What you need to successfully complete a
Laboratory Information Management (LIMS-ELN-..)
Software Selection Project
Preparation is the Key to Success!
"LIMS" Selection Approach
The purpose of a Laboratory Information Management Software ("LIMS"= LIMS and/or ELN and/or LES-... ) selection is to identify the vendor software & -services solution that provides the best fit for the selection criteria.
The selection criteria are based on a combination of (user) requirements, available budget- and implementation constrains. The end-result of the selection process is as good as the quality of these selection criteria.
The amount and quality of the work that is done in the preparation phase of the project is key to the success of the project and directly proportional to the quality of the final solution.
Since its founding in 2010, LUFC has applied a result-oriented approach to the software selection projects we supported. The quality and flexibility of the "LIMS" software functionality combined with the quality and dedication of vendors implementation support and services are leading during the selection process LUFC's structured and vendor-independent selection approach has resulted in close to 50 successfully supported "LIMS" selections, which in turn lead to successful implementations.
LUFC's selection approach is based on 3 major parts:
- "To-Be" Laboratory Process Flow & "LIMS" Role
- "LIMS" Requirements => URS
- Vendor & solution selection (multi-step procedure)
Laboratory Process Flow & LIMS (LabInfoScan)
To be able to define effective vendor selection criteria and potential suitable vendors, we need to first gather the (user) requirements for the new "LIMS". The (user) requirements need to be based on the actual role that the new "LIMS" will have in supporting the current/future laboratory processes.
This means that this is the time to first determine & optimize the laboratory processes that will be the basis for gathering the (user) requirements. Our experience is that many of our customers find it difficult to do this on their own. An "out of the box" view of an outside laboratory/LIMS expert can often be very helpful.
LUFC LabConsultants often uses its proven LabInfoScan methodology to assist laboratories to determine, optimize and document these processes. On the right you find an example of a "paper-based" laboratory process flow and an optimized "paperless" laboratory process flow with a central role for a new 'LIMS".
.... Hover with your mouse over the image to see the optimized paperless process flow....
User Requirements (URS)
Now that we have determined the optimized laboratory processes that need to be supported by the new "LIMS", we can use these processes as a starting point to gather the functional "LIMS" user requirements. This can be done in several ways, for instance through one or more brainstorm sessions with future users, lead by a LIMS (selection) expert.
The raw brainstorm requirements will need to be organized, translated in functional software requirements, technical requirements and vendor requirements. Last but not least, all these requirements need to be documented in a format that is suitable to use as selection criteria during the vendor-selection phase.
Our experience and observations, during almost 50 "LIMS" selections, show that only few laboratories have employees with the right experience and expertise to successfully complete this URS phase without outside support from an independent LIMS expert. For this reason, we offer direct and indirect support and training during this very important phase of the "LIMS" selection project.
Vendor & Software Selection
At this stage of the project we have defined the laboratory processes and how your new "LIMS" needs to support them. We have a good idea which software system (LIMS, ELN, LES, SDMS ..) and software functionality is required to be able to effectively implement the LIMS to meet your requirements. We have also defined what we expect from the vendor, in terms of service and support during and after the implementation phase. Now we need to find the best vendor/software based on all the requirements, conditions and constrains that were defined by the project team.
We have to define a vendor selection procedure that allows for a substantive and unbiased selection process, minimizing unsubstantive vendor marketing influences and other irrelevant sales communication. It is key for the selection project team to be and stay in control. The project team needs to control the selection and not the vendor(s).
LUFC LabConsultants has extensive experience in designing and managing the selection process to reach the optimum selection result, for the right reasons and not because a vendor commercially sells its products the best.
LUFC will tailor the multi-step selection procedure to your laboratories specific situation and needs. This means that certain selection steps can be added or omitted.
Most common steps during selection phase are:
- Define RFI/RFI, vendor selection procedure & selection criteria
- Share RFI/RFP with suitable "long-list" vendors and rate response
- Determine "short-list" based on vendor response and criteria
- Vendor presentations/demonstrations based on tailored demo case
- Review demo's based on selection criteria and LUFC market knowledge.
- Determine top-2 vendors
- Additional steps like reference visits, scope detailing etc.
- Reviewing of final offers and contractual information
- Optional: Gap analysis, blueprint; proof of concept/pilot etc.
LUFC LabConsultants (Louis Uunk) has provided tremendous value during the selection of our LIMS/ELN. His experience and knowledge in the laboratory information management area have been very valuable during our process towards identifying the requirements that our knowledge centre and its laboratories set towards a LIMS/ELN. Louis made sure that we evaluated our processes and procedure very closely and documented the result in a URS. Finally Louis guided and supported us during the vendor selection process, pointing out differences and what that would mean to us, however never showing any personal preference.
I recommend contacting Louis whenever you need to select and implement a new LIMS/ELN, especially when you have limited experience yourself.
Laboratory Manager Microbiology
KWR Water Research Institute
WLN hired LUFC LabConsultants (Louis Uunk) to guide us during the process of selecting a new LIMS. The prime topic was for WLN to identify which software/vendor would best suit WLN's requirements for a new system and whether that solution would be able to replace the current LIMS system.
Louis's guidance during the entire process has been excellent. Especially the LabInfoScan and URS parts have proven to be very valuable. His extended market knowledge also proved to be very valuable during the evaluations of the vendor responses and the demonstrations. With Louis's help WLN succeeded in making an informed decision for its new LIMS solution.
Jan van der Kooi