Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) software is at a crossroads: It is gaining traction — but deployment has not exploded. Luckily, this software — which impacts an organization’s energy efficiency and spending — is positioned to gain momentum as enterprises work through their digital transformations.
LNS Research Analyst Peter Bussey discussed these and other survey findings at the Environmental Leader 2016 Conference this week in Denver. His presentation was based on findings from about 250 survey responses. The lion’s share were from the industrial sector Bussey said.
The top objectives of companies employing EHS software, according to survey respondents, were to improve operational performance (65 percent) and to achieve sustainable regulatory compliance (45 percent). In general, Bussey said organizations aim to reconfigure and align improvement efforts with strategic initiatives; improve collaboration and operational excellence across stakeholders and to fit initiatives into the broader enterprise (including informational and occupational technology).
Significant challenges to implementation exist, however. The survey respondents cited poor system data sources (49 percent), poor collaboration between departments (46 percent), inadequate return-on-investment (ROI) to justify projects (31 percent) and ineffective metrics (31 percent) and other challenges. The challenges are serious. It also is significant that several exist. This suggests that there is no silver bullet to their solution.
There may be a silver lining if not a silver bullet: The massive digital transformation — driven by radically growing computer power, the emergence of powerful sensors and massive increased in connectivity — could eliminate or drastically reduce the barriers. “There really is an all new level of powerful technology,” he said. “We have the chance to have completely new levels of insight.”
Specifically, Bussey points to the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, the cloud and mobility as the means by which EHS packages can solve the challenges, become more effective and receive more uniform by-in from employees.
What do enterprises want to see in their EHS software? Survey respondents want broad and integrated functionality, deeply collaborative platforms, flexibility and modularity, robust analytics, dashboard-based visibility, configurability/extensibility and rapid innovation.
The new technology can provide these attributes. For instance, the cloud provides, among other things, almost seamless flexibility and the ability to change adapt as time goes on. The IoT generates huge amounts of data — which can be crunched by big data analytic systems. Mobility enables this power to be brought to bear anyway — and to assessed from anywhere as well.