In addition to working with some of the most innovative companies in the life sciences industry, one of the greatest aspects of my career with Clarkston is the people. My fellow Clarkston stewards are some of the brightest minds in their respective fields, bringing thought-leading perspectives to the projects we work on together every day. Recently, one such steward, Kevin Joyner, and I discussed how life sciences companies can improve their LIMS master data using a somewhat unconventional mindset. Kevin’s used his insights and deep LIMS experience to develop a blog series on LIMS master data, check back in periodically or subscribe to our blog to follow along.
Over the course of this series, we’ve explored how any life sciences organization or lab going through a LIMS implementation can apply well-known green concepts (reduce, reuse, recycle) to master data activities. Today, we’re wrapping up the series by exploring how you can use the concept of recycling for your LIMS master data to extract differentiated value from it.
If we think of recycling as the process of taking something used, adapting it, and applying it in a new way, it teaches us important lessons for our LIMS implementations. Similar but critically different from reusing, recycling is all about the transformation from old to new, from ingrained to innovative.
For those with legacy systems, recycling is even more important and impactful. Don’t throw years of work away by building your system or master data from scratch – recycle what you have.
A legacy system is essentially an operationalized requirements document. Using your legacy system, you can accelerate your vendor selection and more easily determine the scope of your new LIMS. You can quickly assess volumes of products, analyses, instrument interfaces, etc. Recycling your legacy system for your new LIMS requirements facilitates a smoother and more effective process during this preliminary stage.
New Master Data
Recycling old master data should be considered non-optional. You can leverage out-of-the-box vendor migration tools or build automation tools. Either will be a time savings. There is no reason to start from scratch if you’ve already developed a LIMS before.
Specifically, don’t let the work you’ve done on laboratory calculations go to waste. Requirements and code can often be recycled. As a bonus, if the code is recycled, you may also be able to recycle the testing.
Similar to the requirements derived from your legacy system, you can use your existing reports to drive new reporting activities. Recycle the documentation for your existing reports to adapt them for your news LIMS platform. Do this early! Reporting requirements often drive system requirements.
Recycling is about making a better product without wasting new resources or money. You have a lot of opportunities to reduce waste on your LIMS project too. But remember, when we recycle, we throw the garbage out from the recyclable materials. As with your plastic cups and banana peels, don’t throw it all out in the dumpster and don’t toss it all in the recycling bin, either.
Take the time at the beginning. Visualize your current “pile” of master data reports, calculations, processes, etc. – what’s truly garbage and what’s ready for life as something new? Think about your LIMS goals and objectives – what do you have that will support them?
Going green with your master data isn’t a journey with a fixed destination – it’s an ongoing process to make the most of the resources at your disposal, save time, and save money.