Configurable vs. Customizable LIMS: Which is Right for Your Lab?

LIMS integrations illustration

Let’s face it: your lab is unique, and you have specific needs filled by the software you use that other labs do not. 

What’s more, these needs will likely change as your lab grows and adopts new processes. Because of this, you will need a LIMS that can support your unique workflows and help you adapt and scale your lab. 

When browsing LIMS options, you’ll come across two terms: configurable and customizable. Both of these suggest a LIMS that can adapt to your changing needs, but is one better than the other, and which one is the right choice for your lab? We’ll examine these questions and more in this article.

What is the Difference Between a Configurable and a Customizable LIMS?

Is there really an important difference between “configurable” and “customizable” when choosing a LIMS?

There is. 

A configurable LIMS allows you to make changes within the software you purchase, whereas a customizable LIMS often requires an engineer to update custom code. Let’s explore these differences in a bit more detail.

What is a Configurable LIMS?

A configurable LIMS allows your lab to modify the system's functionality and appearance with built-in tools and settings without requiring changes to the underlying code.

Thanks to pre-built settings and no-code workflows, your lab can modify the LIMS to suit your needs without advanced customization work or costly development resources. A configurable LIMS allows you to personalize the software to meet your lab’s needs without complex development work, from user permissions to accessioning steps to automated workflows. A configurable LIMS puts the power to adapt your LIMS in your hands! Literally, your hands make the changes with your mouse and keyboard.

What is a Customizable LIMS?

On the other hand, a customizable LIMS may allow for more extensive modifications to the system's functionality and appearance, but at a significant cost.

This often involves altering the source code to create custom features, workflows, and integrations. Customizable LIMS provide a higher level of flexibility but will require more technical expertise and resources to implement and maintain. Not only that, but if you need to make any changes as your processes change, you will need engineering resources to make them or pay for development work from a vendor. Nearly all “homegrown” LIMS require engineers to make any needed modifications.

Configurable LIMS offer adaptability within the software, while customizable LIMS allow for more extensive changes to the system's core functionality. However, with customization comes custom development work, which can increase complexity and costs down the line.

A configurable LIMS with no-code tools and a robust API can be a middle ground for your lab by blending easy-to-use features with robust configurability. This allows you to configure many things yourself in the software with simple, point-and-click tools and configurable if-this-happens-then-do-that automations, but it also allows you to layer on customization, using the API, in a much more maintainable way.

5 Advantages of Using a Configurable LIMS

Beyond the no-code vs. custom-code distinction, there are other advantages to using a configurable LIMS in your lab:

  • Faster implementation
  • Easier maintenance and updates
  • Cost-effective
  • Scalability
  • User-friendly for your staff

Faster Implementation

A configurable LIMS can be set up and deployed more quickly than customizable systems, as they require less extensive modifications. Thanks to built-in tools to configure settings and workflows, your lab can start using the LIMS out of the box rather than wait on custom development and testing required to set your LIMS up.

A faster LIMS implementation means your lab hits the ground running sooner and begins leveraging your new LIMS immediately.

Easier Maintenance and Updates

It’s a simple fact: custom code needs to be tested and maintained over time, while a configurable LIMS is far easier to maintain and modify. Not only does this make it easier to adjust workflows on the fly, but it also reduces the complexity of managing your workflows over time. This eliminates complexity, reduces the room for error, and helps to ensure the integrity of your lab’s data.

Cost-Effective (Short-Run and Long-Run)

Thanks to in-app settings and no-code functionality, configurable LIMS often have lower upfront and long-term costs than their customizable counterparts. The reduced need for custom development and specialized technical expertise can result in significant cost savings for laboratories. These cost savings compound over time, too, as your needs and workflows change. 


It’s not just a matter of setting up your LIMS to meet your needs now. You should consider how well your LIMS can scale and adapt as these needs change. Whether your workflows change, you start testing with new methods, your staff increases, or you expand your lab, you need a LIMS designed to accommodate growth and changes in laboratory operations. 

As your lab's needs evolve, a configurable system can quickly adapt to support new workflows, instruments, and data management requirements. A customizable LIMS, on the other hand, will need more advanced development work to adapt to these changing needs.


While many customizable LIMS may boast of their ease of use, a configurable LIMS offers a more user-friendly interface and intuitive navigation. This allows faster user adoption and reduces training time for laboratory staff. Not only does this speed up your implementation, but it also makes it easier to onboard new users as your staff grows.

3 Long-Term Benefits of Choosing a Configurable LIMS

Those advantages are just the tip of the iceberg. There are also a few long-term benefits to choosing a configurable LIMS. 

The top three long-term benefits your lab can expect are:

  • Future-proofing
  • Reduced vendor dependence
  • Improved efficiency and productivity


We touched on scalability in the last section, but it is worth repeating as a long-term benefit. A configurable LIMS is designed to adapt to evolving laboratory needs and industry trends. As new technologies, regulations, and best practices emerge, you can easily update a configurable system to stay current and compliant.

Reduced Vendor Dependence

With a configurable LIMS, your lab relies less on the vendor for custom development and modifications. This reduces the risk of vendor lock-in and allows for greater flexibility in adapting the system to meet specific requirements. Thanks to the independence to make changes yourself, a configurable LIMS also drastically reduces the cost of maintaining your LIMS over time. 

Improved Efficiency and Productivity

While any LIMS should help your lab streamline and automate processes, the time (and cost) savings a configurable LIMS provides helps your lab get even more done.

A configurable LIMS streamlines your lab’s processes, automates your tasks, and enables better data management and accuracy for your staff. These benefits compound over time, leading to increased efficiency, productivity, and cost savings in the long run.

Get the LIMS Configuration Checklist

While both configurable and customizable LIMS allow you to adapt the software to your lab’s specific needs, we strongly recommend choosing a configurable over customizable LIMS. 

While the unlimited possibilities of a customizable LIMS may seem attractive, your lab can save money in the long run, get operational faster, and get more done with a configurable LIMS – and you won’t have to sacrifice the ability to adapt the LIMS to meet your needs. 

Ready to tap into the power of a configurable LIMS for your lab? Click the button below to schedule a demo and make sure to ask for our LIMS Configuration Checklist to get your copy.