Science is built on a foundation of unanswered questions. The scientific method perfectly defines this charism of research and discovery: science begins by asking essential questions and doesn’t stop until they are answered. For centuries, scientists have followed this approach; beginning with a question, forming a hypothesis, and following it with thorough research and testing until a well-informed conclusion can be made.
However, when selecting a LIMS or ELN Lab Notebook solution, the approach is often quite different. Established system incumbents are often chosen with little question, and many of the market’s most widely adopted solutions are disconnected from scientific realities, leading to data access and searchability issues, workflow configurability, platform stability, and more. Worse, many labs don’t realize these shortcomings until they’ve undergone a long and painful implementation process, including significant customization work. The result? Scientists that don’t use the lab systems in place, solutions prone to breaking with each passing update, and organizations that are delayed in advancing their novel scientific work.
By applying scientific questioning to the solution search, scientists can eliminate buyer’s remorse, maximize return on investment, and choose the right platform for their lab’s needs, today and tomorrow.
The complete Buyer’s Guide to Science-aware™ lab platforms is here.
So, why are LIMS and Lab Notebook solutions so hard for scientists to use? Let’s ask a few questions that uncover ‘why’.
Why can’t my system handle my lab’s most complex requirements?
Science is more advanced than ever—with more complex molecules, operational processes, reporting requirements, and data sets. When the inherent complexity of the science is combined with an over-complicated LIMS or Lab Notebook the result is untenable… and unusable. The key to simplifying this complexity is providing a solution that leads with exceptional usability, enables total workflow configurability, and delivers powerful scientific tools out of the box—tools like NGS, flow cytometry, 3D plating, and others. Integrating tools into one common, easy-to-use platform ensures that the right capabilities are within reach when scientists need them. In addition, reusability powerfully supports the simplification of complex scientific requirements by making various scientific objects reusable across the workflow to ensure everything scientists are doing is free of redundancy and drives real progress.
Why can’t I adapt my workflows easily as the needs of my lab change?
As science evolves, many labs find that their LIMS and Labo Notebook solutions stay the same. These lab systems are not made to adapt. When they do, it is only with the help of significant technical resources and time—both delaying scientific progress. By contrast, a no-code solution embraces change as a natural prerequisite of a scientific platform, empowering scientists to make powerful workflow changes without requiring technical intervention. When a platform is made for adaptability, changes can be made without compromising the stability of the solution amid future upgrades—a challenge that plagues many of the market’s leading lab informatics platforms.
Why don’t my LIMS and Lab Notebook work the same way?
While a few lab informatics providers position their offerings as a platform, these platforms often consist of loosely connected solutions designed on different code bases at different times and often, even by different organizations. Their integration is surface-level, and their user experiences are truly disparate. Users are therefore left to log in and out repeatedly over the course of the day, to learn multiple systems, and to piece together a holistic view of their experiments, processes, and data. Conversely, a true platform will begin with a common data architecture enabled by a singular login and user experience across solution areas.
Why do I have more data than ever but less understanding than I need?
The scientific ecosystem has a surplus of data, primarily driven by the high throughput techniques and technologies that enable today’s advanced laboratory processes. And yet, much of this data is not accessible, nor is it standardized for analysis. Most LIMS and Lab Notebooks lack robust tools for built-in scientific data reporting and visualization, instead of outsourcing these functions to another solution that may not have been designed for science. By contrast, a platform that puts lab data first will unify access to all of the data in one searchable knowledge-graph and empower scientists to visualize and understand data scientifically.
Why aren’t my scientists using my Lab Notebook or LIMS?
Ultimately, these usability challenges manifest in a lack of scientific adoption. Scientists don’t use their LIMS and Lab Notebook systems because they don’t make the scientific process easier, faster, or better. But poor scientist adoption is the symptom, not the problem. The problem is a pervasive lack of science-aware™ solutions that deliver the capabilities needed to support modern scientists in their novel work.
What does it mean to be science-aware™, and why is it the key to scientific usability?
A science-aware™ platform simplifies life in the lab. It makes data easily accessible, workflow configurable to specific needs, scientific analytics convenient, experiments and processes reusable, and unifies the end-to-end operational experience to make work simple, predictable, and efficient. Would you like to learn more about the science-aware™ standard for lab informatics? Access this helpful buyer’s guide.
Would you prefer to speak to a Sapio representative about your laboratory’s goals for lab informatics? Contact a science-aware™ expert here.
Download the Guide to Science-aware™ lab platforms.