Today’s software market is full of vendors that offer unique solutions. The correct choice of vendor for your organization depends on your business requirements, budget, and personal preferences. But even so, how do you wade through the different options to find the one that works best for your situation?
Before the software selection process begins, your company should create a list of criteria that can be used to differentiate software vendors from one another. You should also create a list of functionality that needs to be shown in a demo. Most vendors will be able to show most of the functionality you need, but pay careful attention to the following: How user-friendly is the software system? How much regulatory content is provided out-of-the-box? How much experience does the vendor have? These are important questions that will determine the success of the software implementation, and establishing the right criteria upfront will help you the answer the questions.
I recently had the opportunity to discuss evaluation criteria with ChemicalWatch for their Chemicals Management Software Guide. These are the criteria that I believe will help you select the right software solution:
1) The software system must be intuitive, even for new users of the platform. Users must be able to log into the platform, identify the actions that are required from them, and complete those actions in the least amount of time. The software buyer should not need to continually train new users.
2) The software vendor should have strong client representation in the buyer’s industry. Each industry has unique compliance challenges. If the vendor has other customers in the same industry, then the buyer can be confident that the software vendor will understand the buyer’s unique challenges.
3) The software solution must operate as an integrated suite: the must link to the regulatory limits, the limits must link back to the appropriate regulation or permit, etc. An EHS manager must have all of the related information at their fingertips to know the complete context of all the data at their facility.
4) The software system must come bundled with content out-of-the-box, because it needs to provide a return on investment as soon as possible. The software system should provide standard reports, standard calculation methodologies, standard integrations with content providers, and standard integrations with external databases to make the implementation as smooth as possible.
5) The software solution needs to have a robust calculation engine and data integration tool. An environmental compliance program gathers data from many sources, and requires a large volume of complex calculations to take place at a regular frequency. The software system needs to be able to integrate with, and compile data from, all of those data sources, and must have the capability to perform any calculation quickly. Once the software system is implemented, it should be able to perform these integration and calculation tasks automatically.
In conclusion, weigh the different software solutions against the criteria that are the most important for your organization, and brainstorm your own list of preferred differentiators. Also, challenge software vendors to demonstrate how well they address your criteria. Don’t skip this last step! The future success of the implementation depends on the software system you choose. Your company’s time and money are well-spent on creating this list of criteria.
Do you want to improve EHS management in your organization through software? Download the Verdantix Green Quadrant EHS Software 2017 report to learn more about market trends and compare the top 20 EHS software suppliers.