Six Principles For a Successful LIMS Implementation Listen with ReadSpeaker Our expertise

Six Principles For a Successful LIMS Implementation

A Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) helps researchers effectively manage the flow of samples and produce better test data. The benefits offered to laboratory teams include increased productivity, reduced deviations, faster closure times, reduced investigation workloads, and savings on operation costs.

As human resources take up to 75 percent of a lab’s total operational costs, LIMS can integrate lab operations, manage samples, and carry out effective tests across functions with a reduced dependency on manual involvement.

From our experiences working with our customers, we discovered that lab teams often jump into a LIMS project without fully bringing together all the relevant groups and associated interdependencies involved in the implementation cycle. 

Whether you are digitizing your processes, upgrading, or introducing a new lab solution, here are six simple, yet critical, principles to follow for a successful LIMS implementation.

It seems like organizations are either completely throwing everything out to start anew, or they are stuck now knowing where to begin at all.


While it is easy to say just reboot everything all at once, this “all or nothing” approach has many hurdles to be overcome including technology infrastructure and the personnel involved. The key is to find the right balance and adopt an incremental rollout plan instead.

Next is to have detailed technical requirements and objectives of the systems documented. Prepare a checklist that covers the areas and the specifics relating to the implementation. The more information and detail the documentation has, the clearer everyone will be on the effects and project cost.


The key purpose of these technical requirements is to ensure that user needs are met for both current operations and have the flexibility to remain relevant over the next 10 years ahead. This will need to have the support and approval of the lab manager, end-users, IT personnel, and other relevant stakeholders.

As the evaluation phase of a LIMS implementation takes place, there will be tons of information generated in the process. It is easy to get lost in the detailed processes, which can lead to “analysis paralysis”. This is where you need to prioritize the user requirements involved.


Setting the right priorities is just as important as defining those requirements. Develop the priorities based on meeting the immediate needs and current processes of the lab, followed by the longer-term strategic objectives. Be conscious of knowing what to focus on, when is the right time, and in the right order.


These requirements must not be a one-time static set of requirements. It is an ongoing process that must be refined regularly to reflect the changing needs of the lab operations and that of the organization.

Choosing the right LIMS solution is a critical step. You must understand how it will fit into your existing infrastructure and your company’s IT strategy going forward. While a cloud-based system requires minimal resources to install and maintain, a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) system would offer extensive functionality already configured. There is also the option of having a customized LIMS that is tailor-made to your industry and lab type, thereby requiring less configuration.


It is important to understand the systems’ software design, scalability, flexibility, security, and sustainability over the long term. Be mindful that choosing a technology to suit a legacy process may hold you back from building an effective, true, and valuable transformation program.

Do you know the difference between configuration and customization? Configuration means modifying the system by using the solution’s internal tools to achieve the required results. This can be done without any programming and can usually be done by a non-technical person.


Meanwhile, customization is to make the system do something it cannot do on its own and this requires specific technical development done by an expert. Customized solutions cost more and can often be harder to maintain and support.


Our recommendation is to choose a truly configurable LIMS solution as this ensures the long-term sustainability of laboratories. This makes it simpler to evolve with the changing business requirements and adapt to new processes, instruments, and systems over time. Whether you are a clinical, research, or analytical testing lab, it must be easily configurable to suit various requirements and avoid costly customization projects.

The total cost of ownership (TCO) means having a comprehensive analysis of the project such as licenses, standard functionalities, extra modules, customization, subscription, annuity maintenance, and other fees that may arise from the implementation.


Among the considerations include if it is based on a perpetual LIMS license, meaning a one-time purchase of the product or license, or if it is a LIMS subscription model requiring payments on a monthly or volume-based fee. With a subscription license, the solution does not belong to you as you are merely renting it.


Depending on your capacity and financial ability, there are various benefits and disadvantages to each pricing model. In general, larger organizations prefer to buy a perpetual license as it gives better long-term TCO effectiveness. Smaller labs will likely choose a cloud-based approach and pay as they go along. This can be an advantage as the subscription model can provide entry-level pricing and immediate access to the latest technology.

Whether you are a large or small laboratory, going digital and future-proofing your lab is inevitable. By partnering with LabVantage Solutions, DKSH has a range of configurable and scalable LIMS solutions to fit your business needs.

LabVantage LIMS is among the most flexible and configurable LIMS readily available in the market, offering a wide choice of platform hosting options, especially if you are looking for quick deployment with essential features catered to your specific industry.

Reach out to us to help future-proof your laboratory and to ensure it stays relevant and competitive for years ahead.


Alan Boey

About the author

Alan Boey has been in the X-ray analytical instrument business for the past 14 years, servicing various industries from minerals and mining, metal manufacturing to electronics and semiconductor businesses. Alan is now engaged with DKSH as a regional product manager for Southeast Asia, specializing in X-ray analytical instruments and providing solutions to fulfill market requirements in material analysis with X-ray diffraction techniques as well as elemental determination via X-ray fluorescence methods.