How to Spot When You Need to Upgrade?
There are several common reasons customers look to upgrade their LIMS:
- The laboratory requires expanded functionality that is not part of the current LIMS solution.
- The current LIMS cannot cope with the increased workload of your lab.
- You must use multiple software tools or manual interfaces to import and manipulate data, usually as a result of new instruments or operational procedures.
- You must constantly adapt your working practices to fit the needs of the current (inflexible) LIMS.
The requirement to upgrade your LIMS boils down to operational efficiency. If your current LIMS is slowing down the laboratory turnaround times, becoming a burden to use, and demotivating staff, it’s time to upgrade!
The number of years between upgrading your LIMS, and the options LIMS vendors provide for upgrades varies tremendously. We don’t force customers to upgrade their LIMS software. (After all, if it is working fine why should you need to? However, we know that some vendors do ‘end-of-life,’ or cease support, for previous versions which just adds further complexity and anguish to a lab managers’ life). Consequently, although we release a new version every quarter and are currently on version 6.5, we have many supported customers still on a version 5.x release, and one or two even on a version 4.x release. We value choice.
With some vendors upgrading to a newer version to take advantage of new functionality or improved performance can require a complete rebuild of the user interface. Indeed, there are well documented accounts of major LIMS vendors forcing clients to effectively start from scratch, configuring every screen in the workflow again, just to re-create what they had before. This can occur when there is a major technology upgrade between releases, i.e., moving from a desktop user interface to a web browser interface, or moving from an old web browser application to a new version. Other ‘Cloud’ only solutions will force all customers to upgrade their LIMS at a specific time whether they want to or not, leaving users with zero control over their software, and no time to verify critical functions are still working correctly before they go live.