Once your lab has made the decision to incorporate a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS), then comes the big question: To build a LIMS or to buy it?
There are a number of proponents for both sides but what would actually be better for a lab, particularly in this age of ongoing technological enhancements?
When making that decision, you must consider that ultimately what you need is a LIMS that reduces sample turnaround time and errors, efficiently manages lab resources, automates routine tasks, and helps you seamlessly integrate new technologies and scale up sample volume.
Should you be Building your own LIMS or buying it from a trusted vendor?
There are some major points to consider, the first being your ability to Customise. Many labs believe that building your own LIMS allows for full customisation as you can build the LIMS specifically according to the needs of your lab. But what happens when you bring in new technology? The LIMS you have created has a rigid framework that has been customised entirely according to your lab at that point, would you be able to seamlessly upscale your research?
This issue does not arise where buying a commercial LIMS is concerned, the LIMS can be customised to integrate any change in technology, new instrumentation or a larger throughput of samples. This would extend the useful life of the system, eventually providing you with good returns on your investment.
Secondly, Cost, how much are you willing to spend in the long run? Building your own LIMS is a costlier process in terms of cost of ownership, as it compounds the total development cost.
Once you have employed IT experts or a programmer to build your LIMS for you, it doesn’t just end there, once the LIMS is complete the needs of your lab could have changed or you may have purchased expensive equipment which now cannot be integrated with your LIMS. You would have to get that programmer back in to modify your LIMS or rebuild – this cost a great deal of money and time eventually causing you to lose out in terms of a return on investment.
On the other hand, if you were to buy a LIMS that can be customised by the vendor to consistently suit any operational changes, the initial cost may be higher, but it would be a safer bet as you would not have to keep raking up more costs in the future, you have the expertise of the vendor to make the changes you need.
As illustrated in the infographic below, the reasons to buy a LIMS far outweigh those for building one:
- Speedy Implementation
- Ongoing Support and Services
- Time saved can be utilised on what is more important – Research
- Scalability – allowing your lab to grown along with advancements in global technology
Ultimately, if you want your LIMS operational in a couple of months with the flexibility of allowing your lab to expand without having to take on the effort of modifying the LIMS according to the changes in your lab, it would be preferable to dole out that cost and buy it from a trusted vendor.
Conversely, if LIMS is not an immediate requirement, you can go ahead and make the decision to build your LIMS to the exact requirements of your laboratory.