As more and more laboratories are digitizing their documentation (or at least plan to do so), new struggles arise. Making the switch from paper notebooks, cardboard folders and scattered computer files to dedicated data management software is not an easy task. Dr. Simon Bungers, Co-founder and CEO of labfolder elaborates on our ELN.
What do you think are the reasons that the uptake of dedicated data management software is still a challenge for so many laboratories?
There is definitely a traditional component to this, since for example scientists have been using paper lab notebooks to document their research for centuries. Then there is a jungle of abbreviations that you have to face when deciding on a software: ELN, LIMS, SDMS, to name just a few. With all these expert expressions, you already feel overwhelmed before you even take the first step. Additionally you will discover that an individual product category can include functionality of another one, e.g. a LIMS with an ELN module.
What is labfolder’s place in this jungle?
labfolder is an ELN as well as a collaboration and productivity tool for research teams – meaning we not only replace the notebook of an individual researcher, but all the notebooks of an entire team. Projects, access management, advanced search capabilities, commenting, digital signatures and many other features make it easy to collaborate, retrieve and validate laboratory data as a team. But it’s not only a tool, it’s also a platform that serves as a gateway to further digitization of your lab environment.
What do you consider a platform for further digitization? That’s also a broadly used term in software nowadays.
labfolder as an ELN is a good start for anyone who wants to go from unstructured, scattered data to having most of the data generated in a laboratory in a somewhat more structured format, in a single system. However, from thereon you can start integrating more of your environment via our powerful interfaces. labfolder as a platform allows easy access to connectivity.
Can you give an example?
Earlier this year we started a partnership with NEC, who are offering research institutions an efficient storage solution for large datasets and data archives. Integrating both solutions allows for day-to-day research data management as well as for archiving and storing large datasets in the long-term. In this case, the platform helps optimize the data management processes not only for researchers, but also for IT personnel.
Which trends do you see for the future?
We believe that more software siloes are going to break down in the future, meaning that software and hardware systems will need to open up for easier integration. One trend that is going to propel this development is an increased adoption of cloud storage and computing in the lab space. Traditionally a very cloud-phobic environment, we’re observing more customers choosing our cloud-solution instead of our on-premise solution as compared to last year. Decision-makers in pharma, biotech and chemistry seem to grasp that cloud computing infrastructure providers, such as AWS, provide more secure solutions than self-managed IT infrastructures.
What is labfolder’s roadmap for 2019?
Besides continuously working on maintaining and significantly improving the general user experience of labfolder, we’re definitely going to work on making our interfaces and platform even better, so that integration of partners and potentially user-generated solutions becomes easier for both sides.
We have the smartLAB at Labvolution Hannover coming up in May, which will also be a great forum for partnering in the lab ecosystem.
And for sure you can expect some other surprises from us, in terms of product and platform!
This content was taken from the Labo interview that Simon Bungers participated in. This content has been translated from German to English to be used on labfolder’s blog page.