Q&A: EHS user adoption, integration and turning data into information using the ubiquitous Microsoft technologies
There is a plethora of health and safety software applications out there. All have their strengths and weaknesses, and in some respects, their downfall is they’re just that – ‘health and safety software’. A new approach is to create EHS software that is accessible and familiar with all users. And what better place to start than the good old MS Office and shiny new Office 365, which combined are used by 1.2 billion people worldwide.
In the past, large organizations have built tailored EHS applications using SharePoint as the underlying platform with varying levels of success. Success that is often dependent on budget allocated and timescales/access to the EHS team. At the other end of the scale is the cash-strapped EHS Manager making do with the out-of-the-box features of SharePoint to assist with EHS process and document management. Neither option was an ideal solution – see this whitepaper on the Buy vs. Build debate if you’re swaying. There is a better way…
By utilizing new technologies and the investment already made in the Microsoft platform, Pro-Sapien has created an enterprise solution to meet the requirements of global EHS departments, as well as maintaining the user friendliness and familiarity of standard Office applications.
Q: Can EHS software be as easy to use as Microsoft Office?
- Piggy back on the roll out of Office 365 across your organization
- User interface is familiar and user adoption is enhanced
- Integration with Microsoft suite, for example managing tasks through Outlook and Calendars
- Reliable, tried and tested platform
By piggy-backing on the roll out of Office 365, organizations are making the most of their existing investment. The user interface (UI) is familiar to employees and contractors, therefore user adoption is highly successful and user engagement – paramount in capturing data – is boosted. A recent Verdantix study reported that UI is now the most important consideration of companies searching for new EHS software.
Additionally, organizations such as ThyssenKrupp experience seamless integration with Microsoft Outlook for notifications and calendar syncing, and the power of Microsoft’s business intelligence suite for exporting reports and creating meaningful dashboards. Microsoft is investing the GDP of small countries in developing Office 365 and their data centers, making it an extremely reliable and robust platform; 80% of the Fortune 500 is on Microsoft Cloud, and over 1.2 billion people use Microsoft throughout the world. By implementing EHSQ software that uses the Office 365 platform you are placing the data in safe hands.
Q: How do the functions of Office 365 meet the needs of an enterprise-class business?
- Multi-site, multi-regional platform
- Regional specific requirements captured
- Word class data centers
- Easily extendable and scalable straight-forward licensing model
Office 365 is fast becoming the de facto office and collaboration suite, with a 30% and growing market share over large, regulated businesses. More and more companies are realizing the efficiency of storing data in the Cloud, which eliminates the need for on-site servers and worrying about how much storage space you’ve got. The licensing model that Office 365 comes with is straight-forward – businesses can add and remove licenses as they require, meaning growth is not a problem. Tweaks can be made at a regional level to allow specific requirements to be captured, improving the quality of data. If you’ve already invested time, effort and budget in rolling out Microsoft across your company, utilizing the platform for and EHSQ add-in is a no-brainer.
Q: Why is integration so important?
- Maximize time and effort already spent in security and permissions
- Place EHS tasks and notifications alongside everything else in your Outlook calendar, making use of the de facto collaboration and communication tool already relied on
- Single sign on streamlines the signing in and out process
Basing your EHS management on Office 365 allows integration with all other Microsoft software. By taking this approach, you are making it easy for staff to follow up actions because everything is right there in their Outlook and Calendar. Employees receive notification emails, are able to view the status of outstanding actions and can create to-do lists on their program landing page. In other words, by automatically sending notifications through Outlook, nothing falls through the cracks. And, because EHS management is integrated with the Microsoft infrastructure, users need only sign in once.
Q: What do we do with the significant amount of data we’ve captured?
- Use Management Information to support decision making and aid EHS improvements
- Use KPIs to maintain compliance and corporate standards
- Launch investigations into incidents with investigation workspaces
- Drill down analysis by region, function, or incident type to identify trends, strengths and weaknesses
Capturing the data is only half of the story. The difference is how you use it. Microsoft have invested heavily in the MS Business Intelligence suite over the past couple of years, enabling Pro-Sapien to develop tailored tools to the requirements of BAE Systems, VINCI and the likes. Companies using Office 365 for EHS can view KPIs and see how the overall business is performing at the click of a button. By having this information at the fingertips of EHS Directors and Site Managers, informed decisions can be made based on rich, meaningful information.
This documentation and decision making is what goes on not only to save lives, but to impact insurance premiums too. Marsh, global leaders in insurance brokerage, recently shared an example of a large high street retailer reducing premiums by 25% as a result of producing documented evidence, KPIs and forecasts of how the business was managing risk. Download a recording of the webinar in which this case was discussed by Marsh. You’re only going to kick EH-asS if you put the rich data you’ve captured to work. Utilizing Microsoft and the IT skills your staff already have is a wise, efficient method of getting there.
By realizing how large organizations like Shawcor are managing their EHS through Microsoft, other companies can make the whole process of capturing data, analyzing it, creating follow up actions and using it for decision-making much more streamlined and efficient.