Future-proofing your LabVantage LIMS: Deployment Best Practices for Sustaining Growth

Posted on labvantage. 7 July, 2021

In today’s fast-paced digital world, technological advancements and scientific innovation require rapid and continuous adjustment to keep up with and adapt to the rapidly shifting technology landscape. When coupled with digital transformation initiatives, it is imperative to approach the deployment of your LIMS with the future state architecture in mind during the initial planning phase.

LabVantage LIMS is one of the most modern and flexible informatics solutions in the market for scientific organizations. This best in class platform will help your lab run more efficiently, automate tasks, eliminate paper-based processes, and integrate with a wide array of laboratory instruments and systems. The platform is highly configurable and will enable you to adapt to your organization’s evolving business requirements. To gain the maximum benefit from your system and position your organization to successfully adapt to future business needs as well as easily incorporating new technologies in your workflow, it is important to adopt industry best practices at the outset of your LabVantage LIMS deployment.

Establishing the Global Future Mindset

A common scenario that occurs during a LIMS deployment is having one pilot department of the organization involved in the system implementation and planning the system architecture around the current, individual needs of that group. As the work progresses, additional capabilities are incorporated, including further customization to support those processes in an iterative manner.

When the deployment is rolled out to other departments or sites with different processes, requirements and protocols, it becomes apparent that the system is not set up in the best manner possible to accommodate the wide variation in business needs of each of these groups. For example, the LabVantage LIMS deployment may have been initiated by the R&D group with a system architecture in place that best facilitates the needs of that department, however, when expanded to include the stability testing group, the established system structure does not allow them to effectively adapt to the specific needs for that department. This can result in inefficient ‘workarounds’ or even the need to retain manual processes to address their full set of workflow requirements.

Master Data plays an essential role in creating the foundational principles for the global usage of the system across your organization and will establish the ‘rules of engagement’ for supporting future needs or incorporating new technologies as they become available. Master data is the core set of information which provides the context in which the LIMS operates, and is a critical part of any deployment. For any given set of business requirements, or processes there are a number of different designs that can be considered.

Over the longer term, the maintainability of these various designs becomes more challenging with evolving business needs. Additionally, companies often focus on the functionality of a new LIMS, while leaving business resources to address the Master Data effort as production release approaches. This late timing can often lead to issues, delays, and important decisions not being given the time they deserve.

Building the right Master Data architecture will improve workflows, provide for better maintainability over the long term, avoid common pitfalls, and create a data structure which will allow your laboratory to function more smoothly. Best practices and essential decisions to ensure the success of your master data effort include:

  • Coordination with the broader scope of the deployment during the planning stages of the LIMS implementation
  • Assessing and classifying what data should be migrated into the system. This is an opportunity to do some housecleaning on your data, e.g., not including test data older than 5 years
  • Establishing naming conventions to ensure the consistency and accessibility of data
  • Designing and configuring master data for better system performance and reporting
  • Ensure that you have the correct team in place. Qualified, experienced resources will deliver a more effective implementation and can identify and address issues early in the process.

Master data design and configuration is typically a much bigger job than anticipated and provides the foundation on which all system functionality depends on. As this is one of the most important facets of any successful LIMS implementation and/or migration, it is critical to have a well developed master data plan in place aligned with the expert team of resources across the project to support this effort.

Streamlined Reporting Solutions for Digital Transformation

JasperReports is an open source Java reporting tool utilized by LabVantage LIMS, which executes from the application server. The out-of-the-box reporting capability provides standard reporting features through an intuitive web-based interface. However, to fully embrace the culture of digital transformation, customized reporting can add the finishing touches to a streamlined digital workflow.

Customized reporting can be achieved using JavaScript and requires in-depth knowledge of both LabVantage LIMS and software developer tools. The key to generating powerful LIMS reporting that is specific to the individual needs of your organization is having your master data set up correctly. This goes back to the initial planning and implementation phase of your LabVantage LIMS. Master Data is at the foundation across all aspects of the LIMS workflow, particularly reporting. The design of your master data directly impacts your ability to obtain clear, concise data for reporting purposes. It is best to begin with the end in mind, as it can be much easier to add a field to a table you would commonly report on, such as sample, test, result, batch, etc. than to have several joins in a query or report. Having the necessary data at the object level will allow for better system performance and reports will be easier to write and maintain.

Conclusion

Creating a well thought out Master Data Plan will provide the best foundation for your successful LabVantage LIMS implementation. As master data establishes a standard definition for business-critical data, its accuracy is very important, because it collectively represents a common point of reference and “single source of truth” for your organization. As such, everyone across the organization must agree on master data definitions, standards, accuracy, and authority. ​

Master data design has very important impacts over the lifecycle of a LIMS, as nearly every aspect of system functionality revolves around the design of the master data. One of the most important aspects to your LabVantage LIMS implementation is designing the master data so that it is easy to maintain and scale as the organization grows and business needs change to future-proof your deployment. Even minor issues with master data can cause significant operational problems, which will only be magnified as the organization scales, or anytime new products or facilities are implemented.

Choosing the right informatics partner to assist in the planning and implementation of your LabVantage LIMS will provide a streamlined sample management process, simplify data retrieval and reporting, and significantly reduce master data maintenance, resulting in optimized system performance and greater utilization of system features. Ultimately, a well-deployed LabVantage LIMS helps you produce accurate, reproducible results faster and more reliably, thereby improving operational efficiency and accelerate your digital transformation strategy to achieve your digital lab of the future.

Why it Matters for You

Strategic planning prior to the implementation of your LabVantage LIMS is essential for a successful deployment that will best serve the current needs of your organization while allowing you to quickly and easily adapt to evolving business needs. The best practices to future-proof your LabVantage LIMS for sustained growth include:

  • Developing a comprehensive Master Data Plan prior to your LabVantage LIMS deployment will result in the proper design and configuration of the master data required for long term operational excellence.
  • Designing your master data with the future state in mind will provide better system performance across the entire workflow of your organization and will allow for easier development and maintenance of customized reports.
  • Choosing an experienced implementation team of subject matter experts is critical to the success of your LabVantage LIMS deployment. Staffing requirements for a LIMS project can be extremely complex, requiring a variety of different skill sets that are necessary to accomplish the strategic planning, configuration, integration and validation needed to successfully execute your implementation project.
  • Moving employees off of their current projects to do LabVantage work often distracts from other responsibilities and requires a long learning period. Utilizing Astrix LabVantage services will provide the necessary resources and informatics expertise required to effectively manage and implement your LIMS deployment project without disruption to your current operations.

About Astrix

With over 25 years of industry proven experience, Astrix provides a complete set of LabVantage LIMS services to ensure your investment is performing at the highest level. Using the Astrix Approach™, we provide LabVantage services which include business process analysis, implementation, training, upgrades and LIMS strategic planning.  Whatever your business needs, our consistent yet customizable Astrix Approach™ will help you get the most from your LabVantage system.

 

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