EHS Management Software Making the right choice for your business

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1 EHS Management Software Making the right choice for your business Practical steps for choosing the right software solution to manage your EHS performance & compliance

2 2 Practical steps for choosing the right EHS Management Software Introduction with Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) regulations is one of the biggest challenges faced by businesses today. with constantly evolving standards and regulations that convert quickly into obligations, it is difficult and time consuming to keep track of all the data that is required to ensure you are meeting your EHS obligations. In addition to an evolving regulatory environment, there is increased personal accountability for putting workers health and safety at risk. directors can be made personally responsible for non-compliance with health and safety regulations and can even face imprisonment. This is why environmental, health and safety issues are now receiving increased attention at senior management level in most organisations and are increasingly viewed as an important part of a broader governance, risk and compliance programme. As markets are becoming more crowded and competitive, being able to demonstrate a good track record in managing EHS risks can have a positive effect on a company s reputation and as such can positively influence the decisions customers make, giving you a competitive advantage. THE BEnEFITS of IMPlEMEnTInG An InTEGrATEd MAnAGEMEnT SoFTwArE SoluTIon Managing EHS risks involves recording and interrogating large volumes of data in granular detail, which can be overwhelming for the busy EHS professional. Increasingly EHS professionals are also expected to build productivity and efficiency into everyday operations, which escalates their challenges even further. dealing with EHS issues often means communicating with hundreds or even thousands of stakeholders, allocating tasks according to country-specific legal obligations and monitoring and reporting on performance corporately as well as separately for each division. In many cases EHS management is still being undertaken by different stakeholders throughout the organisation, such as EHS professionals, committees and non-specialist operatives. They manage hazards, incidents, corrective action and improvements and report and document these activities often through a number of complicated and disconnected spreadsheets and documents. one of the main goals of an EHS software system is to consolidate large amounts of data from various sources across multiple business units into one central location, which makes it easier to track activities, communicate information across the organisation and report on data. Having all relevant data available also makes it easier to identify trends, patterns and root causes and put remedial action in place, along with measures to implement standard procedures and improve compliance. An integrated software solution allows organisations to break down and map complex objectives and targets into clearly defined processes and simple steps, which are easier to implement and manage at an individual level. when individual efforts are combined they allow organisations to turn reactive fire-fighting into proactive planning to achieve improved performance. where processes are already in place whether they are handled manually or as part of a standalone software solution an integrated EHS software system can help bringing together these different components and ensuring good communication. IdEnTIFyInG THE right SoFTwArE For your organisation There is an overwhelming choice of EHS software solutions available, varying greatly in terms of functionality and cost. From off the shelf packages providing point solutions to a specific business issue, to broader more flexible offerings that can be built out to provide a holistic approach to managing governance, risk and compliance, each business must

3 Practical steps for choosing the right EHS Management Software 3 assess its own immediate and future requirements and select accordingly. For instance, smaller organisations might find that single user systems which can be installed on a PC suit their purpose, whereas larger organisations usually benefit from enterprise systems which allow multiple users to access a single system. Enterprise systems enable organisations to delegate responsibility while retaining central management control. Enterprise software can be either installed on PCs within an organisation or can be operated over the Internet as web-based systems. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, so again you will need to assess your own requirements and technical capabilities in order to determine the best choice for you. However, there is an increased acceptance of web-based systems, firstly because businesses have become more and more familiar with software providers such as Salesforce.com and Google Analytics but also because of the technical, operational and financial benefits they offer, some of which are listed below. Figure 1: Some of the key advantages of web-based software systems Advantages of web-based software systems All users are working with the same always up-to-date information, which ensures consistency of approach and sharing of best practice. Data is stored in a central location and is accessible for all authorised personnel over the Internet from any computer at any time. This allows for real-time reporting. A web-based system eliminates the need for clients to download software updates, as the software is generally updated automatically. Reduction of cost of total ownership, as there is no need for purchase and maintenance of physical servers, the licensing of the operating system and chosen database platform, the installation of the application on each PC to allow access to the system or reinstallation of later updates of the application. Choosing a hosted solution can often mean a significant increase in application performance while reducing load on internal network systems. Data is being handled with equal priority, instead of dedicating the majority of bandwidth to certain applications (e.g. VoIP, Financial and Operational transactions). Web-based applications can reduce the risk of client security permissions and are compatible across different platforms, as they can be accessed using any web browser. Web browsers are available for a multitude of operating systems. Deploying a web-based system across the organisation can be done fairly easy and at low cost, as web-based systems tend to be highly manageable and compatible across platforms. When using web-based software, the supplier acts as the host and provides you with high levels of security, back-up, resilience and service. Your data is stored on secure, always-updated, backed-up enterprise-class servers. The vendor can also provide expert advice and technical support. The software provider will manage scalability and performance of your application on a day to day basis, which can be useful if your organisation is continuously growing and your system matures.

4 4 Practical steps for choosing the right EHS Management Software Finding the right software supplier and solution for you Finding the right supplier and software solution for your business will depend amongst other things on the size of your company, your own level of experience, the budget available and the time available to find the right solution. You will no doubt be influenced by any number of factors, including glossy brochures, online demos, sales people, company response times and colleagues. So how do you make sense of all this information to make the right choice for you? When it comes to selecting the right EHS software however it is vital to make the right choice for your organisation, as this needs to be a long-term investment not a quick fix. Your chosen solution should act as the backbone of your operations, so it is essential that it is easy for your stakeholders to use, can fit with your workflows and contains the functionality to meet your objectives. When selecting a supplier you should look to choose a partner rather than a vendor, with the expertise and understanding of your industry to ensure the system is properly implemented and supported on an ongoing basis. Typically, the selection and implementation of an EHS software solution involves the following steps: Identifying your business goals and objectives The first step in the process of selecting a suitable supplier and solution should be the identification of your business needs. Set goals and objectives that should be achieved by implementing the new system. Involving key people from all levels in your organisation can be vital in capturing all relevant requirements. From the outset, identify who the main stakeholders are within your organisation and involve them throughout the decision making process. This will ensure not only that you have their buy-in but also that the solution in which you are investing delivers on business requirements and is aligned with internal structure, resource, budget and capacity. While goals can be broad or general in nature, objectives should be clear and concise. Goals should give you a direction and future targets to work towards. Objectives however need to be SMART - Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time Constrained - to accomplish the goals set for your business. Once you have a clear vision of your overall objectives, you should identify the business processes and information required to achieve them. Establishing the requirements to achieve your goals After indentifying your business needs, have a look at the functional requirements of your application, i.e. what the software needs to be able to do in order to meet your goals and objectives. Non-functional requirements describe things that are important to you but do not relate directly to the business functions that the software system must perform. Examples can include deployment across the organisation, disaster recovery, dependency on other parties, system performance, configuration management, accessibility and documentation. Prioritise your list of requirements, both functional and non-functional. You might even want to use a scorecard and weight your requirements according to: mandatory - without this feature the package is not usable advantageous - the feature would save a lot of time nice to have - useful, but not essential At the same time avoid the trap of creating a long wish list of required features. Instead focus on what is really important to achieve your objectives. You should consult with the staff that will be using the application, as they may be able to provide useful input

5 Practical steps for choosing the right EHS Management Software 5 regarding the functionality of the application. Their involvement may help to make the implementation run more smoothly. You could even use their input to produce a request for proposal, which you can send to suppliers to get likefor-like quotations in order to compare the different offers. Figure 2: An example of some typical business and technical requirements in organisations Business Requirements Immediate reporting of incidents Recording and management of incidents Data collection and analysis for EHS statistics Reporting of EHS statistics Documentation of reviews and inspections Risk Management Training Management Environmental Management Document library priority weighting Nice to have technical Requirements Flexibility in system configuration Scalability of system Cross platform compatibility and easy integration Easy usability and positive user experience Easy data migration User training infrastructure System maintenance User interface with text, graphics and images Annual updates and releases priority weighting Nice to have Evaluating your options When comparing different software solutions it is important to focus on the requirements you have established for your organisation. This would mean rejecting all packages that cannot meet your must have requirements and from the remainder selecting the ones that deliver the greatest number of your advantageous and nice to have features at a price you can afford. During the evaluation process it might be worth taking into consideration that internal processes, local and international legislation and international standards are subject to change and often require changes to your EHS management

6 6 Practical steps for choosing the right EHS Management Software system. This is why your chosen software solution should be flexible enough to cater for any changes or additions to your requirements after the initial implementation. Ensure that your chosen solution is also flexible in the way that data is entered, processed and analysed. Organisations often find that they have to adapt their business processes to meet the needs of the software requiring changes to procedures and large staff retraining programmes. An important aspect that also needs to be taken into consideration is security. Your solution needs to be protected by industry class firewalls and intrusion detection systems, and you also need the ability to ensure that authorised users of the system only have access to data that is relevant to their roles within your organisation. Consider your need for record or even field level security. Mature systems will maintain a full audit log that details user access and activity. In addition, large projects will often require resources in multiple geographical locations. If this is the case for your business, partnering with a supplier who has a global presence and a broad range of complimentary services and solutions should be a priority for you. Your supplier of choice should have local resources and expertise to provide you with the support you need locally whilst having the scale to manage multi-territory implementations. To generate real value with the implementation of a software package, you need to find a partner who is willing to explore and understand your processes and who can demonstrate a software configuration that fits your business. Only by meeting with suppliers and working with them can you establish whether they and their solution are capable of providing added value to your organisation. At this stage of the procurement process it can be beneficial to carry out a cost benefit analysis in order to see whether the benefits of your preferred solution outweigh the costs and by how much. The money spent on a EHS software system can often be justified by the savings that can be generated by implementing more effective and efficient business processes. Selecting a supplier and product that suits you Everybody is looking for good value when selecting a supplier, but you should not make cost the primary issue. Choose the best partner and business fit first and then negotiate a price that everyone is happy with. What may be the cheapest solution in the first year could end up becoming a more expensive option over a few years if it does not achieve what it was set out to do or is incapable of growing with your requirements Before starting to work with a new partner it is be advisable to perform due diligence. Carrying out financial checks, establishing what the supplier s client base is like, contacting their references, inquiring about backup arrangements and disaster recovery plans and obtaining escrow agreements can help to assess the credibility and reliability of a supplier. Implementing your system No matter how great the software is that you eventually choose, without a well-planned implementation producing the correct configuration and training, you will not be able to achieve the goals and objectives you initially set out. First of all decide how much time you and your colleagues can spend on managing the implementation and training. This will give you a good idea of how much assistance you will need from your partner. This should be discussed and agreed as part of the initial negotiations so that your expectations are clear from the very start. Make sure the supplier has the capacity to provide the service required and that they have experience of providing it. Cutting corners here can prove very expensive later. The decision on the roll-out-strategy of the software should also be part of the initial negotiations with the supplier. Determine whether you want to install the software company-wide in one step or whether you would prefer running a

7 Practical steps for choosing the right EHS Management Software 7 small pilot at a number of selected sites to make sure everything is working smoothly and to eliminate any problems before rolling out the software across the entire company. Consider your requirements for the migration of legacy data and/or integration with existing or future systems. It might be a tedious task to import your legacy data from the last 5-10 years into the integrated EHS software solution, but it will allow you to look at trends through analysing the data and thereby preventing potential non-compliance or accidents. Figure 3: 6-phased approach for choosing a suitable software solution Phases Identify your business goals and objectives Establish the requirements to achieve your goals Choose a suitable software type Evaluate the available suppliers and software solutions Details Define goals and objectives that you want to achieve by installing a EHS software solution. Goals can be broad in nature, but objectives should be SMART Specific, Measureable, Actionable, Realistic and Time Constrained. Identify what you need to do in order to meet your goals and objectives. Prioritise functional and non-functional requirements, e.g. in form of a scorecard. Choose between a single user system, which is suitable for smaller organisations, and an enterprise system with multiple users for larger organisations. Decide whether you want your software to be installed on PCs or whether you want it to be web-based. Choose suppliers that can deliver your mandatory and ideally some of your advantageous and nice to have requirements. A cost benefit analysis can help to assess whether the benefits of a system can outweigh its cost. 5 6 Select a suitable supplier and solution Implement your software system Before selecting and agreeing to work with a supplier it is advisable to perform some due diligence. Make sure your new partner has a solid reputation and a solid customer base. Determine with your supplier how the software should be rolled out. It might be worth considering running a small pilot to make sure everything is running smoothly before installing the system company-wide. Ongoing business analysis As mentioned earlier on, your software supplier should not just be a vendor but should become your partner. The relationship should not end once the solution is installed, instead you should focus on building a lasting relationship with your supplier. Discuss and agree during the initial negotiations what post-implementation support you will require and how you expect the ongoing developments to be managed. After installing the system, some time should be invested in reviewing how successful the project has been in achieving the objectives that have been set out at the beginning. This should not be a one-off activity, but an ongoing process to make sure the system is delivering exactly what has been designed to deliver. It might be helpful to involve the supplier at this stage, as they might be able to provide suggestions and help in meeting your objectives.

8 8 Practical steps for choosing the right EHS Management Software Key Considerations The following list is designed to give you guidance on what aspects you might want to consider before approaching a potential supplier. What risk areas would the system need to cover? (e.g. incident management, action management, industrial hygiene, hazardous substance management, permit/obligation management, environmental management) Does the system collect and analyse data for EHS statistics? Does the system provide documentation of reviews and inspections? Do you require a hosted or an installed system and what are the IT requirements? What is the scale of your implementation? (dedicated sites or global roll-out) Does the system need to be set up in multiple languages? What other platforms/systems does the software need to be compatible with? Does the supplier offer any user training? What product and technical support does your supplier offer? What other service offerings are provided by the vendor that might be of interest in the long-term? Assess the quality of the supplier s application and services. (e.g. customer references, development and testing methodologies) Do you have sufficient internal resources for implementing the system or do you need extra support from the vendor? What is the supplier implementation methodology? How customisable/configurable does the system need to be? Check with your supplier how easy the data migration is. How important is ease of usability and positive user experience for your organisation? Discuss information security issues with your supplier. (e.g. penetration testing, physical access, confidentiality, availability, integrity, service levels) Does the supplier have a product road map, which indicates how the software will be developed over time? Check with your supplier how often they provide software updates and new releases. Conclusion An integrated EHS software solution improves efficiency, control and oversight by providing visibility of processes and information, which would not be possible with paper-based systems or spreadsheets. Organisations that realise the importance of integration can maximise their return on investment in many ways. Merging all parts of your business into one integrated solution and thereby consolidating all data in one centralised database will allow you to start running analytic trending to identify root causes for accidents and non-compliance and establish standard procedures, which will allow you to improve your overall business performance. By choosing your software partner and product carefully and by conscientiously implementing the system throughout your organisation, you can achieve a positive impact on the performance of your business.

9 USA 101 Morgan Lane Suite 301 Plainsboro NJ T: 1 (877) 470-SAIG [7244] F: Europe 42 The Square Kenilworth Warwickshire, CV8 1EB, UK T: 44 (0) F: 44 (0) Australia 286 Sussex Street Sydney NSW 2000 T: F: Sawyer Road Suite 510 Waltham, MA T: F: Normamby Road Southbank VIC 3006 T: F: Richmond Avenue Suite 290 Houston, TX T: F: Building B, Garden Office Park 355 Scarborough Beach Road Osborne Park WA 6017 T: F: About The EHS Platform supports solutions for environmental management, health & safety management, process safety management, risk management and compliance management. With a global client base, our software is robust, scalable and extremely flexible. Configurable in multiple languages, it interfaces with other business software, facilitating reporting across business silos to give visibility across business operations. Request a demonstration and find out how you can turn information into actionable knowledge. For more information, please call us at the full service location nearest you or visit: Ltd. The name and logo are trademarks of Ltd. All Rights Reserved. BCLWP1111a

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