Several years ago, when I worked in Oracle consulting, I closely followed a data warehouse project. The project consisted of data being collected from perceived health experiences by inhabitants, which were then mapped against geographical coordinates throughout the entire country. I then realized that the time had come when business intelligence and warehousing were no longer geared towards sales and business management, but rather to manage and analyze information-rich data, like laboratory information. The old researcher in me woke up. Later, when I went to work in a LIMS company, I found out that LIMS systems, the ERPs of laboratories, seemed to reside in the corners of the laboratories, far from being incorporated into possible BI solutions of their companies. I anticipated that the rise of lab data to the hearth of company business data was just about to begin.
I know, of course, that lab data is highly utilized and processed for purely scientific purposes. With BI, I mean that lab data is utilized for business and operations, for better decisions, for better customer service and for higher utilization of hidden information. For this purpose, easy and user-friendly is the goal, a real means for business users to discover their valuable lab data. That possibility was earlier largely lacking!
Today data discovery with user-friendly tools is finally a rising trend, as can be seen from Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms (February 2012). Companies with laboratory information systems containing data from quality testing, R&D or analytical services are putting more pressure on IT vendors to provide data discovery solutions.
LIMS professionals should take this demand seriously as an endless variety of questions deserve to receive answers, such as hidden relationships between various conditions and lab results, bottle neck phases of the lab processes, prevalence of certain time periods in deficiencies of quality, most vs. least profitable services, customers, etc.
Today’s modern world is also called information society. However, much of the data is residing back in the operational systems. My ambition is to give a concrete contribution towards higher utilization of information-rich data lying in the laboratory systems. Join this interesting and meaningful cause, share your thoughts!