Operational systems within a laboratory (LIMS, ELN, chromatography systems, and others) are often acquired and implemented over time. These systems are sometimes integrated, sometimes not. Purpose built data marts and other reporting stores are created over time to serve very specific informational needs. Layer on top of this the inevitable duplication of systems caused by mergers and acquisitions, and you have the recipe for a monster.
The various operational systems will continue to serve their purpose in this environment of constant change, but the data contained in these systems must be coalesced in some way to derive actionable insight from the data they house. This can be accomplished through traditional data warehouses, data marts and extract, transform and load (ETL) routines, or through aggregation of data directly from the source systems using data federation and virtualization tools. Many companies today are also undertaking big data initiatives, such as establishing an enterprise “data lake”, in anticipation of being able to fish that data lake for insights only available from having all of their structured and unstructured corporate data in one giant, searchable data store. What are the benefits and pitfalls of each of these approaches? Which are best for your stated objectives? LabAnswer can help you to answer those questions and more.
Bringing Down your Laboratory Informatics Tower of Babel
When bringing disparate systems together, standardization of terminologies is key to being able to aggregate the data to generate reliable insights. Master data such as product codes, site lists, test methods and more need to be standardized across the various systems within the lab, so that data from each system can be consistently identified. Terminologies, ontologies, and taxonomies must be applied consistently, and differing terminologies mapped to one another in order to synthesize related data from various systems into a harmonized view of a sample, a specimen, a patient, or a study or experiment. Again, LabAnswer has the experience to guide you through the setup and ongoing care of your harmonization efforts.