A Lab Informatics System That Works

Why It’s Not as Simple as You Think

Customers aren’t interested in software. They are interested in what software can do for them: what it can do for their research, how it can help them make connections between data, and how they can share real-time information with partners around the world.

When we ask customers what they want in a system – they say, “A system that works.”

What Does “A System that Works” Mean?

“Working” can mean two very different things. The first definition is more objective — does the software do what it is intended to do in the way it is intended to do it? The second definition is subjective. When customers refer to a system “that works” for them, they mean one that allows them to do the work they want to do, the way they want to do it. So, we are faced with two definitions, both equally important.

A Lab Informatics System that Works to Specifications

A software system that “technically” works needs to meet the defined requirements. For a lab informatics system, it should have searching, tracking, and workflow capabilities. If relevant to the customer, it should have APIs to allow information to pass between different systems, and be scalable as needed without affecting the capabilities of the rest of the software. With cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), the provider should maintain the system and make sure it works without in-house IT staff needing to spend time on maintenance. A system that works has gone through multiple rounds of QA (Quality Assurance) and testing.

However, an informatics system that technically works is something you want to have and want to work with, but simply “working” is not enough for customers…

A LIMS System that Works for You

Taking your LIMS from a system that works according to specifications to a system that “works” for the customer can be difficult. If your LIMS doesn’t fulfill your specific needs in the desired way, it won’t be used.

Traditional informatics systems come in a one-size fits all variety. In reality, one-size does not fit any and these systems can require lengthy and costly custom coding projects to enable the system to “work” for the user. By the time the custom coding project is done (and has gone through several iterations) the science may have advanced far enough that the new system, though built to the customer’s specifications, still does not “work” for the customer. This can lead to a perpetual state of dissatisfaction with the LIMS or informatics system, the scientists in the lab have to try to make due and make an outdated system work for them.

Moving Beyond “But It’s What You Wanted”

Core Informatics’ solutions are built to avoid the time lag described above, to deliver value quickly and work for our customers. With the configurability of Core’s Platform for Science, users can create the system they want long before the science they are doing has matured past their informatics abilities. If the lab changes direction, an admin can configure the LIMS system to meet the needs of the new workflows before new reagents or equipment on order can be delivered to the lab.

So How Can a Lab Informatics System Meet a Customer’s Needs?

When customers want a system to work, they are really asking for it to integrate with and adapt to the workflows, systems and equipment already in place. Since every lab is different, this is no easy task.

This is why a configurable, app-based system is desirable to quickly get a lab up and running. With the modularity of Core Informatics’ platform, customers can easily add a specific application to get a workflow running in hours or days (rather than months or longer). Customers choose the apps required for their workflows from the Platform for Science Marketplace, and those apps are added to the system.

To continue to “work,” the system should grow as needed, to handle more data or more users. The Platform for Science provides scalability and can be deployed on AWS’s cloud infrastructure to allow the system to grow or contract on demand. This also allows for the quick addition of new tests, workflows, etc. The Platform for Science is user friendly and doesn’t require custom coding; new configurations, applications, and workflows can be created by the users or their admin team. Upgrades of the Platform for Science are seamless and users aren’t faced with delays.

Of course, the basics of the Core LIMS work thoroughly and well. Tracking capabilities for samples and inventory are simple to use and enable complex reporting. The platform is also user friendly. Not only does the user interface (UI) make the platform feel intuitive, but it is easy to navigate and use as well. The system supports users in performing the tasks and workflows they want to do, in the way they want to do them.

So, when customers say they want a system that “works”, they mean they want a system that will not get in the way of their scientific innovation. The lab informatics system should be a tool, not an obstacle. The system should be invisible—all they should see is the science.

Find out how to make your system work for you with our “invisible” lab informatics infrastructure.