Skip to main content
20 May 2020

Experience More from Your LIMS Vendor

Selecting your laboratory information management system (LIMS) is one of the most crucial decisions you will make for your lab and your company. 

Whether you need a LIMS to support a rapid period of growth, or you’re retiring aging infrastructure and want the assurances of a smooth, uninterrupted data migration and implementation, the LIMS partner you select should both address your current pain points and prepare you for the future.

Key First Steps

A critical first step in the LIMS vetting process is identifying the right selection team. This team should include multi-functional representatives spanning I.T., Management, Quality/Regulatory, Commercial, and Operations to ensure any area that is impacted by the LIMS decision is covered. Once assembled, this team needs to create a prioritized set of LIMS requirements to use when evaluating fit for each potential vendor. Don’t worry if these requirements are unpolished at this stage; the best partners will help you refine your requirements during the selection process and later in the LIMS implementation phase.

Lean on the Experts

Labs typically generate very thorough requirements to define technical and functional components of the LIMS system, but what’s often overlooked is the strength of the vendor partnership to ensure your business success. A new lab with limited staffing will need to rely heavily on business and process experts provided by the LIMS vendor. For that reason, it’s important to select a LIMS partner with deep expertise in laboratory operations to support initial process workflow development and to help anticipate and minimize growing pains as you expand and scale your business.

More established labs transitioning to a new LIMS need that very same level of deep expertise, as data migrations and the adoption of a new system can be challenging. Your vendor partner should understand that the lab does not stop during a LIMS implementation and provide a detailed project plan across all functions to facilitate a smooth conversion.

No matter your lab size, your business deserves a LIMS partner that is deeply entrenched in the laboratory testing business and brings a wealth of lab experience and subject matter experts to support the transition.

Consider ApolloLIMS

As your team begins to develop a LIMS selection plan and define the requirements for your new system, consider ApolloLIMS as a vendor partner. Our team offers an unparalleled commitment to our customers’ success, as well as tools and expertise to help you perform at a higher level both now and in the future. Contact our team to learn more.

Whether a new or established lab, deep subject matter expertise in lab operations from your LIMS vendor is critical to your success.

LIMS implementation process

It is an understatement to say that the implementation phase of a laboratory information management system (LIMS) is critical to the success of your laboratory.

Your LIMS is your lab’s central nervous system, so the implementation must be done right. And, it’s during this phase that the quality of your LIMS vendor partnership will become apparent – either as one that can support your current and future needs or as one that will leave you struggling for years to come.


During LIMS vendor selection and before implementation, key stakeholders at the lab should outline refined, specific requirements for the LIMS, in part, based on collaborative discussions with the selected vendor. The best LIMS vendors will probe deeply into your lab and workflow requirements during the sales process and leading up to implementation. During the implementation phase, the LIMS vendor should then work with your team to test, refine, and implement those requirements prior to final system deployment and training.

Kick-Off & Discovery

All LIMS implementations come with challenges, which is why it’s important to find a vendor that is willing to truly partner and manage the process with you. The vendor should schedule a kick-off meeting soon after the final contract is signed. The meeting will serve as an opportunity to gather additional information and to: 1) clarify any outstanding questions, 2) establish roles and responsibilities, 3) orient the entire team to the LIMS implementation process, and 4) agree on the project milestones and timeline. With the right LIMS partner, the kick-off meeting is largely an administrative, discovery, and planning discussion, recapping much of what both teams discussed in the selection process. Nothing should be a surprise to your team.

Managing Scope, Timeline, & Budget

The best LIMS partner will manage the implementation phase with a great deal of sensitivity to the desired scope, timeline, and budget. No laboratory team wants to see a project timeline drag out for months and months with no end in sight. Regularly scheduled updates and open communication are key. However, it’s not uncommon for the project scope to change as the implementation unfolds. If scope expansion occurs, your LIMS partner should clearly detail the cost and timeline impact and help you assess whether any scope changes make sense in the short run, or if you’re better served delaying those changes until a second phase of implementation.

System Demos to Assess Progress & Training

Your LIMS implementation phase should include several iterative cycles of system demonstrations in milestone meetings to ensure functionality and features are configured to your workflow. Further, a comprehensive training plan should be agreed upon and strictly adhered to by both parties. If your LIMS partner’s team has deep laboratory industry knowledge and expertise, they can also provide best practices from past experiences to assist in the process and ease concerns leading up to the go-live date. On the contrary, less experienced LIMS vendors may seem to disappear during the implementation process, only to re-emerge months later with incorrect system configuration and minimal training for your team, costing your lab irreplaceable time and money.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, a successful LIMS implementation comes down to three important steps:

1. Ask detailed questions about implementation early in sales discussions with LIMS vendors to ensure you select the best partner for your lab.

2. Kick the process off in a timely manner, and keep lines of communication open around scope, timeline, and budget.

3. Conduct regular product demonstrations along the way, and agree to a comprehensive training plan.

Above all, your company needs a LIMS partner with the highest commitment to your success. This is something we can deliver. With decades of experience, unparalleled support, and comprehensive tools and expertise, we help you perform at a higher level both now and in the future. Contact our team for more information.

The partnership between you and your LIMS vendor is just as, if not more so, critical after go-live as it is during the selection and implementation phases.

Whether your laboratory is expanding and adding new lines of business or performing locations, or you’re remaining relatively constant, your LIMS partner should be an ally in helping you navigate changes quickly and efficiently, and a resource when questions arise during everyday use of the system.

Day-to-Day Support

Often laboratories do not evaluate a potential LIMS partner’s commitment to ongoing support during the selection phase. Many LIMS vendors simply drop their system in and leave the rest to the lab. This is a recipe for disaster. And “support” does not just mean LIMS training before and during implementation. It should truly be ongoing; it’s just a reality that your laboratory team will have questions and will encounter technical issues as they use the system. You need a LIMS partner that a) prioritizes customer success, helping you maximize the value you get from your investment, and b) is responsive and willing to own and resolve technical issues – even if not their own – as they arise.

When Your Business Expands

One often overlooked instance when your laboratory will need in-depth support from your LIMS vendor is during a laboratory expansion. This could be when your lab adopts new instrumentation, implements new testing lines, or expands to new locations. While your LIMS partner should offer a product that meets your business and technical needs both now and in the future, it must also have the experience on staff to assist with the challenges of scaling of your business. 

The process and tasks associated with expanding your laboratory with your LIMS vendor can closely resemble the original LIMS implementation phases. During the implementation phase of any expansion, whether a new EMR interface or a new location, your LIMS partner should work with you to refine your requirements. And by this point in your partnership, your vendor should know your business and laboratory well, which will expedite this process. However, an expansion of your business most likely introduces new business objectives, shifting priorities, and new requirements for your laboratory. Your LIMS partner must be flexible and responsive enough to adapt to this new reality.

Even with a smaller expansion of your lab, such as adding a new piece of instrumentation or LIMS functionality, it is not an overstatement to suggest that success or failure depends on the partnership with your LIMS vendor. And the importance of this partnership becomes even clearer when the scope of the expansion grows, such as bringing on a new service line or expanding to a second location. Your LIMS vendor and the laboratory team should have a well-thought-out plan for defining your requirements, kicking off the project, and implementing the new functionality. If not, even the smallest of expansions or upgrades will cost you significant time and money.

Finally, without proper planning, any expansion can lead to a disruption of laboratory workflows. There is no substitute for experience on the part of your LIMS vendor. A good LIMS partner will have years of experience working with laboratories that have gone through similar expansions and will have established processes to implement your changes efficiently and with as little impact on your laboratory team as possible.

ApolloLIMS Is In It for the Long Haul

Your lab needs a LIMS partner with a strong commitment to ongoing support and experience managing laboratory growth and expansion. We care about our customers’ success, and we have decades of experience, unparalleled support, and comprehensive tools and expertise to offer your laboratory.