Last week, the 2017 EHS and Sustainability Software Buyer’s Guide was released by NAEM. The biannual Buyer’s Guide report is a unique benchmark, designed to inform the EHS and sustainability software selection process, and to identify emerging priorities among software shoppers. This is the second edition of NAEM’s research, following the 2015 EHS and Sustainability Software Buyer’s Guide.
A lot of things can change in two years, so here are the three biggest takeaways for EHS software buyers regarding differences and similarities between the 2015 and 2017 reports.
1) Rising Popularity of Comprehensive Enterprise-Wide Platforms
In the 2015 report, among those shopping for a system, 53% were seeking an enterprise-wide solution, while 41% were looking for a module to address a specific EHS or sustainability need. Fast-forward two years and to the 2017 report, where a whopping 85% of buyers are seeking “comprehensive” solutions, or systems that offer a variety of EHS&S management capabilities, while only 12% of buyers are in the market for point solutions that are focused on a particular need. That’s a 32% change in favor of comprehensive solutions!
Buyers have a clear preference for comprehensive, enterprise-wide platforms. This preference can best be addressed by vendors that offer an integrated platform using the same technical infrastructure, data model and software architecture, which allows the same data to be leveraged for multiple objectives, including environmental management, safety and health, regulatory compliance, predictive analytics, and operational excellence. This approach better addresses the needs of 85% of buyers compared to disjointed solutions composed of niche applications.
2) User Experience Is Still Important
In the 2015 report, user friendliness was not among the top three requirements for first-time buyers of a new system. The top three requirements were: ease of update, cost of implementation, and flexibility of configuration. However among returning buyers, user friendliness was the top requirement. Now let’s jump ahead two years and to the 2017 report, where user friendliness is the most important selection criteria for first-time buyers, while it is the second most important criteria for returning buyers (just 3% behind cost).
Buyers want an EHS software solution that has an because most of them realize that it can lead to a smoother software implementation, and accelerate user adoption of the software throughout the enterprise.
3) Growing Use of Consultants During the Software Adoption Process
In the 2015 report, only 28% of buyers had plans to use a consultant as part of the software adoption process (11% of them for the selection only, 22% for the implementation only, and 67% for both). A resounding 50% said they had no plans to use a consultant, while 22% were unsure. Two years later, in the 2017 report, things have changed considerably. Now, 50% of buyers plan to use a consultant as part of the software adoption process (5% of them for the selection only, 21% for the implementation only, and 74% for both). 45% of buyers do not plan to use a consultant, while 5% are unsure. That’s a 22% change in favor of the use of consultants!
Buyers are turning to consultants today more than before, which is why EHS software vendors must have the following to better address buyer needs: 1) a wide and global partner ecosystem; 2) a proven track record of having achieved a deep integration of expertise with partners, in order to provide a better experience to clients.
To learn more about these three trends, and much more, download the NAEM report by clicking on the image below.