There’s a lot of buzz about how Software as a Service (SaaS) technology has finally arrived, making it an increasingly attractive LIMS solution for labs of all sizes.
But what if you’ve already made a substantial investment in an on-site LIMS solution?
No matter how much you may long for the features SaaS has to offer, that capital investment you’ve already made cannot be ignored. But questions still run through your mind:
- Does a transition to SaaS make sense in the near-term?
- What options are available?
- What’s the best way to leverage the LIMS licenses I already have?
You shouldn’t give up on SaaS LIMS quite yet. Those LIMS licenses you purchased on a perpetual basis can be used to capture the greatest possible value from your current investment. You may not be able to make the transition as quickly as you’d like, but starting the process now could still be to your advantage.
Can You Benefit Despite Your Existing On-Prem LIMS?
Justifying the switch from an expensive on-premise LIMS to a SaaS model requires more than a good business case for a disruptive technology. The benefits must be significant enough to offset the investment you’ve already made. And the more you can leverage your existing resources into the SaaS ecosystem, the better.
Fortunately, there are a number of situations that make an upgrade to SaaS compelling enough to be worthwhile, even if your existing LIMS isn’t knocking on the “legacy system” door just yet. In particular, your lab might be a good candidate if one or more of the following scenarios applies to you:
- You’d like to shift responsibility for your system’s infrastructure to someone with more technical knowledge, skill, and focus — someone who can spin up systems faster, deal with issues more promptly, and free you up to focus on the lab-related work you do best.
- Your lab may be small, and you want to lower your costs by taking advantage of the reduced price SaaS offers at those scales.
- Accelerating your pace of innovation is a priority. You want new enhancements to arrive quickly, and to keep your LIMS up to date so that it can do more, function better, and run faster as soon as new capabilities become available.
- You want software bugs to be resolved quickly (and preferably fast enough that you never even notice them!).
- You want to ensure that your system can scale and integrate quickly so that you can capitalize on future opportunities. You don’t want to be limited by the size of your IT hardware and other resources.
If even one of these statements resonates with your lab’s needs, it’s probably worth taking a closer look at just how much you could gain from switching to SaaS. But there are other options you can explore that approach the simplicity and flexibility of SaaS with a combination of services and good practices.
As time is measured on the internet cloud hosting may seem like old news, but it can still be of great value to your LIMS. LabVantage, for example, can help you lower your IT costs by transitioning on-site installations to the cloud. This will enable you to spin up systems faster, manage computing resources virtually, and improve the scalability of your infrastructure with almost unlimited potential.
Using a virtual private network (VPN), your LabVantage cloud-hosted system can put these virtualized servers directly on your own computer network, securing your network traffic with military-strength encryption without compromising access to local resources such as printers and barcode readers.
One of the key advantages of SaaS is that its supporting software and infrastructure is automatically maintained by the software vendor. A LabVantage Managed Services contract can fulfill the same role by providing benefits like these:
- 24/7 support for your system, ensuring uptime service levels.
- Proactive monitoring, which can identify platform bottlenecks in resources and service levels before they become concerns.
- Installation and upgrade services, provided by a skilled LabVantage team with a robust knowledge of its software and requirements.
- Proactive planning for enhancements and new features, including strategic software upgrades, patch installation, and assistance configuring your system for the most efficient use of your LIMS.
Configuration vs. Customization
Another much-touted benefit of SaaS systems is their potential for “multi-tenancy,” a fancy name for systems where multiple users or “tenants” can share a single software application running on a server. Although the most obvious advantage of a multi-tenant system is the cost savings that comes from shared infrastructure, these systems offer an additional benefit to laboratories.
Most SaaS systems – and especially multi-tenant systems – don’t allow customization. As a result, labs are often forced to modify their business practices to match the off-the-shelf features of their system, rather than customizing their software to match their preferred workflow.
If this approach is less than ideal, it’s easy to understand why it happens. For one thing, the many pitfalls of software customizations are well documented. And as any lab that has tried it can tell you, customized software is notoriously hard to upgrade.
A good SaaS system gets around this problem by offering the widest possible range of configuration options. This approach delivers the best of both worlds: the flexibility to set up your LIMS in a way that matches your business practices, combined with the stability of software that hasn’t been compromised by customization. Software upgrades also become much easier to deal with in this environment because the configuration model significantly reduces the risk of bugs or other adverse behavior in the new software.
To take full advantage of configuration, it’s best to reduce software customizations — or better yet, avoid them altogether — when transitioning an on-prem system to the cloud. This approach may not work for every lab, but we strongly encourage you to give it a try before you resort to customization again. If you ultimately determine that it’s necessary, our experience suggests changes will be most effective if all customizations require explicit approval from a C-level sponsor before being introduced into your LIMS system.
SaaS Can Still Make Sense
Whether you want more time to focus on lab work, need to lower operating costs, innovate faster, spend less time dealing with issues, or want the flexibility to expand quickly, the case for SaaS could still be strong enough to challenge your existing LIMS strategy. Compare the two and you may even find that your existing system is keeping your lab from fulfilling its full potential.
To learn more about how LabVantage can help you maximize the value of your current LIMS license and determine if SaaS is a good fit for your lab, contact us today.