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Dakota Software's Blog for EHS and Sustainability Professionals

5 Reasons you should use EHS Software

August 2nd, 2016 by Robert Kimball Industry News

5 Reasons you should use EHS Software

Earlier this year, I attended the NAEM’s EHS & Sustainability Data Management Conference. If you’re not familiar, this event connects those in the market for EHS&S software with the top vendors and includes user-driven presentations of the various software solutions. For EHS&S software companies like Dakota Software, this event is a great opportunity to meet with prospective clients. To be completely candid though, it is also a great opportunity to see what our competitors are up to.

As such, I was surprised when, during a competitor-sponsored session, the speaker opened with the statement “You don’t need software,” citing instead the importance of well-defined processes, company culture, communications, and training. While these topics are certainly important, the declaration that you don't need software, coming from an EHS software provider, obviously got the attention of the room. Was it altruistic? Possibly. Disingenuous? Probably. Accurate? Well… technically.

Technically, your car doesn’t need anti-lock brakes. Technically, your house doesn’t need a programmable thermostat. Technically, you don’t need a Facebook account to stay in touch with friends and family.

Much like these examples from our personal lives, organizations use technology to mitigate risk, increase efficiency, and foster collaboration. From ERP to SCM, from CRM to SRM, commercial software products are now an integral part of our business processes. To suggest that the high-risk world of Environmental, Health, and Safety not leverage technology is like asking a Millennial to call a cab (First, they’ll ask “Don’t you mean an Uber?” Then they’ll ask “Are cabs still a thing?”).

If you have an EHS department it’s likely your organization has risk factors that justify an investment in EHS software. So, while you technically don’t need software, here are five reasons you should have software:

  • Software can improve compliance assurance – Regulatory compliance is the primary indicator of EHS performance and staying up-to-date with regulatory changes is essential for planning and verification. Software tools can help save time on regulatory tracking, provide guidance to decision makers, and identify gaps in compliance programs.
  • Software can improve accountability and visibility – An up-to-date compliance plan creates a good foundation, but management needs to ensure that corrective and preventative actions are being completed on time. Software tools can prompt action in the field and provide management with visibility into overall compliance status and other EHS-related KPIs.
  • Software can improve collaboration and communication – From Incident Management to Management of Change, an EHS database can improve visibility at the site level and help share information across the entire organization. As Baby Boomers enter retirement, a central repository for ‘institutional EHS knowledge’ is more important than ever.
  • Software can help prioritize risk and allocate resources – EHS departments are constantly asked to do more with less. A thorough understanding of compliance obligations and operational risk factors is essential for making the most of strained resources. Once identified, proactively addressing risks can reduce violations, fines, and the likelihood of incidents and accidents.
  • Software standardizes data collection for simplified analysis and reporting – EHS reporting is time consuming. Anyone who has used spreadsheets to collect and analyze data knows the pains of cobbling together reports, especially if facilities are in multiple locations and countries. Software can normalize data for ‘apples to apples’ comparisons and streamline reporting of everything from local permits to corporate sustainability reports.

Many organizations have come to the realization that EHS software is a necessity. If you’ve recently had this epiphany, or if you’re just curious about what goes into an EHS software implementation, the NAEM has just released ‘Strategies for a Successful EHS&S Software Selection.’ This report defines the business drivers, provides tips on the selection processes, and shares insights from EHS business leaders on their experiences. As a sponsor of the report, Dakota Software is pleased to provide this complimentary copy.

Get the Report

Robert Kimball

Robert Kimball

Director of Marketing and Product Strategy

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