Book:Justifying LIMS Acquisition and Deployment within Your Organization/Gaining buy-in from management and other stakeholders/Developing a cheat sheet for management

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3.3 Developing a cheat sheet for management

Pitching a LIMS acquisition project is no simple task, to be sure, but one can arguably make the proposal process more effective if they provide information and tools that help stakeholders more effectively and rapidly understand the value and costs associated with the proposed LIMS project. As such, you may want to consider making a "cheat sheet" of sorts for critical stakeholders who will be the recipients of your proposal.

This cheat sheet could take many forms, homogenous or varied, but in the end it should be readily accessible and organized such that it's easy for recipients to make sense of its contents. Those contents will also vary, based upon the level of familiarity stakeholders have with LIMS and laboratory informatics solutions. If management isn't familiar with a LIMS, you'll probably want to include a broader list of bullet points as to how LIMS can benefit labs of all types. That list might look something like this:

A LIMS can...

  • Increase efficiency: LIMS can help laboratories manage data more efficiently by eliminating data silos, managing standard operating procedures (SOPs), generating custom reports, facilitating data interoperability and exchange, tracking reagent inventories, and managing staff training. This in turn can minimize wasted resources.
  • Improve process control: LIMS can help laboratories better manage test/sample status and workload evaluation, resulting in better customer support and smoother workflows. With a LIMS, these and other tasks are automated, so we can spend more time on what really matters: research and testing. As an added benefit, LIMS also reduces errors by automating manual processes and eliminating the potential for human error.
  • More rapidly disseminate business data and analytical results: LIMS can help laboratories communicate test results more quickly and accurately. In research, this means faster project execution and better decision-making. In production, this means faster release of products, quicker evaluation of incoming raw materials, and prevention of wasted products.
  • Enable access to data anywhere, anytime: Many LIMS can help laboratories access lab data from anywhere, particularly cloud-based LIMS. With cloud-based LIMS software, we can access lab data from anywhere with an internet connection. That access capability means we can work remotely or collaborate with team members across different locations, all with a high level of security.
  • Provide safer, more secure storage for critical lab data: LIMS can help laboratories centralize and secure their various data and information. LIMS software provides a centralized location for all lab data, making it easy to access and share data with other team members. It also ensures that data is secure and protected from unauthorized access, especially when the LIMS is purpose-built to meet data- and information-related regulatory requirements.
  • Facilitate better results interpretation and retrieval: LIMS can help laboratories interpret and retrieve results more quickly, increasing customer satisfaction and lab productivity.
  • Improve billing processes: LIMS can help laboratories streamline their billing processes, improve record access, and provide greater insights into organizational financials.
  • Increase productivity: LIMS can help laboratories realize 10-20% productivity benefits based on a reduction in clerical work alone. By automating manual processes and providing easy access to lab data, LIMS software frees up time for researchers and analysts to focus on their core work. Using automated reporting, and giving clients controlled access to the system—i.e., through a secure, administrator-controlled client portal—for sample logging, along with having automated instrument connections for worklist downloading and data entry, will greatly increase those productivity gains.
  • Facilitate collaboration: LIMS can help laboratories share data and collaborate on tasks and projects, resulting in improved communication and streamlined workflows.

As Chapter 2 points out, you'll also want to address how the LIMS acquisition and deployment specifically addresses organization goals and challenges. At this point you've already linked tangible and intangible benefits to organizational goals and challenges as part of your proposal research, and you'll want to make these connections clear to stakeholders. This might be best visualized in an easily digestible table, for example. Table 10 provides a few representative examples of this effort; your table may be larger and more extensive, but remember to keep it succinct and easy-to-understand.

Table 10. An example of linking tangible and intangible benefits of LIMS acquisition and deployment to organizational goals and challenges.
Organizational goal Tangible/Intangible benefit
"Provide more timely results to clients..." We can better meet this goal with a LIMS, as we can save up to 22% of the time we currently spend manually processing samples and preparing them for analytical testing. Automated tracking with barcodes and a client portal for accessing results provides greater gains in timeliness, improving client satisfaction and, by extension, improving client retention.
"Further expand into the environmental testing industry..." We can better meet this goal with a LIMS, as our 22% time savings allows us to take on approximately 6% more workload. We estimate that through pre-loaded environmental workloads and LIMS integration with our environmental testing instruments, we could potentially take on up to another 5 to 6% without adding any additional personnel.
Organizational challenge Tangible/Intangible benefit
"We have a bottleneck in sample entry and test scheduling, losing up to six hours of productivity a week." A LIMS allows for more rapid, automated sample entry, tracking, and scheduling mechanisms, which could demonstrable recover that productivity loss plus an additional two hours. Adding a client portal where samples can be pre-registered before delivery can provide further efficiency to our lab workflow.
"Our clients are complaining about missing reports that we know we mailed." Most LIMS provide an administrator-controlled client portal, as an add-on, that will empower clients to view reports wherever and whenever, improving lab-client relations.

As for the economic and practical justifications and considerations mentioned in Chapter 2, you can find help in managing those in a compact way in Appendix 1 of this guide, which provides you with an Excel workbook containing many of the tools referenced in this guide. The LIMS Acquisition and Deployment Justification Workbook has five tabs addressing on-premises vs. cloud LIMS account costing and overall five-year costing, as well as the barcode benefits analysis tables and the tangible and intangible benefits of LIMS acquisition and deployment in tabular form, with value calculation fields. These tools can be readily implemented in any cheat sheet you pass on to upper management and other critical stakeholders as part of streamlining your overall proposal process. That it's already in Excel format makes it easy for you to add additional tabs for the above-mentioned broad LIMS education points and the expected organizational impact of the LIMS, as well as any other information that needs to be conveyed quickly in a tabular form.


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Citation information for this chapter

Chapter: 3. Gaining buy-in from management and other stakeholders

Title: Justifying LIMS Acquisition and Deployment within Your Organization

Edition: First Edition

Author for citation: Joe Liscouski, Shawn E. Douglas

License for content: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International

Publication date: July 2023