Points to consider when buying a bioprocess software
1. What is the purpose of the bioprocess software?
There is no universal solution covering all needs in the laboratory. Creating a User Requirement Specification (URS) will help you to define your specific needs.
Users with basic requirements may only control a single bioreactor and monitor the bioprocess with real data. In this case a modern, built-in HMI is the better choice instead of a specialized software.
If you consider the entire batch planning several devices, which includes event- or time-based control you should consider a SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) software. Working in a GMP validated environment may require even more comprehensive features which are often provided by LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System).
Our tip: Divide a list of available features into must have, should have and could have categories, then the different software levels can be compared to your list in an objective way.
2. Which licencing model do you prefer?
Usually, you will have the choice between a perpetual model and a subscription model. With a perpetual license, the software is installed, registered, and remains the property of the user. An additional maintenance contract will be needed to keep the software up to date.
A subscription model however is based on a server in the cloud. The software is installed locally but will cease to be (fully) operational when the fee is not paid on a monthly or annual basis.
The subscription model has become the preferred way of software purchasing
3. Which devices should be connected to the bioprocess software?
Make sure that your lab equipment is compatible with the software. Various protocols are used to connect shakers, bioreactors or analytical devices to a software. The most common protocols are OPC XML DA, OPC DA, and OPC UA.