You’re ready to invest in EH&S software. But what’s most important to ask during upcoming software demos to make a smart decision?
By Dylan DeZeeuw
You’ve decided it’s time to buy EH&S software, narrowed your list and set up a demo or two. But how can you make the most of those calls and presentations? It’s a key point in your decision process, and EHS software vendors will come armed with personalized PowerPoints, fancy software demos, and even high ranking executives.
We want to help you be prepared, too, so you can choose the best compliance management software for your company. As they say, knowledge is power, so we’ve put together four key questions to help you choose the best EHS solution.
- What’s the background of your leadership team? Do any of them have hands-on EHS experience?
There are now dozens of EHS software players, and it seems like new vendors pop up on a regular basis. So it’s smart to ask about the company’s history and the background of its leadership team. You want to choose a company that understands how to build great software and what it’s like to be an EHS manager on a daily basis.
Building a great solution requires a deep understanding of your challenges, whether it’s executing and logging inspections or managing remote facilities. At PlanTRAK, you’ll deal with experienced environmental health and safety consultants from your demo through implementation and day-to-day questions. They can make suggestions about not only setting up the software but strengthening and managing your EHS management plan.
- Can I try out your software before I make a decision?
Ask for a trial period—often two weeks to 30 days—to test out the software for yourself. Share it with your team and solicit input from stakeholders at every level of your organization. Ask for specific feedback: Is the software intuitive? Does it have the key functionalities you need? What’s it like to use on a phone vs. a computer vs. a tablet? Do you have any concerns?
Take the time to execute the most common tasks you expect to complete with the software. Try inputting some real data. Setting up task reminders. Logging a completed inspection. Or creating a report of your activities. Write down any questions that come up and bring them all back to your sales rep.
- What’s the exact price for my needs?
Unfortunately, there’s no standard pricing model for EHS management software. Some vendors charge by number of users. Others have fee tiers by the total number of your company’s employees—regardless of who becomes a hands-on user of the software. Either way, you’ll need to come prepared with both numbers for a meaningful price estimate.
You’ll also want to ask about the price per module. Many tools charge by which sets of features you want to use. There might be an additional price, for instance, to add that nice-to-have safety or training module. Others may have a fee based on how many reports you want to generate or KPIs you want to track.
Finally, be sure to find out the implementation fee. It can range from $1,500 to $15,000 or more. You’ll want to know what that number is and exactly what it includes. How much of the process will you shoulder? And how much support is available? What experience level will the person assigned to you have? And how long do you have access to him or her?
- Can I talk with one of your current customers?
Demos, online reviews, testimonials and case studies are fine, but there’s no substitute for a 15-minute conversation with a real customer.
Ask the person giving your demo for a reference—a name, email and phone number of a current customer. Preferably someone with similar company size and/or industry as you. Then follow through and set up the call. Suggested questions:
- What was the software set-up process like?
- How long did it take?
- How much support did the vendor provide?
- Now that the software is up and running, how has it made your work life better?
- What hasn’t gone as well as you’d like?
- Was it easy to learn and use?
- Did you need to invest in staff training?
- Would you buy this same product again?
We’re sure you have some questions of your own already prepared, but we hope these four help round out your list as you prepare for demos. If you’d like to try out one more solution—one of the biggest values in EHS software—we’d love to set up a demo of PlanTRAK.