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Bika Mail 5 - Tell it as it is

Not just another newsletter! Fear not. This is not another vain, blow-by-blow corporate report back on the inner workings of a laboratory software company. Although we’re sure there’s a reality TV show concept in there somewhere. In this letter, you’ll find useful information about our latest software developments and releases, satisfied customers, partnership opportunities and you even get to throw in your five cents on our designs. We’ve been incredibly busy, but are well pleased with the results. So, here’s to a great 2007 to all!

Siyabonga! First off, thanks to Zanele Guqaza for sharing with us this delightfully improved translation of the isiZulu 'bika' for which we were using the more literal 'to report' up until recently. Zanele says that bika also means 'tell it like it is' which really captures the essence of Bika and what laboratories should be about. We couldn’t have put it better ourselves.

If you haven’t paid a visit to our site recently, here’s the latest news:

1. New Software Releases

2. Bika Interlab meets the South African Wine Laboratory Association

3. A Bika portal for the South African Society for Enology & Viticulure

4. Bika Mark 2: Have your say

5. After sales satisfaction!

6. Bika representation in Gauteng

7. Partnership opportunities

8. New resources

1. New Software Releases

Bika LIMS project page

Bika LIMS 1.2.2 ISO 17025 Ready: Upgraded and released

The release of Bika LIMS 1.2.2 was met with a fantastic 900 downloads to date at The release features the ISO 17025 compatibility of its predecessor and we've migrated it to the popular and enhanced Plone 2.5. User-friendliness is ensured with a new manual and help centre integration.

Bika LIMS 1.2.2 continues to offer our web content management tools through the LIMS's web portal which allows laboratories to publish news, information and multimedia reports to prospects, clients and staff.

Bika LIMS 1.2.2 can be applied in any one of the Bika products that we offer, as in the case of Bika Wine 1.2.2 for Cape Winelab on our hosted LIMS service. Bika was very pleased earlier to report that our anchor client BBK achieved ISO 17025 accreditation using Bika Wine 1.2.1. Congratulations.

Adel Stander, BBK's lab manager, had this to say:

'Quick, easy and hassle free. Bika halved our turnaround times. Automated faxing, the instrument interface and query functions are winners.
Our analysts spend their time much more productively in the lab, far less on client queries, highly efficient. Our complaints register is near empty'

And as much as Adel was happy, so too was BBK lab client, Eduard Malherbe:

'Much better! With LiveSearch I find results very quickly'

Statistics indeed show that in as much of 15% of LIMS visits, clients head straight over to Bika's LiveSearch function.

Bika Wine project page

The Bika LIMS on-line demonstration installation was also upgraded, please do feel free to try it out. Clients and prospects can look forward to Bika Wine and the Bika Interlab branch which is currently in migration and due for release in March

After evaluating Bika, a researcher at an academic laboratory at the UC Davis, University of California, wrote:

'My problem with Bika is that its too good... It seems to be a comprehensive solution for a large 'industry-grade' lab'

mmm... Don't forget Bika's open source and easy customisation benefits.

And apparently there will be little need for the manual according another:

'My initial impression is that Bika is very intuitive and works fine without recourse to the manual. Good work!'

2. Bika Interlab meets the South African Wine Laboratory Association

For those who haven't yet had the pleasure, Bika Interlab is a web-based inter-laboratory comparison LIMS built for round robin proficiency testing. It is now in production at the esteemed South African Wine Laboratory Association in what must be a world first. December 2006 Wineland magazine describes the SAWLA web based automation as 'ambitious' and 'unique'. The system shortens turn around time dramatically and delivers comparative stats and graphs on-line and per e-mail immediately after a testing round closes. >>read more >>web site

Altus Schreuder, SAWLA chairman comments:

'Your expertise and attitude continue to impress. I'm really happy to be on board with Bika'

Bika Interlab project page

3. A Bika portal for the South African Society for Enology & Viticulure

Bika was asked to fit this fine institution, with 850 international members, a system that allows administrative personnel and board members to collaborate on-line before publishing content. Check out the link for a perfect example of a web content management portal in motion. >>read more >>web site

4. Bika Mark 2: Have your say

Bika LIMS 2, the much awaited next version of our chemistry LIMS, is nearing completion for Quantum Analytical Services. Bika 2 features superior functionality, analysis and worksheet templates, product specifications, quality control graphs and a true working time calendar for calculating late analysis alerts and turn-around reporting. To name just a few of its many benefits.

In the course of our design, we realised that to address the needs of our clients, we have to get more feedback from the horse's mouth. Particularly concerning the design of quality control and worksheet templates. We uploaded summarised designs of workable solutions to the LIMS 2 project page and we'd love your input, particularly if you are a lab specialist. >>Bika LIMS 2 project page

How would you like a LIMS to ideally handle QC and Worksheets?

Have your say and comment on the proposals below.

Worksheet Template Engine proposal

Quality Control proposal Standards, their Specifications and Suppliers, Duplicates, Blanks and Calibrations. Analysis Request and Worksheet flow. Reports and graphs, Trends, Distribution and % Error

5. After sales satisfaction!

Pre-populated Help Centres are now part of Bika implementations – that means all help and training resources are nicely bundled into the LIMS.

On-line manuals and training videos remain available for revision and ongoing training. In addition to LIMS related analysis procedures and safety manual benefits, this infrastructure gives laboratories the power to create their own knowledge bases and publish relevant information to their clients and staff.

Our own Help Centre at features several new items:

Interlab Videos: Our videos come in a compressed digitised format and can be viewed on-line. These movies demonstrate how to use the system and explain each step and action. The video is interactive and you can pause/play/rewind at will, making it really handy for training.

Bika 1.2 Laboratory Manual: The new manual is up and loaded

Bika Installation Guides: These currently cover Ubuntu Linux and Windows. Lab users and clients need browsers only. We invite all to send us feedback on experiences with any alternative platforms. Any Mac OS installations out there?

Many new Glossary Items: Through our research of the laboratory industry, every term, acronym or definition encountered is published in Bika's glossary. We find that the glossary terms crop up frequently in our web statistics, it is being put to good use.

6. Bika representation in Gauteng

Strengthening our technical capacity, Bika is pleased to welcome two new partners to our fold – iKubu and IOSYS.

iKubu is a software engineering firm dedicated to creating sustainable software solutions. They have a beautifully simple and informative site. iKubu offers consulting and engineering services in quality web technologies. They are based in Tshwane and join us as a development and implementation partner in greater Gauteng. >>web site >>partner page

With more than a decade experience in the field of scientific instrumentation systems development, Bika are well pleased to welcome IOSYS as our Cape Town lab automation partner >>partner page

7. Partnership opportunities

Bika operates on a principle of offering the best support possible, we would therefore like to extend an invitation to qualified service providers nationally and internationally to become part of our network. The invitation extends to suppliers who would like to see their lab instruments and LIMS related applications interfaced with Bika. For more info contact us

8. New resources

It's always a good sign when a company needs to add to its ranks, and Bika is proud to welcome Jacob and Jolinda on board:

Jacob Tekane - Health Laboratory Consultant
Btech and ND Medical Technology (Microbiology/Clinical Pathology)
Jacob has 19 years health laboratory experience, starting at Ga-Rankuwa hospital as medial technologist. He worked at SAIMR - now the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) - and at Cape Town 2 SA Military Laboratory as a control medical technologist where he currently manages the Microbiology Lab.

Jolinda Vreugde - Legal Advisor
B Legum LLM International Trade Law
Jolinda specialises in commercial law and high court litigation and is a professional assistant for Lamprecht and Associated Inc, Cape Town. Previous experience includes six years of civil litigation and criminal law.


Well, we hope that we lived up to the promise of our intro and that you will get the value we see in our products from our new releases. We are all very excited about the new partnerships and client relationships Bika has struck up over the past six months. We're really feeling the buzz of good things to come regarding the benefits that Bika has to offer our clients in terms of speed, efficiency, accountability and best of all that precious commodity that no one seems to have enough of – time.

We're looking forward to those comments on the QC and Worksheet Design template – who knows, this could be your chance to be an influence on programming history. We'd like to emphasise the fact that our products are Open Source. And with that and our client comments, we leave you with some cud to chew as to the benefits of Open Source technology, which we will be covering in depth in our next issue. Until then,

From all at the Bika team,
go well and prosper - tell it as it is

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