Do Services Belong in Lab Software?: Specialized vs Centralized

By: Tom Dolan, Chief Executive Officer

An important disagreement in laboratory software is specialization vs centralization. Across the fields of research and medicine, the state of this argument, which is that the market leans toward specialized systems, continually hurts lab software users. By the end of this blog, let’s decide if it is time for you to be a bit more demanding.

The truth we want to communicate is that when lab businesses buy software, they accept or even expect specialization. But what does specialization mean and allow? In a typical pharmaceutical facility, a single floor in the facility will have half a dozen or more different information systems. In such scenario, it is rare that effective integration prevents siloed data, redundant manual (error prone) entry, and high-priced staff from toiling away at the work of would-be automation. In fact, all through life science and healthcare laboratories, the specialization of software systems is ignoring the contradictory point that collaboration is the new and forecasted norm. For one, preclinical CRO labs did approximately 3.5 billion dollars of collaboration in 2016 and the market is growing by about 8.5% per year, according to And another – translational science has proven its usefulness in medicine where scientific research processes contribute to patient diagnosis and treatment. Those are just a couple examples out of a crowd of modern scientific collaborations.

What is specialized software? To define it, we need to look at the positives and negatives. The positive is that a specialized software’s template has been developed and iterated ad nauseam to include years of industry best practices. The negative is that specialized software creates disconnected lab operations, often by its antiquated technology or one-discipline design. In the current market, specialized lab software is much more common than centralized. This is, perhaps, because specialized lab software is easier for providers to deploy – needing little investment or expertise in implementation services.

We at RURO know that you are smart and do not need us to bombard you with a lot more information on this subject, but we do want to make one last point.

We believe that the future is full of lab software providers that have figured out how to build viable, thriving businesses that feature centralized information management solutions. That would be an enormous benefit to the world and any other planets we may have conquered. Perhaps this future will all be because you demanded centralized and integrable software for your laboratories.