The Benefits of Developing a Digital Strategy Across the Laboratory Enterprise

Clear, Unmet Problems Limit Time to Market in Life Sciences

Businesses are gaining significant competitive advantages through digital transformation, however, the Life Science industry has yet to realize the true benefits of developing a digital strategy across the laboratory enterprise. There is a clear need to speed up access to data, improve throughput and accelerate time to market, but the path leading to the solution is unclear. While there is a general consensus in the Life Sciences industry as to ‘why’ digital transformation is necessary, it is not well understood ‘how’ to go about this task. With proprietary business models, lab instrumentation and applications do not ‘talk’ to each other. This lack of data connectivity poses an enormous challenge to digital transformation initiatives within the industry. Current point-to-point, vendor-specific connections are expensive, difficult to maintain, and trap data in silos, thereby slowing the pace of science.

 

Instrument and application vendors are equally burdened by significant investments in legacy systems, impeding the adoption of cloud technologies in scientific laboratories. New vendors find the complexity of combining scientific, technology, and regulatory expertise, coupled with the indispensable task of pulling the laboratory ecosystem together, daunting. Certain vendors have integrations between systems that they consider to be strategically important but there is no holistic approach to exchanging data within the laboratory. This absence of digital connectivity throughout the entire workflow results in segmentation and data silos, making the efficient exchange of data and information an impossible task.

 

Creating a Platform Holistic Communications Channel

Changing this traditional approach to laboratory resource integration from a complex point-to-point implementation to a peer-to-peer enterprise will dramatically transform data connectivity within the Life Sciences laboratory. Scitara, an innovative global provider of cloud-based software solutions for science based industries, is powering the digital transformation of scientific laboratories by enabling them with modern lab data connectivity infrastructure and tools to accelerate science. Scitara’s Digital Lab Exchange (DLX™) platform allows plug-and-play connectivity between any device, instrument, application, informatics system, web service or lab resource. Though the use of their novel connector technology and IoT interface, the automation of workflows, task notifications, and bi-directional compliant data exchange speeds the accessibility and sharing of lab data across the enterprise.

 

Scitara’s DLX platform provides a holistic communications channel that establishes a peer-to-peer network enabling immediate access to all of the instruments and resources within the laboratory.  It simplifies the way connectivity is handled over time. Their ‘no instrument left behind’ approach allows you to easily add new instruments, change workflows with the changing dynamics of your business.

 

Maximizing Productivity through Event Driven Workflows

A connection platform that allows you to react very quickly and efficiently to onboarding new connections provides the foundation necessary for automating data exchange between instruments and applications across the enterprise. Event driven workflows can be applied using business rules to orchestrate where the data needs to go and trigger the cascade of activities that surround those transactions.

 

Examples of event driven lab workflows:

 

  • Submission of a request for analysis from a LIMS or ELN
  • Creation of a sample queue in an HPLC system
  • Collection of sample weights from a balance
  • Notification of a user group that a request is pending
  • Performing calculations and logic for data in flight
  • Bringing manual readings into the digital workflow via QR code or secure IoT device
  • Setting up review gates in an automated workflow
  • Monitoring the digital data that is flowing through the system

 

There is a whole diversity of instruments, applications and services that are being added to the laboratory workflow all the time. This is one area of real benefit in a digital transformation strategy to have a technology in place like the Scitara DLX platform that has the flexibility to respond to those changes and can very quickly add in new devices as changes occur in the laboratory ecosystem.

 

Orchestrating a Workflow Mapping Strategy

To gain the full benefit of a digital transformation initiative within the laboratory, it is necessary to eliminate manual processes and siloed systems throughout the entire workflow. Each unresolved step in the workflow that requires manual intervention represents a rate liming, inefficient roadblock in your digital pathway.

 

Having established a platform to effectively manage the endpoint connections throughout the laboratory, bringing those endpoints together unlocks the power of total workflow automation. The Scitara DLX Orchestration Engine utilizes API based connections to achieve the multi-point orchestration of events that constitute individual or interconnected laboratory processes.

 

Scitara Orchestration Technology Connector Interfaces

 

Simple device connectors

  • Support for virtually any non-PC based device (e.g., balances & pH meters) that has a documented serial or Bluetooth API connection, using our unique and secure IoT device.

 

Instrument application connectors

  • Support for virtually any PC based instrument that requires or allows data exchange via flat files

 

Informatics system connectors

  • Support for LIMS, ELN, and other Enterprise Informatics systems

 

Web service connectors

  • Business cloud applications – Office 365, Google Apps, Box, Dropbox…

 

The scope of connection technology available within the Scitara DLX platform supports any combination of workflow orchestration required for the automation of most laboratory processes. In addition, JavaScript is built into the orchestrating engine itself to enable the customization of script for more sophisticated activities.

 

The diagram below outlines an example process for orchestrating a LIMS or ELN request for sample weights and a chromatographic analysis in the Scitara DLX system. While Empower is listed as HPLC software example, this workflow can be deployed for virtually any HPLC software application.

 

 

The Scitara Orchestration connection technology allows for simple, end user task automation without the need for advanced programming techniques. However, success in laboratory informatics projects can be difficult to achieve largely due to the complex processes and technologies utilized in laboratories, and the many different aspects of the workflow across the enterprise. Mapping a process workflow not only takes into account the connectivity between laboratory resources and the capture of data output. It starts with the digital transformation strategy itself. Mapping out the ‘as-is’ and ‘to-be’ laboratory informatics roadmap, evaluation of current and legacy technology, data architecture,  and regulatory compliance requirements, just to name a few, are critical components within any digital strategy. Selecting the best-in-class technology along with a knowledgeable, industry-proven informatics partner to assist you on your digital transformation journey will ensure the success of your laboratory informatics project.

 

Conclusion

The broad diversity of lab instruments, software and web services creates a challenge to manage workflows and digital data that involve multiple vendors and applications, some of which are not PC based. For this reason, most Life Science laboratories have not executed a successful digital transformation, resulting in decreased productivity and ultimately limiting time to market.

 

Scitara’s DLX pioneering connector technology removes the barriers to total workflow automation. Their peer-to-peer platform strategy speeds the process of integrating laboratory resources while enabling data exchange and workflow orchestration across the entire enterprise. Multi-point orchestrations allow for the seamless connection to a wide variety of instrumentation, different types of data, and the ability to connect with that data and reroute it to its target destination to accelerate results driven science.

 

Scitara, in partnership with Astrix, believes that if you are going to invest the time and resources into a digital transformation initiative, it is important to ensure success by applying a proven methodology. Our focus is on solving the challenges experienced by scientific organizations through a Value Engineering approach. The Astrix Approach™ is a comprehensive, methodical and flexible framework which is designed to ensure your laboratory informatics project is a success and maximizes business value for your organization. The Astrix Approach encompasses:

 

 

With over 25 years of experience in laboratory informatics professional services, Astrix is uniquely positioned to drive the success of your digital transformation project and solve challenges in your lab.

 

Why It Matters for You

To gain the full benefit of a digital transformation it is necessary to eliminate manual processes and siloed systems throughout the entire laboratory workflow. The lack of data connectivity often seen in the Life Sciences industry poses an enormous challenge to digital transformation initiatives. Current point-to-point, vendor-specific connections are expensive, difficult to maintain, and trap data in silos, thereby slowing the pace of science.

 

  • Implementing the Scitara DLX™ connection platform will allow you to react very quickly and efficiently to onboarding new connections, providing the foundation necessary for automating data exchange between instruments and applications across the enterprise.
  • Utilizing innovative technology based upon peer-to-peer connectivity will “Future-Proof” your laboratory through the ability to easily add new technology, swap out instruments and change workflows as your business evolves.
  • Establishing event driven workflows will maximize productivity within the Life Sciences laboratory through full workflow automation and orchestration of in-flight data, while incorporating IoT technology for data exchange, process monitoring and user community notifications.
  • Selecting the best-in-class technology along with a knowledgeable, industry-proven informatics partner to assist you on your digital transformation journey will ensure the success of your laboratory informatics project.

Scitara is a global provider of laboratory-specific, cloud-based software solutions for the life sciences and other science-based industries. Our solutions are powering the digital transformation of scientific laboratories by enabling them with modern lab data connectivity infrastructure and tools to accelerate science.