The short answer to this question is that the most important features of a LIMS are the features that are most important for your lab. Many labs have similarities, but every lab has its own unique characteristics. But although most labs know where they are experiencing issues, they may not know just what solutions a LIMS can provide and how.
The most important thing to remember when considering LIMS is that the needs of your lab now may not be the same a year or five years from now. Understanding what a LIMS can do is the first part of the process. Understanding what would be involved whenever you want or need to make any adjustments, additions of tests, workflows, whole new departments, or even new lab locations, or perhaps pivot in brand new directions, is equally as important. A LIMS is a significant investment, every bit as significant as any instrument. Analysis alone is worthless without the ability to keep track of samples and their statuses, ensure accuracy, and generate professional reports – all in an efficient, cost-effective fashion.
When considering the purchase of laboratory software, it is best to involve all relevant stakeholders—including laboratory staff, management, IT, and compliance teams—in the selection process. Gather their input to confirm the chosen LIMS meets everyone’s needs. Determine your budget range for acquiring and implementing a LIMS. Consider the initial costs and ongoing maintenance, support, and potential scalability needs within your financial capabilities.
So reliable sample tracking, workflow management and reporting are core features to expect in a LIMS. These must be flexible enough to support your lab as it grows and changes, without the need for expensive development at every turn. There are a number of additional features, however, that today’s labs should expect from a modern, professional LIMS.
When evaluating a laboratory information management system (LIMS) solution, you should consider several key features, which are further detailed in “20 Key Features to Look for in a Modern LIMS”.
- Sample management
- Data management
- Workflow automation
- Instrument integration
- Quality control
- Reporting and analytics
- User-friendly interface
- Configurability and customization
- Security and data integrity
- Collaboration and communication
- Regulatory- and standards-based compliance
- Audit trail and version control
- Mobile accessibility
- Integration capabilities
- Cloud-based architecture
- Support and training
- Validation documentation
- Vendor reputation
- Cost and licensing model
Finally, request a demonstration of the LIMS solutions you are considering. A visual experience will give you a better understanding of the system’s usability, functionality, and compatibility with your laboratory’s workflows.
The LabLynx LIMS Solution
The ELab LIMS can also be easily configured through the user interface (UI) by your authorized users, and also customized through backend development if required, by our own experienced, professional developers, to meet your lab’s specific needs.
Below are a few key features provided in the LabLynx ELab LIMS:
- Sample tracking and management
- Sample and result batching
- Data warehouse – storage, management, access
- Workflow management – Create/modify process steps, sequential processing paths, etc.
- Test management – Create/modify tests, parameters, limit sets, specifications, etc.
- Instrument integration
- Internal and external file or data upload/linking
- QA/QC functionality and Control Charting
- Data and trend analysis
- Custom reporting and barcode support
- User-level roles for security management and user-based configurations
- Extensive flexibility through user-configuration (low-code/no-code)
- Audit trail and chain of custody (COC)
- Document/files creation and management with ISO-compliant versioning
- Standards/regulatory compliance – ISO, 21 CFR, EPA, HIPAA, FDA, GmP
- Easily add additional departments and locations
- Operating system and browser agnostic: accessible via any browser on any device
- Third-party software integration
- Hosting – cloud, on premises, or hybrid
- Task and event scheduling
- Query/search capabilities – multiple criteria
- Inventory management
- Instrument calibration and maintenance management
- Training, support, and additional services like validation documentation, through LiMShelp
Additionally, LabLynx is unique in offering an a la carte suite of platforms and applications that are designed to work together seamlessly with each other and with your existing infrastructure to provide a complete data management solution for your lab or labs. These include:
- ELab Notes Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN)
- LabDrive Scientific Data Management System (SDMS)
- LabVia Integrations Manager
- LabVista Business Intelligence (BI) tool for data analytics and visualization
- SciCloud.net® Cloud platform (platform as a service, or PaaS)
ELab Notes Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN)
Custom-built for seamless performance, the LabLynx ELab Notes ELN provides your scientists and engineers with the latest technology at their fingertips, allowing experiments, processes and other reference materials to help guide their work, while all observations, process updates, notes and uploaded images or other files can be recorded and stored in the master LIMS database for instant retrieval any time by authorized users. The ELab Notes ELN is where research meets quality, through leveraging modern technology.
Scientific data management systems (SDMS) are digital tools for the safety and accessibility of scientific data. These systems allow for more efficient data organization and analysis. LabDrive, from LabLynx goes far beyond basic data storage, organization and access. It is essentially a secure, comprehensive cloud-based office where all non-core LIMS lab-related communications, files and functions can be managed. It is also a platform that allows an almost unlimited range of apps to be added from open source and custom-developed sources. Key features include:
- Secure file exchange within and between organizations
- Collaborative editing of docx, xlsx and more
- File versioning, protection, retire, restore and retention control
- Comment on files, add notes, share links
- Integrated chat and secure audio-video calls
- Calendar, mail and task management tools
- Comprehensive set of security capabilities
- Automate repetitive tasks and build efficient team collaboration workflows.
- Review/approval steps with digital signoffs
- Intuitive, drag-and-drop, user-friendly UX
- Extensive range of additional apps and tools available – dashboard, integration, organization, multimedia, communication, monitoring/metrics and more
The scalability and flexibility of LabDrive helps make the LabLynx Integrated LIMS Solution an agile, future-proof data management strategy for long-term efficiency, effectiveness and ROI.
LabVia – Integration / Automation / Monitoring
LabVia is our exclusive connectivity solution. It incorporates the very latest technology, including artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IOT) techniques along with cloud-based management, to intelligently manage multiple data communications between all kinds of devices, services, systems, or other sources. LabVia is flexible enough to handle all integration management, throughout your complete LabLynx Integrated LIMS Solution, including our own, as well as any systems, databases or applications you may already have and want to keep. These can include integrations like:
- SDMS – Scientific Data Management System
- LIMS or other Laboratory Information Systems
- MES – Manufacturing Execution System
- Billing Services
- PLM – Product Lifecycle Management
- Regulatory/Reporting Agencies
- METRC, Other Seed-to-Sale Tracking Integration
- Environmental and Storage Monitoring Devices/Apps
- Field Devices, Mobile, Hand-held etc.
- Reference or Contract Labs
- Point-Of-Care (POC) Devices
- ERP – Enterprise Resource Planning systems
- Other internal or external databases or systems
LabVia consists of two components: the onsite hub and the cloud platform control portion.
The onsite part of the LabVia solution is the LabVia Hub. It is a hardware/software product that provides a central nexus point for all of the integrated nodes (instruments/devices, software applications etc.), intelligently managing their data. Full instructions on installation and setup are provided, and a LabLynx professional will guide you through the process. Or, if you prefer, we can come onsite and install it for you, ensuring all interfaced data points communicate properly. Many systems need only be able to provide files that your LabLynx LIMS Integrated Solution can access to process and report, and/or be able to receive sample information from the LIMS. If serial connections are required, then a LabVia channel is utilized, and your hub will link up with the cloud-based software portion of LabVia to ensure perfect data routing and management.
The cloud portion of LabVia is hosted for you in our sciCloud.net® cloud platform infrastructure as a service (IaaS), keeping your integrations securely managed in real time. And any time you need more integrations (e.g., you buy new instruments that you’d like to interface with your system), we can add a new channel for you that is configured to transfer the data you want, in the ways you want them. All maintenance, support and warranty are included in your annual agreement.
LabVista – Powering Enterprise Excellence with Analytics/BI
Collecting, organizing and managing disparate data is of vital importance. But the next part is of even greater importance: retrieving, presenting, interpreting and understanding the data so that it results in fully-informed decision making, in both real time/short term and over long-term planning strategies. That’s where LabLynx’s LabVista business intelligence (BI) analytics and visualization platform comes in.
LabVista integrates data analytics, dashboards, and BI reporting functions into your existing software applications and the LabLynx Integrated LIMS Solution, reducing end-user push-back and minimizing the learning curve while enabling a full range of data presentation and analysis. Once you experience its incredible ease of use and depth of functionality you will wonder how you ever managed without it.
The crowning glory of data management, LabVista brings all of the dry, mind-numbing data sets to vivid life, full of meaning and rife with useful, actionable, hard information. Examine all aspects of your metrics to obtain a fuller understanding, and generate all kinds and formats of formal reports – all in a secure, collaborative environment.
sciCloud.net® – A Platform for now and the Future
Providing the overall secure and reliable cloud platform (platform as a service, or PaaS) for your complete LabLynx Integrated LIMS Solution is sciCloud.net®. This is your dedicated cloud environment that hosts the entire solution, including database and applications. It is a private, secure server network dedicated specifically to your applications and not shared across other clients or laboratories, through Amazon Web Services (AWS), the world standard in cloud hosting. It leverages modern application virtualization technology to enable secure networking across multiple clouds, reducing vulnerability with load balancers and autoscaling groups in each region so that there is no single point of failure. Data are encrypted both at rest and in transit.
SciCloud.net® is fully scalable, guaranteeing reliable, affordable infrastructure hosting for the long-term future. It is designed to be the perfect vehicle for LabLynx’s Next-Generation Informatics (NGi) Integrated LIMS Solution: affordable, state-of-the-art, proven, comprehensive, scalable and reliable, designed for the lifetime of your laboratories.
The LabLynx LIMS Solution
That is what the LabLynx LIMS solution gives you: not simply a LIMS, but a complete data management ecosystem – or the elements you need to complete your existing overall data management ecosystem. Contact us to set up a time to discuss your lab’s data management needs!