Whether rich or poor, adult or teenager, male or female, all of us get attracted little or more by the word ‘FREE’. We have heard wise people saying that never get stuck in the trap of free things. Still, as human beings, we can’t stop ourselves to at least have a look at the free thing’s benefits.
The same is true in regards to choosing a LIMS for your lab. So, we are here to help you decide when and why to choose a free or paid lab management system to get optimum utility.
A free LIMS or an open-source lab does not cost you anything to use. Plus, you get a publically available code that you can upgrade and make customized following your requirements.
Sometimes, paid lab software also delivers their free version with lesser features than a paid one. The difference between the two is, you cannot modify or customize the free version of the paid lab management system.
It is needless to say that the free LIMS systems are not one-stop solutions to your lab management needs. On the other hand, it is not advisable to ignore the usefulness of open source lab information systems available in the market without spending a single penny. Thus, the benefits of free lab management software are as under:
Pros of a Free LIMS:
- The biggest benefit is- it is free of cost.
- You can customize it as & when you want, to fit your specific needs.
- You can use it on an experimental basis in case you are new to the market and cannot afford the risk of using paid lab information systems.
- If you have experts who can modify an open-source LIMS in such a way that results in something extraordinary which is not available in the market even after paying, then an open-source LIMS can be a boon for you.
- You can explore the features of a LIS system without fear of loss.
- Open source LIMS facilitates you with the maximum possible flexibility.
Cons of a Free LIMS:
- Naturally, it will be having less number of features to automate your laboratory workflows.
- If you go for extreme modifications and add-ons, the cost of doing so can be highly increased.
- There will be no back or technical support in such free LIS systems.
- If your system lab requirements are more technical and huge in amount, you will not find a free LIMS proved to be really ‘Free’.
- Free LIMS database may not be capable enough storing, tracking, and configuring a huge quantity of data.
- If you find any irregularities after installation, then maintaining them can be costlier than the cost of a paid LIMS.
- There is no guaranteed security in a free LIMS.
Want to try a free LIMS? Some of them are- eLabFTW, Open LIMS, BikaLIMS, Clover, etc.
Choose the provider, pay the decided fees, and the rest is upon the software provider- it is as simple as that. Just selecting the best option available is your To-Do list. After that, take a sigh of relief and let them work.
The question here is, why to pay fees when there are free options available? Well, scroll down to get the answer.
Pros of a Paid LIMS:
- In paid LIMS, the service provider takes all the responsibilities of installing, maintaining, upgrading, and customizing the LIMS systems along with a great after-installation service.
- You can get full time back and technical support from the experts.
- You don’t have got to bother about any irregularities in the system. A team of experts will fix them up.
- Your data is always secured in the LIMS database.
- It is adequate for your complex lab functions.
- It provides better control and integration with other systems.
- A paid LIMS will keep you a level ahead when it comes to technical progression.
- You can take advantage of competition among the software developers and providers in the form of reasonable prices and better features.
- Most of the paid LIS systems are scalable and customizable up to a certain limit according to your operational needs.
- Paid software is fast enough to cope with the growing business and changing environment.
Cons of a Paid LIMS:
- The most disliked point about paid lab management software is, ‘they are paid.’
- Sometimes, to choose among a large number of options available offering a lot of features is a tough grind.
- It, sometimes, may not provide you that level of flexibility or customization which you want.
- You may incur a loss if your choice is proven wrong.
Want to go for a paid LIMS? Have a view of some kinds that may help you.
Examples of paid LIMS- LabWare LIMS, Qualis LIMS, Revol LIMS, Thermo Scientific Sample manager LIMS & many more.
A detailed analysis of what is useful and what is not may help you choose the best suitable option for you. The pro tip is- Determine your requirements, see what are the points you want to take advantage of and go for selection with confidence.
If you still can’t decide, there is nothing to lose in checking the free LIMS once.