In today’s often unstable business environment, incidents such as employee injuries, explosions, fires,’, chemical spills and other environmental incidents are becoming increasingly common and unpredictable. To match this complex mix of circumstances, the incident management software landscape can seem equally diverse and challenging to decipher, with a wide range of options available on the market.
So how to tell leaders and laggards apart? Who are the software vendors that are excelling and keeping up to speed with this evolving environment? What are the traits of an incident management software solution that’s not just good, but great? In its recent report, Verdantix gives us a few tips on what it means to be a ‘smart innovator’ in the incident management software space. Here are 10 hallmarks of an innovative incident management software solution:
1. It streamlines incident reporting by automatically populating regulatory reports
Smart innovators know that the easiest way to stay in compliance is through software. Today’s incident management applications can take key data recorded during incidents and automatically generate legal forms for OSHA and other safety & health enforcement agencies. Most solutions also allow users to configure legal forms to meet the incident reporting requirements of any jurisdiction.
2. It makes sure that contractors uphold their safety standards
Especially in asset intensive industries such as oil and gas, mining, and construction, dealing with many contractors in the short and long term, centralized processes and incident management software features that break down cultural and language barriers can help ensure that contractors and subcontractors uphold adequate safety standards, minimizing accidents and injuries among contracted employees.
3. It assigns corrective and preventive action plans
Today’s leading solutions cover both corrective and preventive action plans, allowing users to not only automatically trigger corrective action plans but also identify the most at-risk areas within the organization in order to minimize the likelihood of incidents occurring in the first place.
4. It provides tools for root cause analysis and incident investigation
Unlike what can be achieved through Excel, innovative incident management software applications provide effective risk identification, risk registration and analytics tools to uncover incident root causes, under one single solution or platform. By performing these analyses (and producing anything from risk matrices, to decision trees and hazard analysis), companies are able to mitigate the likelihood of future incidents and identify the assets, people and processes exposed to the highest risk.
5. It evaluates the effectiveness of controls and action plans
In addition to allowing users to investigate the root causes of incidents and near misses, software applications also help manage and initiate action plans to reduce the likelihood of future events. The most innovative solutions also include tools to go one step further and evaluate the effectiveness of the different controls implemented as part of action plans.
6. It integrates with other systems to drive holistic process improvement
Chemical spills, natural disasters and other incidents naturally have impacts that affect many parts of an EHS department and an organization. To increase visibility and understand the broader and interconnected impacts of most incidents, innovative software applications allow users to integrate their incident management solution with other IT systems, such as those dedicated to OHS, industrial hygiene or claims management.
7. It allows users to log incidents in offline environments and on native mobile apps
While three years ago, few players in the EHS software space had native mobile apps, ‘smart innovators’ now offer apps that are fully compatible with Android, iOS and Windows and that also work offline and synchronize with server-based applications. This combination of functionalities can save lives in offline environments such as offshore oil rigs and mines. These mobile apps also allow users to supplement reports with photos and videos, even in offline conditions.
8. It responds to emergency situations that threaten business continuity
Today’s software applications also help users plan responses to emergency situations, where time is of the essence. Top of the line software solutions are able to provide dedicated emergency response capabilities and facilitate the communication, interoperability and response-times of teams and departments.
9. It safeguards against financial and reputational risks
With the advent of CSR and the age of social media, companies can no longer afford to disregard reputational risks. However, as they are just as likely to find themselves short of the necessary time and resources to efficiently address these risks, centralized and cost-and-time-effective data management can go a long way in helping companies face increasing incident-related reputational and financial risks.
10. It is designed with user adoption in mind
Lastly, while innovators in the marketplace strive to deliver on the 9 characteristics above, to truly maximize the value of any type of enterprise software, nurturing user adoption and engagement is critical. While user-friendly solutions and skillful implementation teams will go a long way, companies can also aid the process through top management endorsement, solid involvement from IT services and the selection of solutions with appropriate levels of functionality.
To learn more about the latest trends and software innovations in the market, you can download the full Verdantix report “Smart Innovators: Incident Management Software”.