How to Use a Fact-Based Benchmark of EHS Software Vendors
“The signal is the truth. The noise is what distracts us from the truth.”
– Nate Silver
If you’re in an EHS software selection process, you probably receive a lot of information from many software vendors. Each vendor will promote its own offering, which is completely normal. Sometimes it might be a challenge to get an assessment of EHS software systems and vendors.
Fortunately, there is a way to distinguish the signal from the noise and get an evidence-based, objective, neutral and independent analysis of EHS software vendors to help you determine the leaders in the market, and the ones that offer the best fit for your organization.
The Verdantix Green Quadrant EHS Software 2017 report is now available for download. The report compares 20 leading EHS software vendors by evaluating and scoring each vendor for 173 functionality criteria grouped into 29 categories, and 78 strategic success criteria grouped into 10 categories.
Because of its sophisticated and structured methodology, evidence-based assessment, and objectivity of results, the Verdantix report is considered to be the gold standard for the benchmark of EHS software vendors. Therefore, it is a must-read for any organization evaluating EHS software. In this post, we highlight four steps on how to use the report as part of your EHS software selection process.
1) Create a List of Vendors with the Best Capabilities
If someone asks me “what is the best part of the report”, my answer would be: “Page 26”. On that page, you will see all 20 vendors placed on a quadrant where the vertical axis represents capabilities, and the horizontal axis represents momentum. The capabilities dimension measures the breadth and depth of each software vendor’s functionality. This is where you distinguish the signal from the noise by seeing which vendors offer the best products. Make a shortlist of the top vendors to narrow your search.
After you have your list, drill down further by focussing on specific functionality areas that matter to you, such as user interface, risk management, safety management, platform design, mobility, etc. As you look at individual items, remember not to lose sight of the big picture. After you implement EHS software, there is a strong possibility that you will expand its use to other domains. Make sure to evaluate many capabilities, not just those for which you have an immediate or short-term need, hence why breadth and depth of functionality are key.
2) Refine the List by Looking at Vendor Momentum
It’s very important to know which EHS software systems offer the best capabilities, but it’s also important to know about the software vendors themselves, not just their products. Specifically, you want to be able to answer this key question: Which EHS software vendors are the most successful today? The momentum dimension of the Green Quadrant helps you answer this question because it measures strategic success metrics for each vendor, such as brand preference, vision and strategy, etc.
After you create the shortlist of vendors based on capabilities, narrow your list further by taking the momentum dimension into account. The report identifies the top vendors with the most momentum, which helps you determine what solutions are being the most selected by your peers. If you need to convince management about the selection of a particular EHS software, going with a vendor that has the best capabilities and that is successful in the market will help. This is especially the case if management is risk-averse to new spending.
3) Make User Interface a Decisive Criterion
Imagine this nightmare scenario: You’re an EHS manager and you convinced management to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on an EHS software system that will be used by 5,000 users. Two years later, only 100 people are using the system. One day the CFO drops by your office and asks: “How many people are using that software for which we paid so much?”User interface drives user adoption. Accelerating user adoption is key to getting a quick return on your investment, and reducing the total cost of ownership of the software. It’s no surprise that, at page 14, the report explains why and how the quality of the user interface is a key differentiator for buyers. According to a Verdantix survey, user interface is an important criterion for 92% of EHS decision-makers.
On pages 27-28 of the report, you can see how vendors are rated for user interface. Make note of those with the highest scores, and compare them against the vendors on your shortlist created after steps 1 and 2. To ensure future success, user interface should be a make-or-break criterion when evaluating vendors.
4) Prioritize Integrated EHS Platforms
When evaluating EHS software vendors, it is also important to know how they built their solutions. It helps to learn each vendor’s history. There are two categories of vendors: Those with a unified, common and integrated product architecture and database that have built functionality in their platform over the years, and those that have added functionality through acquisitions.
The benefits of integrated EHS platforms built organically and not through acquisitions include: a common user experience accelerating user adoption, facilitated data capture, use of the same data for different business processes, better scalability, etc.
After finalizing your shortlist of EHS software vendors by going through the first three steps, read more about each vendor on your list in the individual vendor profiles located in the second half of the report. Learn about their histories and make note of those with an integrated EHS platform.
Download the Verdantix report by clicking on the image below to benchmark EHS software vendors as part of your software selection process, and follow the four steps in this post to get the most out of the report.