For sample management software in your lab: Do you go COTS or custom?

Like we said in our previous blog – it depends on what your company needs from sample management software. First, consider the terminology:

COTS = Commercial-off-the-shelf/Turn-key
Custom = Made-to-order/Specific-to-you

sample management software like car

Let’s get this discussion rolling with another automobile analogy: Should you BUY sample management software “off the lot” (COTS)…or do you BUILD it custom? It can become a complex process to understand user requirements, but this content can help clarify both options.

COTS sample management software

There is a reason we don’t see many custom minivans on a morning school run. It's because off-the-lot models are typically good enough to meet our needs for making the daily school run.

If we consider a minivan as a turn-key sample management software solution, it allows us to fulfill a reasonably simple workflow such as Register | Fractionate | Aliquot | Store. Many turn-key or COTS products meet requirements for this workflow without additional customization. They also provide  benefits for sample management software.

Budget sympathetic – The only cost is usually for the end-user licenses.
Deadline sensitive – Off-the-shelf means no need for additional customization or added time.
Resource considerate – No need to schedule information workshops or test newly developed functionality.

CUSTOM sample management software

Why wouldn’t everyone buy a turn-key solution if it offers these benefits? For the same reason we don’t see many minivans driving around Laguna Seca. Yes, a minivan could drive around the circuit. But it is unlikely to set a new lap record. If we want to set a lap record around a race track, we want a custom vehicle that has been tuned to deliver peak performance and take the most efficient line around the track.

The same is true with sample management software. Turn-key solutions are good for specific tasks. However, if we consider a solution that could be used across several labs to support multiple workflows, aggregate data, and generate multiple reports – it is highly unlikely that we can purchase a turnkey solution that will support functions to our specific requirements WITHOUT customization.

An alternative approach to sample management software

BiobankPro has a new approach for dealing with complex workflows that lets you purchase a custom solution off the shelf AND tune it to perform for your needs.

So whether you go COTS or custom – or a bit of both – BiobankPro® can define better workflows for your lab! Reach out to us for more information about a sample management software solution that fits specific needs in your lab.