What is the best way to integrate safety data across multiple platforms?

Q:

Our company uses multiple platforms to track safety data (LMS for training, an app for our inspections, and a system for occasional incidents). What is the best way to integrate the data from these platforms so that the information isn’t isolated?

A:

Integrating two platforms can be tricky. Open API platforms make this technologically possible, but it’s not as simple as most companies suggest. To keep both systems active and, more importantly, accurate, the integration must be constant.

What many people don’t realize is that if you have two completely different systems, designed for different purposes, there will likely be a loss of data integrity. Think about it this way: If you have a database of addresses for you contacts and all of those contacts are based in the United States, the database holds the following information for each of your contacts:

  • First and last name
  • Street address
  • City
  • State
  • Zip code

Now, try to add contact information from a foreign database – let's say your great aunt Gretchen who lives in London. All of the sudden, you have to include the Building Name, the Dependent Locality, and the Post Town. Not to mention, the Post Town should be written in all caps and the postcode follows a much different format than our US zip codes (NR14 7PZ as opposed to 36693). There simply won't be a way to include that information in your US-formatted database.

So, how do you integrate a database that doesn’t have the capacity to capture critical information because it wasn’t designed for that purpose? So while integration is technologically possible, they aren’t always the best solution. And the more systems you add to the mix, the more complicated the integration is likely to become (learn more about Safety Data: The Game Changer You Might Be Ignoring).

Change is always difficult, but if you have multiple silos for your safety data, the best solution may well be to get one comprehensive solution and transfer your old data into the new system.

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Written by Rob Cowden
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Rob Cowden is the Chief Innovation Officer at Safety Plus, Inc. He holds a degree in Environmental
Science with an emphasis on Hazardous Material Management and spent years serving in the Army and
National Guard. Rob has been in the Safety Industry since 1990 and has been with Safety Plus since
1999. Rob was the chief architect behind the design of SafetyPlusWeb™, Safety Plus Inc’s proprietary
safety management software that is used by over 400 companies across the United States. Rob has held
multiple certifications in safety/environmental fields and has been a Guest Lecturer at several safety
consulting events in the last 5 years – most significantly dealing with technology applications in
construction. He is the father of 3 awesome children (Jake, Brooklyn, & Savannah) and husband to his
smoking-hot wife, Christie.

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