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2016 LIMS User Survey Results

Get questions you may want to ask when buying a LIMS, and much more

Erica Tennenhouse, PhD

Erica Tennenhouse, PhD, is the managing editor of Clinical Lab Manager.

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A laboratory information management system (LIMS) serves as the interface to a laboratory’s data, instruments, analyses, and reports. For many analytical laboratories, a LIMS is an important investment that assists management in evaluating the efficiency of the laboratory’s operations and reducing costs.

Top 5 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a LIMS

  1. Why does your organization need a LIMS? You and your staff should come up with a cost-benefit list to help you decide if a LIMS is worth investing in.
  2. What are your current user requirements and how do you expect those to change five to ten years down the road?
  3. Make a list. If you expect your needs to change, a flexible LIMS is likely a good choice. Requirements can include labeling, sample registration, etc.
  4. Do you need a consultant to help you decide whether a LIMS is a good fit for you or not? Examine the pros and cons and make sure you properly research potential consultants.
  5. How does the company’s LIMS differ from other products out there? Make sure you do your homework and phone each company you’re interested in. If they can’t answer your questions, they probably aren’t a good fit for you.
  6. Ask for fact sheets, features lists, and case studies from the company. This literature is a starting point for picking the best LIMS for you. A product demonstration is essential.

Types of LIMS configuration used by survey respondents:

Client/server 48%
Web based 38%
Stand alone 23%
Thin client/server 9%
Other 2%

Most common LIMS applications reported by survey respondents:

Sample Management 89%
User reporting 77%
QA/QC 66%
Instrument connection 49%
Workflow automation 43%
Regulatory management 39%
Invoicing 27%
Chemical inventory 22%
Other 5%

Nearly 40% of respondents are engaged in purchasing a new LIMS. The reasons for these purchases are as follows:

Upgrading to a new system
Adding to an existing system
First time purchase
Setting up a new lab

Top 10 Features/Factors Respondents Look for When Purchasing a LIMS:

Easily upgraded 78%
Service and support 77%
Easy data migration 76%
Flexibility 76%
Simple interface 74%
Powerful reporting functions 68%
Vendor supported training 65%
Ease of installation 61%
Vendor reputation 57%
Price 56%

For more information on LIMS, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit

See the most recent results here