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Key Takeaways from the NAEM EHS & Sustainability Software Buyers Guide

April 5th, 2017 by Robert Kimball Industry News

Key Takeaways from the NAEM EHS & Sustainability Software Buyers Guide

Two years ago, the National Association of Environmental Managers (NAEM) published their first EHS & Sustainability Software Buyers Guide. In it, they identified compliance-related activities as the most desired capability by those in the market for an EHS software solution. Their follow-up report, released last month, finds that this fact remains true, but it also shows that much has changed over the past two years. The following are key takeaways from the report’s findings:

Compliance is still king, improved visibility close behind -
More than 77% of buyers listed Incident Reporting and Tracking, Environmental Auditing/Inspections, Corrective Action Tracking, and Incident Investigations as their top desired capabilities. These were followed closely by Compliance Calendars, Safety Auditing, and Audit Finding Documentation. This shows that compliance-related activity management is driving the move to software platforms and suggests improving performance around compliance is a critical business metric.

The EHS Department is leading the way, with some help -
In the past, EHS departments have leaned on IT or other internal departments when implementing a system. The new 2017 report reveals that EHS professionals have taken the lead on selecting systems and are more aware and invested in the success of implementations. For first-time buyers, they tended to rely more on consultants, choosing to enlist the help of a third party when selecting a system at a rate of 50% vs. 25% for past purchasers. They also sought outside help to justify the cost of systems and help make the business case.

Requirements differ between First-time and Returning Buyers -
Cost, user friendliness, and the ability to customize are the top 3 factors for all respondents. First-time buyers are more comfortable with subscription plans and tend to focus more on performance tracking while returning buyers value multi-language capabilities and want deeper product features. The report suggests a correlation between demographics: first-timers are more comfortable with recurring fees as long as the user interface is appealing and the product is configurable to their organizational structure and needs.

Buyers are becoming savvier, more realistic -
Of all respondents, only 12% of past purchasers fully achieved their objectives. This has led past purchasers to reevaluate their objectives and be more realistic about budgets and timelines. Additionally, returning buyers plan to devote more resources to implementation and training. While many objectives of first-time buyers and returning buyers are similar (compliance and performance improvements being at the top), returning buyers cite internal and external reporting as a key driver whereas 44% of first-time buyers are looking for software to help build a management system.

Beyond these insights, the NAEM's 2017 EHS & Sustainability Software Buyers Guide provides quantifiable information on EHS software trends, data management options, and the overall software selection process. It benchmarks how those in the market approach a purchase and how past purchasers came to their decision.

As a sponsor of the report, our goal is to make this information available to EHS professionals to aid in the decision-making process, and we're pleased to provide this complimentary copy.

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Robert Kimball

Robert Kimball

Director of Marketing

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