Efficient, scalable, secure lab management is in the cloud

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Analytical laboratories are facing mounting pressure to do more with less, budgets are being reduced, headcount limited, skills gaps increasing, and deadlines shortening, meanwhile throughput is expected to increase. The resulting pressure these challenges place on labs can have a much broader impact on laboratories, including:

  • Increased human error
  • Compliance and security shortcuts
  • Low staff moral/retention

With all these pressures compounding, laboratories are looking for new solutions to increase their capacity, efficiency, and productivity, and inefficient use of their existing resources is a prudent place to start. Ensuring that existing resources are being used to their fullest potential not only increases throughput but can also support the justification for additional investment. Unfortunately, effective coordination and utilization of existing assets is currently either a manual process that is often time consuming and inaccurate or relies on specialist software that requires a significant financial outlay. However, new technologies are being introduced to provide lab managers with the data they need to increase the efficiency and productivity of their lab, and labs of the future are looking to alternative software delivery mechanisms such as the cloud to meet their ever-changing needs.

Maximize lab productivity anytime, from anywhere

Earlier this year, Waters Corporation launched software-as-a-service (SaaS) cloud native product, waters_connect System Monitoring, to bring the benefits of SaaS and the Cloud into the analytical laboratory.

The goal in developing a SaaS lab management solution like System Monitoring was to firstly provide lab managers with a holistic view of their chromatography laboratory operations. Secondly, it was to ensure that the software was specifically tailored to the needs of the laboratory and could evolve as the needs of the lab did, thus supporting labs of the future in their digital transformation. System Monitoring delivers all the benefits of connectivity described in the article The Role of Connectivity in Creating a Lab of the Future published in June 2023. In addition, users also benefit from a universal, real-time view of all their Empower™ chromatography systems, enabling them to coordinate work and respond to system errors easily and efficiently.

Monitor lab instruments remotely

There are vast opportunities for efficiency and productivity gains of day-to-day lab operations without being in the lab. The freedom of being able to access detailed information about the status and usage of chromatography systems, at any time, from anywhere allows labs to truly access their operational potential. With System Monitoring, all Empower-controlled systems are viewable anytime, from anywhere through the System Monitoring dashboard that provides at-a-glance information about the live and historical status of the Empower-controlled systems.


Optimize resources and reduce waste

Lab resources are valuable, therefore, any opportunity to utilize instrumentation, samples, and solvents more effectively, is key, however, the most valuable resource in any lab is its people. System Monitoring increases instrument uptime and utilization by providing instant and detailed notifications on the important status change of an instrument. This allows users to not only respond to errors faster, keep instruments running longer, and save valuable sample and solvents from being wasted on re-runs, but also use their valuable time more effectively.

Make valuable, informed decisions

In the laboratory, data is everything, but only when that data informs decision making. Analytical data provides insights to inform decisions on drug development to improve patient safety, but to expedite that decision making, data is also needed on laboratory operations. System Monitoring provides detailed historical data on the status and usage of your Empower fleet. View the historical status of systems over a 7-day, 30-day, or custom date range, in either a table or timeline format. The historical information provided includes the relative time in a specific state for each instrument, plus additional contextual detail associated with the system events, for example, error information is presented alongside details of the project and sample set when the error occurred.

Further detail is also captured enabling users to distinguish between Running Samples versus, for example, when the Monitor function was been selected within the Empower Software.

Quick access to consolidated acquisition device data

It is often challenging and time consuming for lab managers and metrologists to improve lab efficiency because information comes from many sources. This is particularly challenging during instrument downtime where any delays in troubleshooting can result in delays in getting product to market. Any opportunity to increase troubleshooting and uptime is beneficial for busy labs, which was one of the considerations when developing the Device Management application that sits alongside System Monitoring, providing a holistic and current view of detailed acquisition device information. The Device Management app consolidates detailed information associated with acquisition devices or LAC/E boxes to support troubleshooting and information gathering. Using Device Management makes it possible to view all acquisition devices, filtered by Teams, with pertinent information including:

  • Empower Software version
  • Driver pack details and installed drivers per acquisition device
  • Firmware versions for instrument modules
  • WindowsTM operating systems details
  • Last reboot time of the acquisition devices

Using this information, lab managers and metrologists can speed up troubleshooting and gather important information to support the efficient operations of the laboratory.

Digitally transform your lab

One of the benefits of the increasing pace to lab digitization is the focus on increased collaboration to support productivity. The burden to do more with less is increasing and as a result, time pressures can make it difficult to collaborate, even more so when cross-functional teams within an organization utilize different processes and ways of working. This is further compounded when you consider large, global organizations with sites based across multiple countries. This has driven an increase in the move from manual, non-dynamic processes to more automated digital processes that improve ways of working and provide increased efficiency and reliability. However, even more automated digital solutions have their limitations such as, for them to be beneficial, they must be consistently used by all users and often lack integration with the actual statuses of the instruments in question. System Monitoring overcomes this by providing an integrated scheduling functionality that enables users to manage the usage of their chromatography systems between cross-functional teams. Instruments can be scheduled for sample analysis, calibration, and maintenance allowing users to collaborate more effectively across teams and truly optimize the output of their laboratory.

Improved efficiency and confidence

Security is always a concern for laboratories as the risk of viruses, data leaks, etc. can have wide-reaching impacts, not least on the integrity of your data, which is why many companies are turning to the cloud. As with any purchase, it’s important to select your Cloud partner carefully. Working in conjunction with our Cloud provider, Waters manages the security of the waters_connect Cloud to manage the security of our cloud infrastructure and platform in line with best-in-class industry standards. The waters_connect System Monitoring software also sits outside of the validated Empower environment, giving users complete peace of mind that their data and IT infrastructure is safe.


The push for increasing efficiency is a significant driver of lab of the future and a key component to achieving increased efficiency is connecting your lab to digital tools that support digitization. Increasing efficiency and productivity with the goal of getting product to market faster without compromising quality and safety is very important, and this is at the core of waters_connect System Monitoring. System Monitoring provides a holistic view of the lab, allowing easier planning, scheduling, and monitoring of day-to-day laboratory operations. As the software is also hosted in the cloud, users can actively give feedback on new features and functionality they require, working collaboratively with Waters to influence and receive new developments. Adopting SaaS is essential for any lab of the future that wants to influence the software tools they use, ensuring they best meet their needs. Labs that embrace SaaS benefit from scalability and flexibility that maximizes their operations and productivity.