With the widespread adoption of liquid and gas chromatography instruments throughout laboratories, chromatography data systems (CDS) have followed suit, becoming one of the most popular software products in use within a lab. From single workstations to enterprise installations delivering multi-channel, multi-user client/server applications, CDS solutions provide the flexibility to fully integrate with laboratory information management systems (LIMS) and other enterprise-level data management systems, as well as the most relied upon laboratory instrumentation.
Improvements in CDS solutions have for the most part tracked advances in hardware. Today, all instruments ship with software packages that control instrumentation, acquire data, prepare reports, manipulate spectra and chromatograms, store methods, perform calibrations, and interface with lab- or organization-wide computer systems.
As new developments in instrumentation continue, CDS solutions are becoming more versatile and less instrument-centric. Several software-only firms are establishing relationships with instrument vendors to develop drivers and controls for their instruments that operate within their software. As a result, as labs acquire LC and GC instruments from different vendors, more software systems are capable of controlling third-party instruments and improved communication between instruments and related software.
Many other emerging changes in the laboratory marketplace are having a major influence on CDS development from managing workflow for optimum performance and enable faster and more informed decision-making across the organization.
Respondents identified the following reasons for implementing a CDS solution in their lab. Twenty-three percent selected “all of the above.”
|Improve communication between instruments and related software||21%|
|Create an infrastructure for capturing, accessing and sharing experimental information||14%|
|Centralize data repositories||13%|
|Accelerate the documentation and reporting of experimentation||8%|
|Streamline regulatory compliance||7%|
|Create remote access of data from any location||7%|
|Enable scientists to collaborate effectively on multi-stage projects||4%|
|Workflow coordination across geographic and business boundaries||3%|
|All of the above||23%|
Fifty-five percent of the respondents’ labs have up to ten users and 88 percent have up to ten locations with access to CDS.
|1 – 10||55%||88%|
|11 – 25||23%||8%|
|26 – 50||12%||5%|
Chromatography data systems can be deployed in standalone, thin client, or enterprise client/server computing environments. Over 80 percent of the respondents have deployed either a stand-alone or client/server solution.
Supporting the most important factors in making a buying decision, respondents identify “migration of existing data” and “staff training” as the biggest challenges in purchasing a CDS solution. As vendors continue to address these challenges, the selection of the right system will get easier.
What is your biggest challenge in this CDS purchase?
|Migration of existing data into the new system||22%|
|Staff adoption and training||22%|
|Determining the right system for our lab||21%|
|Investing in software that will become obsolete||10%|
|Demonstrating ROI to senior management||10%|
|Integration with other software programs in the lab||4%|
|Gaining user buy-in||3%|
CDS solutions continue to adapt to the evolving demographic of laboratory personnel, from specialist to generalist. Based on a recent survey on job satisfaction, lab professionals have told Lab Manager Magazine there is a shift from users who were chromatographers and analytical chemists to a new group composed of process managers, quality managers, statisticians, biologists, and so on. This may explain why the three most important features/factors that influence the buying decision are “service and support”; “ease of use” and “versatility.” While achieving this level of user-friendliness, CDS vendors must cope with the ever increasing intricacy of the analysis, particularly those supporting regulated industries or law enforcement and involve the use of multiple columns and detectors, which generate outputs in multiple dimensions.
Respondents identify emerging influences in their buying decision that may suggest what effect they will play on future CDS development.
Top ten features / factors in the buying decision:
|Service and Support||98%|
|Ease of use||96%|
|Seamless communication between different instruments and software||88%|
|Incorporate high speed chromatography systems calculations||87%|
|Complete scalability from one to multiinstruments and remote access for all labs||83%|
|Remote access of data from any location||69%|
Completed Surveys: 244
Please visit http://www.labmanager.com/?articles.view/articleNo/4862/ to view a webinar on choosing the right chromatography data system for your lab.