While using an EHS software system can generate multiple benefits, selecting a solution in the first place takes time and effort. However, if not conducted properly this process can have costly consequences. The good news is that many organizations have already been through an EHS software selection process, which provides plenty of lessons learned.
The new National Association for Environmental Management (NAEM)’s guide on a Strategies for Successful EHS&S Software Selection provides key tips and best practices to make the process as efficient as possible, based on in-depth interviews with corporate EHS&S leaders, expert EMIS implementation consultants and software companies.
Here’s a preview of the three steps outlined in the report and some practical advice to guide your EHS software selection.
1) Start the Selection Process with a Solid Plan
Companies that want to improve EHS management through EHS software may be eager to start benchmarking solutions right away and researching vendors. But first things first, starting an efficient EHS software selection process requires solid upfront planning. It should start with securing leadership support to make sure it becomes a priority for the organization. Hence, making the business case for your investment by focusing on the expected business value of the software will give you the focus needed to articulate and prioritize requirements, and secure the appropriate budget.
NAEM also gives useful pointers that include mapping appropriate EHS software workflows to get the big picture before moving on to requirements, and planning ahead to make sure your timeline sets realistic goals as the selection process often takes much more time than initially planned.
2) Clearly Articulate the Requirements
Defining and articulating requirements constitutes the most critical part of the selection process. According to NAEM, this step should fully reflect the needs of all stakeholders. Among the advice provided, the report advocates a “Software Selection Committee” process where the team is defined based on criteria such as subject-matter expertise, influence among users/peers and past project management experience.
NAEM gives readers insights on prioritizing and articulating requirements in an RFP (including knowing the difference between a customization and a configuration), what to seek during demos, as well as an example of a very practical “Matrix/Rubric for Decision-Making” that companies can use to bring structure in the decision-making process.
3) Drive User Engagement
Using an EHS management software solution can be a big change for employees. If they don’t see the value of using the system, the entire selection process can be a failure. Therefore, driving user engagement should be a priority throughout the process.
The report provides useful advice around communicating the value of the system to employees, developing a training program based on the needs and profile of your audience, and tips for demonstrating value over the long-term. As the NAEM report states, an EHS software system is a “living, breathing system”. Therefore, adopting EHS software is a journey, not a race to a finish line.
To learn more about how to ensure an efficient and proper selection process, download the complimentary NAEM report on Strategies for Successful EHS&S Software Selection