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Informatics Buyer's Guide

Five questions to ask when buying laboratory informatics systems

by Lab Manager
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Lab Manager's 2020 Informatics Buyer's Guide

5 Questions to Ask When Buying Laboratory Informatics Systems

Laboratory information management systems (LIMS) are computer programs used to facilitate laboratory operations. They can be used for sample management, instrument integration and monitoring, data collection, compliance, quality assurance, experiment documentation, and many other tasks. LIMS form a central database where lab members can access all laboratory information, increasing transparency and efficiency within your lab.

  1. What will be the purpose of your LIMS? What functions will you require? (e.g. storing safety data sheets, recording experimental data, developing standard operating procedures)
  2. How easy is the LIMS to use? Is the software flexible and can it be configured to meet your needs
  3. Can the LIMS be integrated with software you are already using? Is it compatible with your instruments?
  4. Does the LIMS support industry-specific compliance regulations? (e.g. Good Laboratory Practices, Good Manufacturing Practices, data integrity guidelines)
  5. What services are available from the vendor to assist with implementation and use?

Survey Data

More than 80 percent of Lab Manager informatics survey respondents agree that ease of use is the most important feature to consider when purchasing a LIMS.

Ease of use                                                            82%
Ability to meet all user needs                             78%
Adaptability                                                          72%
User support                                                         68%
Integration with other software/systems         63%
Flexibility                                                              57%
Price                                                                      55%
Vendor supported training                                  50%
Ease of installation                                              43%
Easy to backup                                                     43%

Purchasing Tip

When purchasing a LIMS, look for software that is highly configurable. When implementing the system, you’ll want to be able to tailor the software to your needs and workflows rather than being confined to its pre-set capabilities. Over time, configurable software will be able to adapt as your needs change without having to implement a new system.