Risks and Rewards of EHS Software

Risks and Rewards: What to Expect When You Buy an EHS Software Solution

By Jason Van Dyke

You’ve been looking at websites and maybe even sitting through demos. The time seems right to buy an EHS software solution. But what’s it really going to be like to roll out such a big change across your company? We’ve helped many organizations through this process, and there are some risks and rewards you’ll need to navigate to find success.

Risk: Not getting enough buy-in.

Adopting EHS software is a big change, and it isn’t going to be easy. To be successful, you’ll need a champion in your company responsible for training and adoption. This individual needs to see the value of the software and cheerlead for it at all levels. They’ll also need support and buy-in from management. Without this key person, it’ll be much more difficult to get the system off the ground.

A champion’s day-to-day job? Working through all those initial problems. Helping Susan when she can’t figure out how to login. Showing Bill how to set up a recurring inspection task with reminders. It’s about managing frustrations and acknowledging that the switch isn’t going to be easy in the short term.

Reward: Seamless knowledge sharing.

Once you clear the training and adoption hurdles, you’ll have one seamless place for knowledge sharing. You’re not going to miss filing a permit because Bob is on vacation when the reminder pops up on his Outlook calendar. Or lose all the knowledge about your training program when the coordinator retires.

Your entire EHS management plan—along with roles, responsibilities and reminders—now lives in one centralized location that’s easy for the whole team to access. Plus, you’ll have all your data and reports in one uniform format instead of an email from one person, a Word document from another, and an Excel spreadsheet from a third.

Risk: The software doesn’t match existing processes.

No matter which software solution you choose, it’s inevitable that not everything will match up 100% with your current process. Forms and checklists might look different than the paper versions you’re using. Or your team might find it more difficult to search and find reports at first if it’s organized differently than the 20-year-old file cabinet in the corner. It can take some time and encouragement for your team to be open to change and move away from how they’ve always done things.

Reward: Controlled access and better overall security.

How many people have the key to that file cabinet? Is it even locked? How about access to that spreadsheet? EHS software makes it easier to control who gets access to what with permission-based controls. You can give team members access to just the information they need to complete reports or give your colleague at another facility full access. There’s also increased peace of mind when your company data is on a secure server rather than spread across 10 different filing cabinets, closets and desk drawers across the company.

Risk: Not sticking with it long enough for the software to take.

There are companies who wouldn’t know what to do if someone shut off their EHS compliance solution tomorrow. And others who thought it would be magic and didn’t stick with it long enough to get value from the system. There’s a ramp up period where you’ll need to input your plan and data. And a longer phase where you’ll need to get the staff on board. If you don’t fully commit to making the change, you’ll never do it. Set a date and let the team know this is the way you’ll work going forward.

Reward: New options for managing compliance.

This may be a good time to reevaluate how you’re organized. An integrated software solution makes it easy to choose a centralized or decentralized management system. If you have 8 or 10 different plans—either for different facilities or areas like air and wastewater—you can push control down to different managers for each plan. Or flip a switch and bring that responsibility back up to the corporate level to flatten your management structure. The latter might even allow you show significant ROI from your EHS software.

Are you ready to make the leap? We’d love to set up a free demo of SolutionsTRAK to show you a simple, affordable way to manage EHS compliance.