On our LIMS projects, we’re frequently asked what companies should look for when hiring a LIMS administrator. If you’re in this circumstance, you’re probably faced with many questions. When is the right time to hire someone? What skill sets should they have, and should they have more extensive technical experience or more knowledge of the business process? Making the right decision will have a major impact on the Maintenance phase of your LIMS life cycle.
Your LIMS administrator will be responsible for sustaining your system in the long term, managing user requests, understanding master data, maintaining a validated state, processing access requests, owning standard operating procedures (SOP), and working with the business to troubleshoot issues. With all this responsibility, it’s imperative that you have the right person in place. Over the years, we’ve seen companies approach their LIMS administrator hires with varying levels of success. Having seen what works and what doesn’t, we’re sharing tips that will help you integrate a LIMS administrator to ensure long-term success and returns on your LIMS investment.
What common mistakes should you avoid making?
First, don’t prioritize technical experience at the expense of other competencies. Companies often make the mistake of hiring someone with extensive LIMS technical experience with less business process experience. Oftentimes, this leads to an experienced technical resource so focused on developing the optimal technical solution that they overlook a solution friendly to the end user. This can cause process deficiencies resulting in deviations or increased time leveraging SMEs.
Second, don’t wait until late in the project to make your hire. Some companies wait until the end of a project to transition or to start looking for a candidate. When possible, hire a LIMS administrator is at the beginning of a project. It’s great if they participate in the computer system validation phase. This allows for them to have a full understanding of the as-is process and the transformation to the to-be process. This will also cover the gap between transitioning someone within your company and hiring someone from the outside because they understand the to-be state of the system and how the system was developed.
What kind of candidate should you hire and what should you look for?
Overall, it’s ideal for the candidate to have a background and understanding of the industry in which your company is utilizing the LIMS. The candidate should also understand the computer validation process, system execution, change control, databases, and change management to be most effective. We’ve seen that it’s easier to hire or promote a person who understands the business process and then work with them to develop the necessary technical skills.
The LIMS administrator should also have strong communication skills as they’ll be serving as the liaison between the technical and business teams. They should be an advocate for the system and the users. In addition, a LIMS platform typically interacts with multiple systems and business units outside the laboratory. Being able to effectively work with many stakeholders is important. The LIMS administrator also needs to have the problem solving skills to understandup and downstream impacts of system changes not only for LIMS but for the company holistically as well.
No matter where you are in the process of implementing LIMS, there’s always time to incorporate a LIMS administrator to ensure sustainable success. With our clients, we ask a to be paired with candidates to mentor and train them to maintain the system post go-live. Our LIMS consultants leverage a wide range of industry, technical and functional knowledge to prepare a LIMS administrator. We develop a plan for the LIMS administrator to grow and understand the system itself. We also create and deliver knowledge transfer materials at the end of a project that can be used to train future candidates post go-live.
If you’re looking for a candidate during or after implementation, an experienced LIMS partner can help you write a job description, interview and evaluate candidates or internal resources, or help find an external candidate if necessary.
We have experience implementing LIMS for the world’s leading life sciences companies. Our team of consultants have successfully tackled challenges across the entire array of LIMS technologies, processes, and strategies. If you have any questions about LIMS, our experience, or anything to do with quality systems, don’t hesitate to reach out using the contact information at the top of this page or subscribe to our insights below for the latest on LIMS and life sciences.
Co-authors and contributions by Charlotte Hamilton and Lynette Nazabal