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Are You in the Market for a Chromatography Data System?

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.

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.

  Users Locations
1 – 10 55% 88%
11 – 25 23% 8%
26 – 50 12% 5%
50+ 10% 0%

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.

Stand-alone 47%
Client/server 37%
Web-based 9%
Thin client/server 5%
Other 1%

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%
Other 7%

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%
Versatility 96%
Price 92%
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%
Customization 81%
Remote access of data from any location 69%
Web-based access 51%

Completed Surveys: 244

Please visit to view a webinar on choosing the right chromatography data system for your lab.