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3 Best Practices for Choosing and Implementing EHS Software

Enviance EHS Software

The selection and implementation of a new EHS software solution can be a daunting task – it is a significant risk of money and time, and there is no 100% guarantee that it will be successful. For a sometimes underfunded function such as EHS, the pressure to get it right the first time is even higher.

 

Fortunately, the category of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has emerged to provide EHS and other
resource strapped functions with an affordable alternative to enterprise solutions such as Oracle or SAP. Whereas enterprise software companies build software for each specific company – a rather expensive endeavor – SaaS vendors offer solutions that are configured (not completely rebuilt) to meet the unique needs of each customer.

 

There are plenty of strong SaaS solutions in the EHS market. However, with SaaS, it’s not simply an issue of finding the right software. Many factors, beyond the technology itself, influence the success of that software in its new environment – your EHS organization. So what can you do to increase the likelihood that your newly selected technology will have the intended impact? Here are three best practices for an EHS manager during the SaaS selection and implementation processes: 

1. Find the right EHS vendor.

The key to finding the SaaS vendor that is right for you is remembering that you aren’t just choosing a software solution, you’re choosing a whole team of new employees! No SaaS solution is perfect right out of the box, so you want to make sure that those individuals responsible for configuring the software to match your organization’s processes will communicate and collaborate well with you and your team. It’s important to get beyond the sales representative, and to ask to meet the people that would be working with you on the project.

Think about it like you would think about making a new hire.

 

Finding the right vendor is certainly about finding the right match of expertise and culture – but there are other important clues that will help you identify the company that will serve you better than others. First, you want the vendor to demonstrate the flexibility and configurability of their software. In order for the solution to meet your demands, your vendor must be willing (and even excited!) to take the time to learn your processes in-depth and deliver a unique solution to match. Second, just as a prospective employee’s resume provides insight into how effective they’ll be at their job, customer retention rate can be a great indicator of how impactful the vendor is beyond the sales process and at the stage of enabling customer success – the stage that matters most.

 

2. Request business outcomes, not functionality.

 

When thinking about software, it feels natural to start thinking in terms of functionality – the button that enables you to send an automated corrective action notification to a stakeholder, the page to see your to-dos and sort them by deadline – and this is often how EHS teams approach their first conversation with their SaaS vendor. However, the better practice is to share and communicate your business objectives, and ask the vendor to tell you how their technology can enable you to meet those objectives.

 

By keeping away from focusing on functionality, you will force yourself to clarify your goals, and define metrics that will enable you to assess the success of the project further down the line. Additionally, by focusing your discussion on business objectives, you allow the vendor – whose expertise is innovating, configuring and leveraging their software to solve EHS challenges – to propose the solution that will best achieve your goals.

So instead of saying “I want to be able to assign a task to a supervisor, and see a list of people that haven’t completed their tasks,” say, “Our goal is to increase accountability and task completion across the entire organization.”

 

3. Plan to manage through the change.

 

As with any project, it’s crucial to be realistic about the resources required to achieve success. No professional software is a flip-the-switch panacea that will immediately solve your challenges on day one. The implementation of new software will create growing pains in your EHS organization – and you have to be prepared for that initial sink of resources. While the cost of the software itself is an obvious resource to consider, when drawing up your project plan and budget, it’s also important to account for the time needed to train all users, as well as the impact that the learning curve will have on the efficiency of your team.

 

If you don’t have experience implementing technology projects, ask a straightforward question of your vendor: “What should I do and when, and what should you do and when to make this a successful project in the long-term?” Given their experience with executing implementation projects across numerous organizations, they should be able to provide you with the guidance that you will need to get through the time of change.

 

Just like a great boss, our most successful customers have simply demanded the best from us. They made it clear to us what they wanted to accomplish, allowed us to learn from them and their processes, and came to us to ask for more when they needed it. So, as you take steps towards new SaaS in your organization, don’t hesitate to be clear and direct about what you need, to ask for more, and to expect your vendor to become your partner in driving your EHS team towards continued success.

 

If you'd like to learn more about Enviance's multi-tenant SaaS solutions, request a free demo now!

 

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