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Building a Smart Laboratory 2017


How important are digital technologies to the modern laboratory?


Oscar Kox, business


development manager at iVention


‘Tere is a lot of innovation available in the market but I don’t think many labs are picking it up as early adopters,’ said Kox. ‘People should ask themselves how important


is it adopt new technologies – to innovate in the lab. Having worked in this industry for more than 20 years – of course it is important. You want to see new technology getting into the laboratory either because you want to reduce FTE, you want to do more throughput or improve quality.’ Kox gave an example of large implementation


that iVention is managing in Europe that is consolidating as many as seven individual implementations with their own custom soſtware, with additional soſtware connected to it. ‘Tey cannot upgrade everything all at once,’ he said. Te presence of custom soſtware in each


implementation means that each installation is essentially a new piece of soſtware. ‘Now if you


compare this to the capabilities of a web-based system you can rollout to all of those sites without custom soſtware – there is a big benefit,’ said Kox. ‘If there is a LIMS project that people who are


now looking for a new LIMS or ELN, the decision they make now will affect them for the coming five to 10 years, because that is the investment that you are looking at.’ Kox stressed customers should ask themselves:


will this big conventional LIMS vendor help me to innovate? ‘Tat is where the gap comes in. Tere’s a lot of innovation out there but can I adopt it right now, because of the systems I have in place?’ He explained that iVention has installed


systems across very large organisations. He gave an example of a pharma client who wanted to roll out a system for 300 users across seven countries, over eight months. Cox also mentioned that this solution was hosted for the client by iVention. ‘I don’t think there are many of those rollouts


completed successfully with a conventional LIMS system,’ said Kox. ‘Tey are a big company with their own IT department and we are hosting it for them because we have all the technology in place to automate everything, so all the upgrades can be done automatically.’ He explained the success of


this rollout has meant this company is now using iVention as a strategic partner for much larger rollouts in the future. Kox said: ‘I have seen organisations with


very old soſtware, which can be costly and time consuming to maintain and upgrade. Some IT directors would say the upgrade would cost more


“Customers should ask themselves will this big conventional LIMS vendor help me to innovate?”


than the original installation, so they either try and run for a few more years or select a new system.’ He said one of the main challenges when


dealing with legacy LIMS or ELN systems is a lack of maintenance and upgradability: ‘Te biggest thing I see is customers paying maintenance and they cannot upgrade. Support cannot help them because they have an old version and in many cases this support money is wasted because the system is too old to be properly supported. ‘I would strongly recommend firms look at


their maintenance contacts and ask themselves “what are we getting back from it?”’


Why are cloud technologies and laboratory collaboration growing in popularity among laboratory users?


Kevin Cronin, Core chief commercial officer


Cronin said: ‘At the crux, there is an increase in effective, clear communication when all collaborators have access to the same tools and data. And with rapid increase in externalisation and globalisation, this need is only increasing. ‘With cloud soſtware, teams can have


discussions and make decisions based on real- time information. A cloud-based, collaborative informatics platform can help avoid the basic pitfalls of externalisation, such as waiting for phone calls, emails, site visits, language, and time- zone difficulties,’ stated Cronin. He added: ‘Many of our customers are opting


to go to the cloud for scalability, lowered total cost of ownership, and secure global data exchange. Customers are using our, and other vendors’,


www.scientific-computing.com/BASL2017


cloud-based soſtware to enable standardisation of workflows, and consistent data collection, storage, and exchange across their externalised research, manufacturing, and other partners. ‘Change is hard. Scientists must understand


the potential benefits of the change to accept the new processes or soſtware into their daily lives. It’s quite easy for them to understand the value a new system may bring to the company, such as not replicating research, increasing efficiency, improving reporting and auditing, but they will not adopt anything that slows them down,’ he said. ‘We need to improve the lives of the daily


worker, so they are excited about the uptake and establishment of the system. Users need to see these benefits early on to increase adoption.’ Cronin gave an example of one customer


upgrading soſtware to aid drug discovery: ‘One of our customers was in the office a few months ago discussing their system – a fully automated lab for small molecule drug discovery. Our informatics platform is helping to accelerate discovery via automated processes, simplify data management,


ensure data integrity, and achieve high productivity. Each small molecule and relevant data created are tracked in Core’s Platform for Science. It automates the Tecan driven synthesis in the lab, the site can synthesise and purify hundreds of novel compounds per day,’ said Cronin. ‘Te Platform for Science tracks every


“As informatics providers, we need to improve the lives of the daily worker, so they are excited about the uptake and establishment of the system”


aspect of this process, from rational design on to the shipping manifests generated when the compounds are delivered to a new location for biological testing. Here, the firm realises the business benefits of increased throughput with high quality, and the chemists in this lab see the benefits of the system daily,’ said Cronin. n


11


Dealing with data


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