iLab and the Imaging Cores

What is iLab? - iLab Solutions is powerful, database-driven, core laboratory management software that is in use by over 1000 core facilities at roughly 170 institutions worldwide. The company was founded in 2006, it purchased the intellectual property of Vanderbilt’s similar CORES product in 2013, and more recently, Agilent Technologies, Inc. purchased iLab (2016).
After 15 years of core facilities at the UA using a number of instrument scheduling software products, including the UA-built OCF, it was time for a more integrated solution. iLab Solutions is cloud-based software that uses UA NetID for authentication, and pulls up-to-date account information from the KFS (financial) system. 
From a microscopy perspective, the Imaging cores in Kuiper, Marley, and Life Sciences North have all switched their scheduling over to iLab Solutions (March 2018). Ultimately, the goal is to put as many of the UA’s service facilities on iLab as possible.
What are the advantages of iLab? - While iLab Solutions may seem complicated at first, the benefits to the PIs, users, core facilities, administrators and business managers are many. iLab has a strong reputation for responsiveness to user questions and technical support issues. Since iLab is used at many institutions around the country, we can see their cores as well (including ASU). 
A few of the benefits include:
  • Can assign (or delegate the assignment of) their lab members to specific account numbers with specific spending limits
  • Can quickly see how their research funds are being spent in the cores
  • Can easily schedule time on instruments or request training
  • Can track the status of a project (or multiple projects) in a service lab
  • Discovering what types of cores are available on campus will be easier once they are all in iLab.
Core Facilities
  • Simplified billing. Billing is often a huge time sink for core personnel.
  • There are still many service oriented cores that use paper records, iLab would digitize all transactions, making them searchable.
Administrators and Business managers
  • Simplified billing. This should reduce some of the overhead costs to the cores.
  • Vastly improved metrics. Obtaining accurate metrics can be another huge time sink. This includes required reporting of the usage by members of various NIH and NSF funded centers.
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