Should I Build or Buy My LAR Management Software?

In comparative medicine, there has always been an imperative to track animals and compile data. First, this was done using pencil and paper. As technology developed and improved, researchers shifted to computers and spreadsheets. These approaches work, but they can also be tedious and error prone.

Today, many enterprising universities and facilities have developed their own databases, either in-house or by hiring a contractor. But what happens when that software breaks?

Many universities aren’t able, either due to funding or staff shortages, to maintain software over the long term. Or perhaps the IT department or contractor in charge of writing the software doesn’t have critical industry knowledge. If your software was created by a single expert (e.g., a professor or student), over time, installing updates, fixing bugs, and creating new features becomes an insurmountable burden.

Software engineering professionals understand that as much as two thirds of the cost of software can be found not in the development stage, but rather in long-term maintenance and upgrading/adding features. (See University of Vermont and references therein.)

Commercial LAR software solutions may seem expensive at first. However, when you factor in the long-term costs and risks, commercial software usually makes more sense. Think of it this way: the commercial LAR software market spreads the costs of software engineering, including long-term maintenance, across multiple customers. Single-site efforts cannot match this benefit/cost ratio because the risks and costs are concentrated on a single “customer.”

Mosaic Vivarium, Virtual Chemistry Inc.’s flagship LAR software, helps researchers efficiently and ethically track their lab’s resources while collecting data which empowers the entire facility to make operational improvements and save money. The cost of Mosaic Vivarium scales with size in a way that makes it accessible to individual investigators as well as entire facilities.

To learn more about how Mosaic Vivarium can help your lab save money, or your entire facility save time and maintain best practices, schedule a free demonstration today!