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5 Mistakes that make your EHS software selection a failure


Are you in the process of evaluating EHS software vendors? A software selection process can be time-consuming and challenging.

But you can make things easier if you avoid the following common mistakes.


1) You don’t identify your requirements well


The most important step of an EHS software selection process is to identify your requirements. This is obvious but there are a few pitfalls to avoid.

First, don’t focus exclusively on individual features. We all like software with convenient bells and whistles. But don’t make the mistake of creating a ‘wish list’ of all features you want and thinking that’s enough.

Identify also the EHS processes you want to automate or improve with software. Examples include incident management, incident investigation, audits and inspections, job safety analysis, industrial hygiene, etc.

Also, consider related processes. You want EHS software for incident management? Think also about how the software will help with risk management processes, because information on incidents provides insights into hazards and risks, and therefore the controls you need. You should address all aspects, so you don’t end up with a partial solution.

Second, just like any other organization, you have unique needs. Software vendors may not meet 100% of your needs. Be sure to categorize your requirements as ‘must-haves’, ‘should-haves’, or ‘nice-to-haves’ so you focus on the most important elements.


2) You don’t have clear commitment from leadership


Here’s a scenario: Management agrees to allocate budget for a new EHS software system. EHS defines the requirements, evaluates vendors, goes through demos, shortlists solutions, and makes a final choice.

In summary, EHS does everything right. And now it’s time to work on a final software purchase agreement and sign the contract.

Unfortunately, management says they’ll have to postpone the purchase for an undetermined time because the company had a bad financial year, or experienced some problem, or there’s a new CFO who wants to review all expenses.

It’s very frustrating for EHS teams to go through something like this. Imagine all the time and work that has been wasted.

To avoid this type of frustration, make sure the leadership of your company, including the C-suite, are strongly committed to the project, through thick and thin.


3) You don’t look at the big picture


An EHS software selection takes time and effort. You want to get the most out of it, rather than going through a similar process repeatedly over the years.

A typical mistake is when an organization lacks vision and fails to be pro-active by concentrating only on a current, immediate pain point. Maybe today you have a pressing need for incident management. But what about audits, inspections, action plans, compliance management, etc.? They’re all connected.

Similarly, you may be looking only for an occupational health solution. But there are many synergies between occupational health, risk management, incident management, and chemical management. Look at the big picture!

It’s more efficient and economical to consider a software platform that will empower you to improve all current and future EHS processes, not just one or two. You don’t want multiple, different EHS software solutions, each with a different user interface, thus increasing training costs and complicating user adoption and onboarding.


4) You don’t involve users


The decision to purchase EHS software is made by EHS and financial leaders. But the successful implementation and adoption of EHS software will be determined by users, whether they’re frontline workers, staff, technicians, specialists, etc.

Imagine investing a large amount of money in EHS software, only to have it go unused. The entire business case of the investment and the ROI would be severely undermined.

To prevent this, involve those who will use the EHS software system on a regular basis in the selection process. Be sure they see the demos provided by vendors. Ask what is important for them. Check whether the different applications being considered meet their needs. Get their feedback before making a final selection.


5) You focus too much on technology


When evaluating software, it’s natural to focus on technological aspects, such as features and workflows. And ultimately you want EHS software to align with your requirements.

But be careful about looking only at technology. The vendor’s organizational attributes must also play a role in your final decision. Many companies make the big mistake of deciding mainly on software features or pricing, without considering other factors.

What should you look for in a software vendor? First, try to find out about the type of customer service they offer.

Second, how does the vendor prioritize requests and define product roadmaps? What type of interactions do they have with their customer community?

Finally, will the software vendor be around to help you, and in what form? There have been many mergers and acquisitions in the EHS software space. Therefore, you want to build a partnership with a stable EHS software vendor that has the financial and organizational resources to be around for a long time. Stability will prevent a lot of disruption for your company.

To accelerate your EHS software selection, download your complimentary copy of the Green Quadrant: EHS Software 2023 report from independent research firm Verdantix. The report provides a detailed fact-based comparison of the 23 most prominent EHS platform vendors. Use the report to benchmark the capabilities of leading EHS software applications and to determine which EHS software vendor can be a reliable partner for the future.