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Frequently Asked Questions About the Labstep ELN

May 8, 2024

Last year, STARLIMS revealed momentous news in our 36+ year history. We announced the strategic acquisition of Labstep—and their cutting-edge Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN)—to expand our solution portfolio. Read below for answers to our most Frequently Asked Questions about the acquisition and what it means for STARLIMS—and your—future. 

What motivated STARLIMS to pursue the acquisition of Labstep ELN?  

For the last few years, we’ve been having conversations with our customers about how STARLIMS can grow to support you. These conversations increasingly revolved around your need for STARLIMS to play a broader, more integral role, providing comprehensive solutions at every stage of your value chain, from R&D ideation through to commercialization. 

STARLIMS is a pioneer in the market of laboratory Informatics technology. Our offerings help manufacturers expedite new product introductions by reducing the complexity of operations data management, improving workflow efficiency, and enhancing productivity.  

With the acquisition of Labstep, the combined systems will provide the industry’s first complete solution that supports organizations and their partners from ideation through to commercialization. The combination of ELN and LIMS will support a continuum of data management, so organizations can extract meaningful insights and make informed decisions throughout the scientific value chain.  

What is an Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN)?

Today, the majority of scientists persist on record their research on paper using traditional lab notebooks. However, paper-based methods slow productivity and limit breakthroughs due to poor data capture and quality, data loss, and errors. 

An ELN provides increased organization and security throughout the ideation phase of product development by taking the unstructured process of ideation, structuring it, and supporting extensive traceability of experiments. Using an ELN, scientists conducting experiments can document and manage their experiments, procedures, formulas, calculations, observations, and results. When experiments are captured within an ELN, it can also play a pivotal role in protecting Intellectual Property (IP) by maintaining and supporting data integrity, compliance, and consistent method execution, as well as simplifying access control and permissions. 

How does Labstep ELN fit within the STARLIMS solution suite?

Our flagship solutions, Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS), are tailored to support quality control and product manufacturing within the production process. LIMS effectively trace samples through workflows and enable oversight lab activities, offering a centralized platform for streamlined data collection and collaborative efforts.  

In contrast, an ELN serves the purpose of facilitating data capture and tracking during the earliest phases of product development, particularly during ideation. 

ELN solutions currently on the market are often cumbersome, loaded with several complex features, or operate on antiquated interfaces, creating complexity for scientific researchers. According to analysts, the number one reason ELNs are not broadly adopted in organizations is due to inaccessible, unintuitive, and complex designs.  

In absence of a better solution, many organizations continue to resort to manual record keeping and paper-based methodologies. Labstep ELN’s user-friendly design and flexibility lowers the barrier to entry for teams to get started and begin tracking their progress on experiments, collaborating with team members, and reducing manual effort. 

The combination of our LIMS with Labstep ELN can help manufacturers expedite new product introduction by breaking down silos between R&D, quality, and manufacturing, improving collaboration, and streamlining transitions between each stage of the value chain. As the R&D landscape becomes increasingly reliant on collaboration with external partners, Labstep enables and simplifies that process. Learn more about the benefits of a unified ELN and LIMS

What specific attributes attracted STARLIMS to Labstep?

Labstep ELN is highly intuitive design and interface, unlike anything else on the market. The team has embraced a customer-centric approach to product development and has spent years collecting user requirements to ensure their solution meets the needs of modern researchers. Their ELN optimizes protocol and workflow design, catering to the agile needs of R&D teams without the need for complex customizations. It also adeptly transforms unstructured data into a structured format, enables seamless collaboration and knowledge exchange among teams across scientific disciplines. Trey Cook, STARLIMS CEO, also cited “Labstep’s high-caliber team, coupled with its forward-thinking approach” as important factors in the decision to move forward. 

How does the acquisition support STARLIMS overall growth strategy and long-term vision?

We’ve had several conversations over the years with R&D customers about how eager they are to integrate more of their R&D data management needs into their projects with STARLIMS. By joining STARLIMS, Labstep will support the breaking down of organizational silos between R&D, quality, and manufacturing teams by providing a complete R&D and quality manufacturing informatics solution—and a single vendor—across the full product lifecycle.