User-Driven Technology Paves the Way for Lab Digitisation

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Jenny Hu
July 7th 2020


Hurdles in R&D lab digitisation

As technology advances, it’s more seamlessly integrating into our everyday lives. This has been made possible mainly by user-focused product approaches, where design decisions are driven by the need of the user. However, these advancements are seldomly reflected in R&D laboratories. Although automated systems have been utilised in research for a long time, many of the legacy products were designed in silos and lack considerations for the needs of the end user – the scientists. This has become one of the key bottlenecks in ineffective adoption of new technologies and is one of the critical causes of the slow digital transition of R&D labs.


Digitise the full data journey

Over the last decade, scientific research is rapidly advancing with ever-increasing computational power, enabling labs to produce an unprecedented level of research data. This means full lab digitisation is of paramount importance to help scientists overcome several major problems in data documentation, management and access. Examples of this include electronic lab notebooks (ELN) and lab information management systems (LIMS), however, both on their own only solve one part of the equation. To address the issues surrounding lab digitisation, a holistic approach is needed. One such solution is to build a connected research environment that links data from digital lab notebooks, with inventory information and purchasing processes, unifying these in accessible team environments. In contrast to traditional siloed systems that relegate scientists to scattered record keeping, such a system tracks the entire data journey from start to finish. Scientists can hereby easily compile digital datasets and share relevant information with collaborators around the world.


User-centric technology design will lead lab digitisation

Whilst lab digitalisation is technology driven, the role of the user in this journey is just as crucial. There remain obstacles in bringing lab digitisation to the R&D realm, such as disparate IT skills and computational competency within and between teams. Placing scientists’ demands and feedback at the centre of product design, also called empathetic design, is a key component to adoption. An open dialogue between software providers and end-users is crucial in ensuring companies build tools that are easy to understand, solve every-day pain points and that can be used by anyone, anywhere. To facilitate a smooth transition into what is often called the ‘Lab of the Future’, all stakeholders in the end-to-end R&D process, from lab scientists to data analysts, must be involved in discussions on digitising team workflows. Moving forward as a whole will make data silos a thing of the past, streamlining communication within and between departments and will ultimately transform the face of R&D.



Labstep is a provider of scientific data management software for R&D organisations across industries (Biotech, Pharma, Biology, Chemicals, Agriculture etc) who need to manage, capture, share and use data effectively.

The Labstep platform is an end to end flexible research environment that connects your notebook, inventory, applications and data in one collaborative workspace.

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