You might think that choosing and implementing a Software as a Service (SaaS) deployed Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) is a lot easier and quicker than a traditional on-premise solution. After all, one of the main reasons for choosing a SaaS system is that you can use the software without waiting for IT to put infrastructure in place or tying up your resources in the usual software implementation services. But just because the SaaS LIMS is available doesn’t necessarily mean you’re good to go.
Understanding your requirements
When choosing any software, especially one as fundamental as a LIMS, you need to make sure you’re selecting a solution that best meets your requirements. From essential data management and completing lab processes through to meeting regulatory compliance and overview reporting. Crucially, there’s no difference when it comes to choosing a SaaS LIMS.
SaaS is a software deployment option which in itself can bring benefits such as reduced reliance on IT. But the LIMS still needs to be able to handle your critical lab processes. So, it’s important that you understand, and document, how your lab works, what challenges you’re facing and what outcomes you’re expecting before you start exploring LIMS systems.
This doesn’t mean that you need to put together a 100-page tender document, but aim for a checklist of requirements to work with and use when comparing solutions.
A SaaS system is still expensive
Implementing any new software incurs costs and initiates change. SaaS software might reduce infrastructure costs but if you have hundreds of users and large data volumes it might not be as cost effective as you thought.
What’s more, your SaaS system may need to be configured to meet your lab requirements. Even if this is something you can do yourself there’s still costs associated. This includes training and the time taken to implement. There may also be some things you can’t do and need the LIMS vendor to do for you. In addition, the software might not be able to do certain things – which might not be a problem depending on your requirements.
Finally, don’t forget the cost of training new users. You may assume that a SaaS LIMS is easy to use and everyone can work out how to use it. But you always require a level of training in order to get the most benefit from any software. Even if this is time doing online courses. You should also update your business process documentation to cover how you should use the LIMS to support your processes.
You need to factor all this into your decision-making processes when thinking about choosing any LIMS – including SaaS deployed.
It might not be as easy as you think to move away from your SaaS LIMS
You may be thinking if you choose the wrong SaaS LIMS it’ll be quick and easy to swap if it doesn’t work out. However, with SaaS deployments there are some extra considerations around extracting data from your system. Also, you should understand what happens to your data in the system at the end of your contract.
What’s more, there’s the expense of implementing a new system – including updating requirements, reviewing systems, training users, and so on.
So, when choosing a SaaS or on-premise LIMS consider whether it can fulfil your requirements for the next 3 years.
A final thought about choosing a SaaS deployed LIMS
The process of choosing a SaaS LIMS is not dissimilar to that of choosing an on-premise LIMS. The deployment, implementation and license models are different but essentially, you’re choosing software to help you run your lab more efficiently. So, consider carefully. As a result, the right software, whether on-premise or SaaS, will help deliver many tangible and intangible benefits.