When LGC's head of IT Gideon Kay arrived, the whole company was supported by a central ERP system provided by IFS. This core application managed a range of business processes such as finance, procurement, manufacturing, HR and CRM.
Kay is toying with the idea of duplicating these processes onto a hosted service.
He is running a pilot of around 30 users using Salesforce.com with a plan to complement the existing ERP system, rather than replace it.
This is in response to the need to address the challenge of the company’s growing global footprint.
Kay reasons that a bolt-on ERP service in the cloud could minimise new office set-up times without having to invest in more infrastructure. He stresses that the hosted service would not be used for forensics data.
Integrating the hosted service to the back office presents a challenge because some of the interfaces are with specialised analysis equipment. In the past, the software to support this back-office integration has been written in-house.
Kay has taken on a project to deploy Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) into relevant parts of the business, principally forensics and sci-tech.
These are specialised applications which manage the processes by which jobs are taken into the labs, analysed and reported back to the client. Measurements are automatically logged into the LIMS to reduce the margin of error.
Kay recognises that there is a learning curve involved in becoming familiar with technology designed specifically for a science-based environment like this, but there are parallels he can draw that cross vertical markets.
“Essentially a LIMS is just another workflow management system,” he says.
The deployment of LIMS ensures the integrity of the data in line with regulations. The vast majority of the data created by the company is sensitive from a legal perspective and customer information in particular is highly sensitive.
Systems are audited by the UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) to make sure the reputation of the science that is conducted by the company is protected.
More than this, the LIMS system streamlines processes in the labs, allowing the company to provide a better service to customers.
Kay explained the LIMS implementation programme is two-thirds complete and the forensics division will be fully supported by 2012.