture of LIMS industry.
Benefits of Adopting a Laboratory Automation Solution to Streamline Lab Operations and Increase Return On Investment
Cost–Benefit Analysis (CBA) or calculating return on investment is quintessential for any organization planning to automate their lab operations by implementing a LIMS software. It is important to consider a few points while conducting CBA. The expenses incurred in managing lab operations through notebooks, spreadsheets throughout their complete life cycle is often improperly calculated or comprehended. Apart from material cost, there are hidden costs which laboratories usually forget to consider. The time taken in writing by hand, cutting, pasting, correcting handwritten lab notebooks, in addition to the time required for managing cumbersome spreadsheets significantly contributes to this hidden cost. By switching to an automated solution, a researcher can save considerable time and use CBA for progressing research activities.
Some of the non-quantifiable benefits of switching to an automated LIMS solution are:
Researchers can spend more time in the laboratory working on their research projects.
Easier and quicker to manage patient records, samples, lab inventory using a LIMS solution.
Easier to generate instantaneous report(s) in desired format to share with colleagues.
Typological errors can be minimized by using an automation solution. Legibility of data is improved.
There is often smooth transition when an employee leaves the organization.
Laboratory management workflows can be streamlined using a LIMS solution, thereby saving considerable time and effort.