In my recent post The Lack of the Ultimate System I was talking about my frustration that I do not have just one really great system option that I can give to customers who just need some basic system, where the problem is that, to actually “know” system is to implement it.

Examples of LIMS Lack of Knowledge

I think I’d mentioned that, last year, I’d learned the Autoscribe Informatics LIMS. I never ended up getting a chance to implement it and, of course, have forgotten everything about it. At the time, it seemed easy to learn but I don’t remember anything about it, now. So, knowing LIMS that you take a course on doesn’t necessarily happen.

Not long ago, probably a month or so, I’d received the opportunity to learn the Thermo Fisher Scientific Nautilus LIMS . Here I have an opportunity I don’t get often – to learn a new system. However, making the time to learn these systems isn’t easy and then we all wonder whether we’ll learn the system then have no opportunity to implement and, as such, merely forget it.

Sometimes, It’s Not Important to Know Many LIMS

Once you have learned a new system once or twice, before, it usually isn’t that it’s so difficult to do, but everyone has such limited time that even these “free” opportunities come at a cost.

As I’ve said, before, it’s not possible to be an expert at too many systems at one time. These days, my expertise is mainly with the LabWare LIMS / ELN and I do also work with the Thermo Fisher Scientific SampleManager LIMS / LES, as well as having a special relationship with the iVention LES system. Whenever you work to gain a new expertise, you have to consider whether to let something else go.

Questions to myself: Would I learn Nautilus and become an expert on that and replace my time with SampleManager after 30 or so years working with it? Would I drop the LabWare systems after 20 years of building myself to be an expert in those? You can imagine it’s not an easy choice. If I both learn Nautilus AND get an opportunity to implement it to actually “know” it, would it be the system I’ve been hoping to find for so long?


The bottom line is this: It’s a supply and demand situation. When customer don’t come to you with requests for you to work on specific systems it seems an easier choice to focus on something else. We sometimes bemoan the fact that we’re “throwing away” years of expertise and wonder if the market wouldn’t benefit from it. The problem is that, if the market isn’t buying that expertise, then the market doesn’t need that expertise from you. At the same time, learning a new product doesn’t mean you’re knowing LIMS products besides what you already knew.

It’s something I think we all have to remind ourselves of, from time-to-time.

2 Thoughts to “Still Not Knowing LIMS Systems”

  1. Hi Gloria,
    Here is my opinion from my own experience:
    Extending your knowledge/experience with e.g. another LIMS platform is valuable for yourself AND your (potential) customers. By sticking to the same known ground you miss a lot of ideas and insights.
    I started in LIMS, evolved to MES, then to PLM, R&D and supply chain, now again to resource planning in labs. There is so much I could pass from one domain to another.

    So go for it! Do some upfront investment yourself and the clever ones among the lab managers will engage you right away for all the expertise you bring with you.

    Geert Vanhove

  2. First of all, and not that this was such a huge investment of time or effort, but I will admit to all who read this that I did finally install Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Nautilus, yesterday.

    But the point of my message is really to talk more about what Geert just said. My original point was that you can’t “know” a product until you implement it. Seeing a demo doesn’t help you “know” it and doing a trial of it doesn’t, either. It’s not until you fully implement a system that you finally “know” it – that you understand its true strengths and weaknesses.

    But to Geert’s point that learning a new system does have value in and of itself, I do agree that when you try a new system, you find out what else is going on in the world. When we use just one or two systems, exclusively, we are locked into a limited place. It is only by trying a new system that we learn more about the choices there are in the world, what types of things are available, and learn about different ways of working, learning other systems does broaden your horizons. It does help you understand what people in the industry are talking about.

    And I will admit that learning the Autoscribe system did give me a view to a different type of system than I work on. Speaking with Geert and seeing what his system does really opened my eyes. Starting to work with iVention’s iLES system showed me and entirely new concept of LIMS/ELN/LES implementation.

    With that, I didn’t install Nautilus grudgingly and, at the end of the effort, while I still won’t “know” Nautilus, I will have learned something and that’s always of value.

    Thanks for that, Geert!

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