In these days where it seems that every feature is available in some of the LIMS, can LIMS (or ELN or LES) vendors compete with features?
LIMS selection for an industry is difficult even if there are many such systems within an industry, and that’s true of ELNs and LESs, as well. By the way, if the title of this seems awkward, it is, but I stopped wordsmithing it and just left it alone.
The LIMS cost benefit analysis is something we talk about doing before buying a system as if it really exists. It’s not as real as we pretend it is.
When doing a LIMS, ELN or LES purchase and implementation, potential customers look for functionality that matches their needs. Additionally, most companies will have some other criteria, such as the operating system or database they prefer to use. But when systems offer similar features and run on the same platforms, there are other technical considerations to review before purchasing one.
Workarounds might keep you working but they can be traps, as well.
Most recently, I’ve been working with a variety of small pharma/bio companies that need to purchase a QC (Quality Control) LIMS (or LES) for their laboratories. We could just call it a LIMS but with the way acronyms abound, let’s just say that it will manage their samples, tests, results, workflows and reporting. What I’m saying, here, could apply to a QC LES, as well.
Recently, I’ve been doing what is possibly the least favorite thing about my job – watching LIMS demos. There are so many products out there and they’re so similar that they just blend together, for the most part.
Earlier this year, I made a post about product selection. In it, I claimed that those of you who wanted to do a Google search to do a LIMS selection could do it as well as I could. The post was “Making Product Selection Affordable to Everyone.” I got both a response to that AND a new customer with an e-mail that basically said, “No, we can’t do it as easily as you.” I was only moderately skeptical but here’s more evidence that you really CAN’T do it as easily as me. I’m even finding that strange, lately.
In my recent post The Lack of the Ultimate System I was talking about my frustration that I do not have just one really great system option that I can give to customers who just need some basic system, where the problem is that, to actually “know” system is to implement it.
I have a friend who does similar consulting to mine but that he works in the PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) sector. Years ago, he found a product that could handle any of the customers that came his way and with an associated cost that scaled well to the size of customer implementing the product. He altogether stopped doing product selections for customers and started telling them he had the solution for them. I’ve been envious of this every since he told me.