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Four Considerations for Software as a Service (SaaS) LIMS

Selecting the right Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) for your organization can be overwhelming given the number of choices available on the market. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is a subscription-based solution for LIMS that has been gaining popularity in recent years. Compared to the traditional on-premise system that is installed on local computers or servers, SaaS LIMS is cloud-hosted and accessible from any location or device with an internet connection. Below, we outline a few considerations for Software as a Service LIMS to help you determine if it’s the right fit for your organization.

Four Considerations for Software as a Service LIMS

1. Configurability and Customization

One important advantage of SaaS LIMS is the availability of a pre-configured, industry-specific workflow that is fully validated. The system can be ready for use as soon as master data population is completed and verified. This dramatically reduces the cost and time needed for implementation; however, customizations and configurations are limited and will require additional validation. SaaS LIMS would be ideal for organizations with flexible processes that can be adapted to most out-of-box functionalities; therefore, organizations that may require significant customization and configurations should carefully evaluate the features offered by SaaS LIMS to ensure alignment with business processes.  

2. Upgrades, and Enhancements

With a SaaS subscription, the vendor is responsible for developing and delivering all improvements of the LIMS system ranging from simple bug fixes and feature updates to system upgrades. These changes are packaged as releases with supporting documentation to be delivered based on the vendor’s release schedule. This offers peace of mind that your organization will be running the latest system with all the enhancements. The management and support your organization should receive for system changes should be established in a contractual agreement to ensure a smooth release each time with minimal interruption of the system. Your organization must maintain good communication and have a mutual understanding with the vendor regarding the content and process of each release to minimize any potential negative impact on the business. Internal to the organization using SaaS LIMS, it’s vital to coordinate with end users to monitor and report any issues immediately following each release. Resources will also be needed to review and validate changes to ensure the system remains in regulatory compliance and perform any regression testing as needed. Depending on the vendor release schedule, this can add a significant resource load. 

3. Scalability  

Whether your organization is small or large corporation, SaaS LIMS provides great flexibility due to its subscription-based model. There’s no commitment to purchase, and you can subscribe only to features that your business needs at any point in time. Sizing up or down, such as opening new or closing sites, can all be handled with a change of subscription plan that typically covers included features, IT infrastructure, application support, and user license counts. One challenge that many expanding organizations face is incorporating an existing system into a new site that may or may not introduce new operational processes. Being cloud-hosted, SaaS LIMS can instantly share data and link sites to the same database without any major adjustments to the organization’s IT structure. Furthermore, additional pre-validated features can be turned on or off in the system seamlessly to suit changing needs. 

4. Data Security  

As the central hub for laboratory data processing, data security of a LIMS is of utmost importance. SaaS vendors are invested in robust application security measures such as data encryption, multi-factor authentication (MFA), and access controls to maintain data integrity by following the ALCOA principles that data should be Attributable, Legible, Contemporaneous, Original, and Accurate. The subscription package will also include maintenance of servers, networking, load balancing, backups, and recovery handled by partnering with reputable cloud computing platform providers who adhere to strict industry standards. SaaS LIMS can be a convenient and cost-effective option for organizations that don’t have an experienced IT team. No additional IT investment is needed for implementation, and the cost of upkeep and troubleshooting is included in the subscription. As a result, proper assessment of the SaaS LIMS vendor’s security policy is critical to ensuring that it meets your organization’s digital safety standards. In addition, confirm that the vendor provides the right level of customer support for your organization. A responsive technical support team from the vendor with the right expertise is essential for having a long-term satisfactory user experience. 

Maximizing Your ROI 

Selecting the right LIMS operating model for your organization is the first step to ensuring your business needs are met. If you are looking for a LIMS that can be implemented rapidly with low upfront cost, high scalability, and minimal maintenance, SaaS is an excellent choice. A LIMS that suits your organization will increase operation efficiency, improve data management, and promote compliance. If your organization is committed to making the best LIMS investment choice, consider reaching out to our LIMS professionals for guidance. 

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Contributions from Cara Chiu

Tags: LIMS