The Confusion Around COTS - A prudent LIMS buyer should require clear evidence that truly applicable business functionality is offered out-of-the-box. - BioPharm International

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The Confusion Around COTS
A prudent LIMS buyer should require clear evidence that truly applicable business functionality is offered out-of-the-box.


BioPharm International
Volume 19, Issue 9

System Extensibility

As previously mentioned, no system will be able to satisfy 100% of a customer's needs. With that in mind, it is important that the vendor provide capabilities to configure and, if necessary, customize the solution. Questions to ask include:

  • What configuration abilities exist?
  • What are the approval lifecycles, including
  • Status cascades
  • Security options
  • Are there tools to extend the system without programmatic code?
  • How can new properties and new entities added?
  • What is required to design new GUI screens?
  • Does the system employ an industry-standard programming environment that can be used when customization is necessary? Proprietary programming languages present significant challenges in terms of resource management.

CONCLUSION

Laboratory information management systems have clearly progressed significantly since their inception. However, much of their evolution has been realized through the capabilities they offer users for customization. While many vendors now include the term COTS in their marketing materials, that claim is not always substantiated.

The prudent pharmaceutical LIMS buyer should require clear evidence that truly applicable business functionality is offered out of the box, to avoid the need for extensive customization. There are specific areas that should be examined to determine how capable a system is. Buyers can review not only software demonstrations, but also available supporting documentation and support offerings. This will help to differentiate what a LIMS is "capable" of, and what it truly delivers off-the-shelf.

Richard Wagner is a product manager for informatics at Thermo Electron Corporation, 1601 Cherry St., Suite 1200, Philadelphia, PA 19102, 215.964.6020,


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