How do you define success for a laboratory information management system (LIMS) implementation? No different than other software implementations, you might say an implementation is successful if it’s on time, on budget, and delivers the necessary features. However, at the end of the day, there is an even more important question—did you improve operations?
With every investment in a business, leaders ask what is the expected return on investment (ROI). In the case of a LIMS implementation, ROI answers the question of how and when the gains to the business will offset the costs.
It doesn’t matter if you are implementing a new LIMS for the first time to replace paper or spreadsheets or if you are upgrading to an entirely new laboratory information management system. Look at these four measures of success to make sure your laboratory business attains the ROI you project. The new LIMS should:
- increase team and operational productivity
- improve data integrity
- enable data analytics
- maintain or improve quality
Let’s discuss each of these measures to help you prepare the information you need to estimate and track your return on investment to lab management when you decide to purchase or change LIMS software. Not sure if you need an LIS or a LIMS? Take a look at our approach to the future of LIS and LIMS.
1. Increase team and operational productivity
Measure the success of your LIMS implementation based on new capabilities that not only empower the business with greater access to information, but also add efficiency gains or process simplifications.
Here are some examples of efficiencies you can measure as part of your LIMS implementation project ROI:
- elimination of duplicated work
- faster, reproducible workflows
- reductions in errors
- improvements in team communication
- integrated access to previously siloed information
Achieve these new productivity gains by embracing opportunities for automation. Eliminate as much paper as possible and replace manual inputs with electronic data gathering and governance. A solid informatics infrastructure will allow your lab personnel to refocus onto high-value activities, which should have a positive knock-on effect of higher employee satisfaction when staff is freed up to do more science and less administration.
To achieve these productivity gains, focus your LIMS implementation team on technology solutions that support process improvements. A modern, sophisticated LIMS is one that uses interoperable data structures to perform more complex data management functions that will ultimately improve your lab’s data integrity and thereby strengthen its quality control and regulatory compliance.
2. Improve data integrity
Measure the ROI on a LIMS implementation by measuring data integrity improvements. Look to measure first the degree to which your laboratory data is complete, consistent, and accurate throughout the data lifecycle. With good data governance comes defensible data, which is the cornerstone for regulatory compliance following ALCOA+ principles in US FDA CGMP guidance.
The LIMS you choose is pivotal to improving data integrity to achieve and maintain consistent lab regulatory compliance. A sophisticated laboratory information management system structures data the very instant it is created, capturing and storing it not only to make it available for easy retrieval, analysis, monitoring, execution, and optimisation, but also adding metadata as context for later analysis. Follow up by measuring how interoperable your structured LIMS data is with internal and external systems for regulatory compliance or scientific study purposes, for example.
3. Enable data analytics
Measure the success of your LIMS implementation by the new business intelligence you can create, because more lab business management insights can lead to even more ROI gains. With structured data plus metadata for additional context, you can use LIMS reports or additional analytics software to track and trend laboratory management operational data for process improvement, leading to even greater ROI.
Retrospectively mine historical data to take corrective action, strengthen processes, or mitigate against future risk. Develop predictive insights into staffing resources, supply chain, profit, market growth, customer segmentation, and more. The more analytics you apply, the more value you can add to the ROI on your LIMS implementation. Similarly, you can strengthen your laboratory’s quality management system using business insights from LIMS analytics for yet another source of LIMS implementation ROI.
4. Maintain or improve quality
With respect to your lab’s quality management system, a successful LIMS implementation project should again measure the provision of complete, consistent, and accurate data, which is a direct result of complete, consistent, and accurate processes. Thus, the laboratory quality management system and LIMS workflows and processes go hand in hand
Leverage the advanced reporting features from your LIMS for quality audits to measure and track deviations, errors, and corrective actions over time. To help mitigate lab quality problems, strive to attain 100% electronic data gathering and 100% automation to eliminate manual tasks and as preventive measures against data falsification or alteration. Adherence to a data governance plan is yet another downstream measure of LIMS implementation success that will help to strengthen your laboratory quality management system by mitigating the potential for errors and chain of custody breaks.
Choose a LIMS that delivers ROI
Software is an investment, not only in money, but also in time and human capital. The effort to select the right LIMS solution for your organization can be daunting. But the rewards to your laboratory operations will pay off long into the future when you use these success measures.
In the past two decades of working with laboratories to meet their technology and informatics needs, we at Clinisys have vast experience implementing LIMS software for scientific and environmental laboratories with specialties that represent the full range of disciplines, including forensic and clinical toxicology, public health, pharma, biotech, agronomy, soil, food and beverage, air, water quality, and wastewater.
Work with us to help you choose and implement the Clinisys Laboratory Solutions™ your laboratory requires. Clinisys Laboratory Solutions deliver unprecedented configurability and interoperability and are designed to future-proof your lab by enabling end-to-end workflow automation, unlimited connectivity, easily available data structures, complete quality control, and more. And then involve us early in your LIMS project planning process for a successful LIMS implementation that can deliver well beyond your laboratory management return on investment goals.