Are You in the Market for a Chromatography Data System?

By Lab Manager

The right chromatography data system (CDS) can spell the difference between a streamlined data collection process and one that is haphazard. CDSs are software packages that collect, store, and help users interpret data. Some have instrument control functions as well. CDSs come in many different varieties, which can make selecting one a daunting exercise. The good news is that vendors can provide expert advice on features most suitable to specific workflows. And, in recognition of the diverse chromatography system designs, CDSs are evolving toward improved cross-company integration and modular systems that adapt to a lab’s changing needs. Data system packages can run on desktops (single workstation) or servers (networked) and cost anywhere from several thousand to several hundred thousand dollars, depending on the size of the network and the CDS’s capabilities. Software capabilities range from basic instrument operation, data collection, and storage to highly integrated network systems designed to meet strict FDA quality control and security standards.

What type of CDS installation do you have?

Web-based 16%
Stand-alone 45%
Thin client/server 8%
Client/server 28%
Other (please specify): 2%

If you use a CDS in your lab, please choose the primary purpose for this CDS:

Improved communication between instruments and related software 18%
Accelerating the documentation and reporting of experimentation 16%
Centralized data repositories 14%
Improve productivity 12%
Infrastructure for capturing, accessing and sharing experimental information 7%
Enabling scientists to collaborate effectively on multi-stage projects 7%
Streamlined regulatory compliance 2%
Workflow coordination across geographic and business boundaries 1%
All of the above 20%

How many users / locations access the CDS?

  1 - 10 11 - 25 26 - 50 50+
Users 58% 22% 10% 10%
Locations 74% 10% 8% 8%

The biggest challenge facing labs in purchasing a CDS is “migration of existing data into the new system.”

What is your biggest challenge in this CDS purchase?:

Migration of existing data into the new system 31%
Determining the right system for our lab 29%
Investing in software that will become obsolete 25%
Demonstrating ROI to senior management 12%
Staff adoption and training 8%
Integration with other software programs in the lab 8%
Gaining user buy-in 2%
Other 8%

Basic CDS software can integrate signals from multiple detectors (UV-Vis, refractive index, photodiode array detectors, electrochemical detectors, evaporative light scattering, and others) and transform those signals into chromatograms. A CDS can also integrate chromatographic peaks and assist in method development. More advanced functions include managing and storing data for integration with data from other runs. More complex capabilities like sample preparation, finer instrument control, and data management can usually be added onto a basic software package later.

The top 5 most important factors in our readers’ decisions to buy a CDS:

  Important Not Important
Ease of use 97% 3%
Service and support 98% 2%
Price 97% 3%
Versatility 94% 6%
Seamless communication between different instruments and software 93% 7%

For more information on chromatography data systems, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit  or

Categories: Surveys

Published In

Effective Global Leadership Magazine Issue Cover
Effective Global Leadership

Published: July 1, 2012

Cover Story

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