2017 EHS & Sustainability Software Buyer’s Guide Review

2017 EHS & Sustainability Software Buyer’s Guide Review

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NAEM kindly released the second instalment of their EHS & Sustainability Software Buyer’s Guide in March. SustainIt had a read. 
Using our experience assisting companies in their non-financial software selection process, we will discuss what we believe to be the key talking points and take-home messages.  

Achievement of Objectives

The NAEM questionnaire found that over a third of ‘Past-purchasers’ did not or only somewhat achieved their initial objectives after the implementation of the newly purchased software. A mere 12% fully achieved these internal objectives.

This gap perfectly touches on the growing consensus amongst sustainability professionals that an effective sustainability strategy is one that is rooted deeply into the culture of an organisation.
If a company manages to truly define their sustainability strategy, they will have more structured objectives, properly mapped KPIs against these objectives and most importantly the drive to take a holistic approach to this sustainable vision.
Stakeholder engagement at all levels will further help companies achieve their goals and ultimately get the most out of their (sometimes expensive) systems.

If these considerations are taken, the right software solution can help exceed your sustainability objectives.

Timelines

Looking at the results relating to the time taken to select EHS software, the predictions made by businesses were fairly accurate. The majority of respondents sit in the 7-12 month bracket. From our experience this is a fair estimation, with larger and wider reaching systems of course requiring a longer time to implement.

Once selected how long do these systems traditionally remain in use?

The majority of respondents were return buyers whose software was 3-5 years old. The good news is that 40% of companies had used theirs for 6+ years.
There are varying factors that can influence this however. Some businesses may have chosen an inadequate system that was not able to match their growth or diversification of needs and thus a change is required.
Although many software providers cover various business areas, there is certainly disparity when it comes to their strength in these areas.

Who is strong in EHS?
Who has integrated reporting frameworks effectively?
Is this system able to cope with diverse demands of the supply chain?

In our opinion, the selection of software needs to be both for the now and the future. Updates are easier to manage than an entirely new selection process and not just in terms of cost.

Why do people change software?

As you would expect, cost is always high on the agenda for any form of procurement, but what were the other areas that lead people to new software?

Better IT integration. A whopping 40% of respondents highlighted this as a key push factor towards a new system where 49% of returning buyers had this as their primary reason.
Going back to the point that we touched on regarding timelines, outdated software was also a fundamental reason.

EHS software vendors have varying reputations when it comes to the service level they offer. Nearly a third of companies were reportedly dissatisfied with the service from their existing vendors which would help explain a later stat that half of shoppers plan to use a consultant to support the software adoption process.

In conclusion…

Compared with NAEM’s 2015 results, 32 percent more respondents are seeking a comprehensive system versus those shopping this year. The majority of companies are looking for comprehensive software, where the integration to other systems is also vital. 

This makes the decision making process all the more critical to ensure that the selected non-financial solution is not a wasted exercise and more importantly, one that can provide a visible ROI.

On average past purchasers budgeted to spend about half ($121,357) of what the actual implementation cost rose to. It may seem like a large expense to some but when you start to understand the reach of these systems and the financial as well as social benefits they offer in a short space of time, the less scary this figure becomes.

EHS software is still a growing market so the number of players in this market is constantly increasing. SustainIt can offer impartial advice to companies looking to cut through the noise and realise a system that truly satisfies your non-financial reporting requirements. 

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