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13 March 2024

Why equipping scientists to harness digitalization is key to driving laboratory innovation

Tamara McKenna

Director, Global Scientific LIMS Strategy and Business Development

Tamara McKenna


Tamara joined Clinisys in May 2023, bringing over 20 years experience in the laboratory information technology and services industry. A Chemistry graduate, Tamara began her career as a process metallurgist for a Mining Research and Technology business before moving into the LIMS industry.

Digital transformation can deliver significant benefits for laboratories and their customers, be that through improvements in efficiency, accuracy or insight. But investing in the latest, greatest technology is not an immediate path to success. Technology is a key enabler when harnessed correctly, but it’s equally possible to invest in the wrong software for your business needs, or even implement the right software but fail to fully leverage its capabilities and reap the expected rewards. When considering the role of digital in driving laboratory innovation, we need to look at the broader picture.

Setting your digital transformation strategy

Digital transformation encompasses processes, culture, relationships, products, services and resources as well as technology. It is a component of your overall strategy for organisational improvement. It involves assessing how you work, connect and interact, and identifying where you can improve, to generate greater value for your organisation. Typically, this will include enhancing efficiency, reducing manual tasks, increasing access to data, and enabling collaborative working. In healthcare, for example, digital transformation improves patient outcomes through more efficient, connected care pathways and accurate diagnoses, while in the pharmaceutical industry, it can accelerate drug discovery and development, and reduce time to market. Digital systems make it easier for the food and agricultural industries to create a complete chain of custody from raw materials to manufacture, improving the quality and safety of food products released to the market.

Most laboratories are not yet future ready. Legacy systems and data silos that are not equipped for today’s modern technology landscape hinder efficiency and mean access to data is often poor. For labs to thrive, we need to support scientists in developing the skills, experience, and technology to drive innovation and data-led decision-making.

Drivers of transformation

In its report, ‘Driving Digitalization at scale in the lab1 Accenture highlights the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in accelerating laboratory transformation but recognizes that deployment at scale remains a challenge. Before the pandemic, it found 40% of labs had not begun to apply digital solutions, but by 2021, 91% were taking action toward digital. Key benefits highlighted by those that have scaled their digitalization and transformation initiatives include:

  • Faster access to data
  • Increased collaboration
  • Less manual effort
  • Ability to refocus on high priority activities

Key skills and talent emerged as top enablers of digital transformation, making people vital to the successful implementation of new innovations in laboratories.

As a result, company culture is key. As McKinsey revealed in their 2023 Global Survey2 looking at digital strategy and investment, to realise enterprise-wide benefits, organizations need to develop operating models and cultures that embrace innovation. Those that do reap rewards in terms of operational efficiency, collaborative working, seamless access to data and talent retention.

Investing in skills development that gives scientists the knowledge and capacity to embrace new technology will accelerate the impact of digital transformation, which is vital for attracting and retaining staff. Integrated cloud-based platforms also enable laboratories and scientists to collaborate effectively, accelerate growth and meet additional demand.

In our experience, laboratories looking to become future-ready and accelerate their digital transformation journey should consider four key pillars of business change:

  1. Enterprise cloud platforms
  2. Data-centricity
  3. Integration and connectivity
  4. The human experience

Together these elements help to transform business agility, scalability, quality, and compliance, as well as supporting innovation, growth, and speed to market, while attracting and retaining talent.

The role of LIMS in digital transformation

By connecting critical laboratory data from many sources across multiple industries, companies like Clinisys, working in partnership with our customers, can enable healthier communities. Achieving this means removing unnecessary barriers that often get in the way of efficient data-driven decision making which is increasingly seen as critical to delivering sustainable solutions to some of the world’s most complex challenges. Clinisys Laboratory SolutionsTM are built on a single platform to enable healthcare and scientific laboratories to futureproof their LIMS investment. The Clinisys PlatformTM provides the core data architecture, upon which we layer our laboratory applications and processes for industry specific solutions. Designed with future innovation in mind, the platform gives laboratories the freedom to integrate emerging technologies to further improve accuracy and efficiency.

One of the critical elements here is flexibility. When it comes to driving innovation, laboratories need to have confidence that the investments they make will stand up to tomorrow’s unforeseen challenges as well as today’s pressing demands. Looking at solutions that will flex and grow with your business and investing in the skills and training required to take full advantage of current and emerging capabilities, will put your laboratory – and your team – ahead.

1 Driving digitalization at scale in the lab, 2022, Accenture 2 How innovative companies leverage tech to outperform, 2023, McKinsey & Company

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