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Archive: June 26, 2023

Why database tuning, and revisiting the queries, indexes, and reports are important for a high-performance LIMS system?

A LIMS system that is unresponsive is a major concern for lab users, and it is the responsibility of IT to ensure that the system is kept in excellent condition. Database tuning and revisiting queries and indexes are essential for achieving high performance in a LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System). Once in year LIMS system must be tested for performance. IT teams must communicate and conduct workshops with their business to identify performance bottlenecks.  I call it the “LIMS performance checklist” Here it is

  1. Database tuning: Over time, as the database grows and more data is added, the performance of the database can degrade. Database tuning involves optimizing the configuration of the database to ensure that it is running at its best. This may involve adjusting settings such as memory allocation, storage configurations, and other parameters to improve performance. Without regular tuning, the database can become slow and unresponsive, which can negatively impact the performance of the LIMS system.
  2. Query optimization: The queries used to retrieve data from the database can have a significant impact on performance. Poorly written queries can take a long time to execute, and may even cause the database to crash if they are too resource-intensive. Regularly revisiting queries and optimizing them to improve performance can help ensure that the LIMS system is responsive and fast.
  3. Index optimization: Indexes are used to speed up database queries by allowing the database to quickly locate specific data. However, if indexes are not optimized, they can actually slow down queries by requiring the database to perform additional operations. Regularly revisiting and optimizing indexes can help ensure that queries are executed as efficiently as possible, leading to improved performance of the LIMS system.
  4. Data growth: As data is added to the LIMS system, the database can become slower and less responsive. Regularly revisiting the database schema and making updates to optimize performance can help ensure that the system continues to perform well as the amount of data grows.
  5. Reports: Badly constructed reports gobble up all the CPU power. An report that takes more than 1 min will frustrate all the lab users and they develop hate
  • Reducing the amount of data: Narrowing down the date range and applying filters can reduce the amount of data that needs to be processed, which can significantly improve the performance of the report. By limiting the amount of data that needs to be retrieved and processed, the report can be generated more quickly, leading to faster and more efficient performance.
  • Reducing server load: When generating reports, Crystal Reports can put a significant load on the server. By reducing the amount of data that needs to be processed, the load on the server can be reduced, leading to improved overall system performance.
  • Reducing network traffic: When running a report, Crystal Reports retrieves data from the database and sends it over the network to the client machine. By reducing the amount of data that needs to be retrieved and sent, network traffic can be reduced, leading to improved performance and a better user experience.
  • Improving data accuracy: Narrowing down the date range and applying filters can also improve the accuracy of the data presented in the report. By focusing on a specific subset of data, it’s easier to identify any errors or discrepancies in the data, leading to more accurate and reliable results.

In summary, regular database tuning, reports and revisiting queries and indexes are essential for maintaining a high-performance LIMS system. By optimizing the database and fine-tuning queries and indexes, labs can ensure that the LIMS system remains fast, responsive, and efficient, even as data grows and the demands on the system increase

How to allocate a budget for a LIMS team consisting of 2 LIMS Developers and Testers?

Budgeting for a LIMS developer will depend on several factors such as the complexity of the LIMS, the experience level of the developer, the duration of the project, and the location of the developer.

In general, LIMS development projects can range from a few months to several years, with costs varying from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Typically, experienced LIMS developers can charge anywhere from $75 to $200 per hour, depending on their level of expertise and location. LIMS testers would charge anywhere from $60 to $110 depending on their level of expertise

To budget for a LIMS team, project managers should consider the following factors:

Project scope: Determine the scope of the project, including the number of features and functionalities required in the LIMS.

Developer experience: Look for developers with experience in developing LIMS systems or similar software.

Tester experience: Look for testers with negative testing experience and have extensive experience in interpreting FRS and convert them to test scripts.

Project duration: Estimate the duration of the project, including the development, testing, and deployment phases.

Hourly rate: Decide on an hourly rate based on the developer’s experience level and location.

Contingency: Plan for contingencies, such as additional features or unforeseen delays.

Based on these factors, project managers can estimate the total cost of the project and allocate a budget for the LIMS developer. It is also important to regularly monitor the budget throughout the project to ensure that it stays on track and adjust it as necessary.

Here’s a sample budget calculation for a project (only Dev) with 2 Developers and 3 Testers:

Determine the project scope and duration:
Project scope: Develop a LIMS system with multiple features and functionalities

Project duration: 12 months

Estimate the hourly rates for the LIMS Developers and Testers:

LIMS Developer hourly rate: $150
Tester hourly rate: $80

Calculate the total hours required for the project:
2 LIMS Developers x 40 hours per week x 52 weeks = 4,160 hours
3 Testers x 40 hours per week x 52 weeks = 6,240 hours
Total project hours = 10,400 hours

Calculate the total cost for the project:
LIMS Developer cost: 4,160 hours x $150 per hour = $624,000
Tester cost: 6,240 hours x $80 per hour = $499,200
Total project cost = $1,123,200

Include contingency and other costs:
Contingency (10%): $112,320
Other costs (e.g. hardware, software licenses, project management): $100,000

Total project budget = $1,335,520

Note: This is just a sample budget calculation for US based team, and actual costs may vary.

How can you achieve user support and ensure 100% user adoption following the implementation of a LIMS system?

Gaining user support and 100% user adoption is critical for the successful implementation of a LIMS software in a QC lab. Here are some best practices to achieve user support and adoption:

Involve users in the selection process: Involve key stakeholders and end-users in the LIMS selection and Design process. Solicit their input and feedback on their specific needs and requirements. This will help ensure that the selected LIMS software meets the lab’s needs and gain user support from the outset.

Establish clear workflows: Establish clear and concise workflows to ensure that all users understand their roles and responsibilities. This will help ensure that users know what they need to do and when, reducing the risk of errors and confusion.

Find the bugs: IT team (Dev & Testing) and support team must find and fix the bugs before the lab user finds it.

Provide ongoing support: To ensure a successful implementation of the LIMS software in a QC lab, it is crucial to provide ongoing support to users. This can be done by establishing a dedicated help desk or support team that users can contact for assistance. It is important to have talented individuals who can communicate effectively with lab users, using non-technical language as much as possible. When addressing user issues or concerns, aim to provide permanent fixes rather than temporary workarounds, which can negatively impact the perception of the software. By providing ongoing support, users can feel confident in their ability to use the software and can rely on the support team to address any issues that may arise.

Encourage feedback: Encourage users to provide feedback on the LIMS software’s performance, features, and usability. This will help identify areas for improvement and ensure that users feel involved in the process. Establish incentives to encourage user adoption, such as recognition, rewards, or bonuses. This can help motivate users to learn the software and use it consistently.

Provide comprehensive training: Provide comprehensive training to all users to ensure they understand the software’s features, functions, and benefits. Offer training on an ongoing basis, so users can refresh their skills and learn new features as they are added.

In summary, It is essential to make users feel involved in the process, comprehensive training and ongoing support, establish clear workflows, encourage feedback, establish incentives

-Kat Ganesan