Book:Justifying LIMS Acquisition and Deployment within Your Organization/LIMS Acquisition and Deployment Justification Workbook

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A1. LIMS Acquisition and Deployment Justification Workbook

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The LIMS Acquisition and Deployment Justification Workbook draws from the various topics, tables, and figures in this guide to help you put together a proposal to upper management and other stakeholders regarding the acquisition and deployment of a laboratory information management system (LIMS) within your organization. This Excel workbook consists of five sheets, identified by the tabs at the bottom of the workbook:

  1. "On-premises vs. cloud LIMS": Allows for a tabular comparison of on-premises and cloud-based LIMS account costs, drawing from Table 3 in Chapter 2 of this guide.
  2. "5-year costs": Provides a means of rolling up and comparing on-premises vs. cloud implementation costs, charges common to both implementations, and operational costs (manual operations vs. LIMS-based operations).
  3. "Barcode use": Allows for a tabular cost-benefit look at implementing barcodes in the lab, as well as cooperative lab-client use of barcodes, drawing from Tables 5 and 7 in Chapter 2 of this guide.
  4. "Tangible benefits": Provides a tabular listing of the tangible (i.e., measurable) benefits of LIMS acquisition and deployment in Chapter 2, making it easier to enter the savings per shift, number of shifts per day, and working days per year, and then calculate the total savings.
  5. "Intangible benefits: Provides a tabular listing of the intangible benefits of LIMS acquisition and deployment in Chapter 2, using five different methods of applying some sort of valuation to them.

Download: You can download a copy of the Microsoft Excel version of the LIMS Acquisition and Deployment Justification Workbook from LIMSwiki by going to File:LIMS Acquisition and Deployment Justification Workbook v1.xlsx, right-clicking the URL under the white box, and selecting "Save link as..." (Alternatively, you can just click the link, open the file, and then save it.)

On-premises vs. cloud LIMS tab

This table compares the costs of license fees for both on-premises and cloud (also referred to as software as a service or SaaS) LIMS implementations. The table has entries for three cases, each dependent upon the number of seats (simultaneous users), which is distinct from the number of accounts. There are three sets of rows for each case. The first row (5, 8, and 11, respectively) is the number of seats for that case, and the following rows contain the license fees, first showing the initial one-time cost and then the recurring annual costs. The table can be extended via copy-and-paste for as many cases as needed. The text entries need to be edited to avoid confusion.

5-year costs tab

This tab contains tables for cost projections over five years for both on-premises and cloud installations, each with its own table since both have different cost structures (for on-premises, there are hardware, installation, maintenance, and other charges). The third table from the top covers expenses common to both implementations, including networking costs (internal, and external from the internet service provider), training, and equipment (e.g., printers and systems terminals). Systems terminals can be desk/benchtop computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and thin-clients (with displays, keyboards, mice) used to access the LIMS.

Training is specific to lab personnel. Any training needed for IT support would be rolled into support charges and applied to on-premises installations.

The fourth table from the top is a roll-up of operational costs for the lab under its current mode of operation (a manual, paper-based state is assumed) and the lab’s working with a LIMS. The line “Cost using manual operations” is essentially your annual operating budget, less equipment and reagent costs since they would affect both paper-based and LIMS equally. The line “Cost using LIMS operations” is a projection of your lab budget as it would look if a LIMS were in place and includes the savings/benefits from items such as barcode use, direct instrument-to-LIMS connections, and tangible and intangible benefits. Because of the inclusion of intangible benefits, you can divide that last item into two parts, one addressing quantifiable values and another as what amounts to guesswork.

Barcode use tab

The two tables on this page reflect the barcode discussion in Chapter 2's discussion of common and add-on costs. Hopefully, they will be helpful in estimating the value of the technology.

Tangible assets tab

The tangible benefits listed in Chapter 2 are presented in a table format, with a column entry for saving per shift, number of shifts per day, and days per year of operations. This makes it easy to total up the saving for these points. The table is easily edited to remove unnecessary items and includes additional entries important to your lab's operations. As with many cost estimates, there is a lot of guesswork in the results. Anything done manually, such as gathering data for reports, will show almost 100% cost savings since the LIMS system can do it with a few mouse clicks and if desired, automatically on a preset schedule.

The savings accrued are shown for only one year, and often the summaries have provision for five years of data. The savings should be consistent each year while the cost of manual operations continues to rise. Some of the entries are elements you may not be currently doing but can become part of an “added capability” feature, such as keeping detailed measurements of test turnaround and equipment utilization.

Intangible assets tab

Valuating intangible assets is an interesting exercise. What is the value of a concept or capability? For example, managing and organizing data has value because it allows you to do things you might not have done before, but that can be hard to put a number on. If it prevents a plant shutdown due to regulatory failures or prevents out-of-spec raw materials from entering the production line, that's easier. It's the cost of several days of plant operations. Those valuations are going to vary from one to another.

Rather than try to assign a number to these assets, we’ve identified five categories that can be applied to each asset: improved operational effectiveness, improved customer relationship and increased business, reduced operating costs, improved regulatory compliance, and an estimate of monetary value. Since this is in an editable spreadsheet, you can alter the categories and add to them as you see fit.

This table provides a means of summarizing the intangible benefits of LIMS and presenting them as a way of assessing the impact on the lab’s and organization's business operations.

Citation information for this chapter

Chapter: Appendix 1. LIMS Acquisition and Deployment Justification Workbook

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