LII:Justifying LIMS Acquisition and Deployment within Your Organization/Closing remarks
4. Closing remarks
This guide has examined information on and approaches to justifying the acquisition and deployment of a laboratory information management system (LIMS) to upper management and critical stakeholders within your laboratory-based organization. After briefly examining what a LIMS is and what alternatives exist, we looked at LIMS acquisition then and now, as well as why a LIMS should be viewed as important by more laboratories. Of course, it's well and good to say "a LIMS can benefit a laboratory broadly by helping with X, Y, and Z," but in the end you have to put forward a more detailed justification for your organization's potential acquisition and deployment of a LIMS.
From there we looked at the organizational, economic, and practical justifications that must take place as part of your project proposal research. We found that linking organization-specific goals and challenges to LIMS acquisition and deployment is a critical component of any proposal, as it allows upper management and other stakeholders to better understand how the software fits within the organizational structure. We also discussed the cost-based economics of the LIMS, noting how for many this ends up being viewed as the primary impediment to and source of insight for LIMS justification. However, the evaluation of a LIMS based on the economics of laboratory operations can be an arduous process requiring you to chase information that may not be readily available. What you can’t lose sight of is that you are answering a basic question: will my lab run better with a LIMS that it does without it? What you are trying to do is justify what “better” means. That requires highlighting more practical tangible and intangible benefits such as lower costs, higher productivity, better access to lab information, more streamlined operations, improved operational management, and improved long-term management, which help set a more solid foundation for LIMS justification. A decision based strictly on the dollars and cents of LIMS acquisition may miss an understanding of key intangible benefits.
For example, something as simple as reduced data errors means you have to be able to quantify the current cost of errors to your labs operations and the organization you lab is a part of. A LIMS may allow you to introduce new statistical procedures that will automatically flag questionable results and prevent out-of-spec incoming raw material from entering the production process. The introduction of a LIMS may allow you to add new capabilities that elevate lab operations and provide additional useful information into process monitoring. The end result can be seen as needing less time on administrative work, more time on data management and analysis, and more value gained from the investment in laboratory work.
We then examined how all these justifications must be paired with manager and critical stakeholder buy-in, in an organized and succinct way. Without proper buy-in, a LIMS project may be underfunded, misunderstood, and less successful. This means taking the time to not only identify critical stakeholders but also engage with them in an effective way so as to gain their understanding and support for your LIMS project. Also part of the equation is the successful pitch of the LIMS project proposal, which can be made easier by creating a "cheat sheet" or packet of readily accessible and succinct facts, statistics, and information to best impart the full intent and potential with your LIMS project.
We close this guide with a “LIMS Acquisition and Deployment Justification Workbook” in the appendix. It consists of an Excel workbook that will help guide you through the process of justifying LIMS acquisition and deployment to critical stakeholders. It has the benefit of being in an editable tabular form, such that you can add more insights you have learned from this guide to quickly get your project goals and benefits clearly related during the justification process.
Citation information for this chapter
Chapter: 4. Closing remarks
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