There’s a shelf life for everything.
Even software has an expected existence. For most well-designed systems, a useful lifetime can be six to eight years. For systems that are less well designed or for applications that evolve quickly, the useful life of business software can be as short as three years.
According to a 2017 survey conducted by the National Association for Environmental Management (NAEM), most companies that are looking at replacing their environment, health & safety (EHS) software have a system in place that is less than five years old – so, if your system is approaching five years old, it probably is or soon will be outdated.
How do you know your current software is due for a major refresh? You may need new EHS software if:
- Your EHS software needs to integrate with your other IT systems. Many companies have other business software systems for non-EHS applications and modern EHS software can often be integrated with these systems in ways that draw EHS out of its silo and feeds into and from other applications that derive intelligence data and drive processes.
- You need a comprehensive global program management system. As businesses expand into the global marketplace, there’s an increasing need for systems that can operate across countries and continents. Even if all you require is basic bilingual or trilingual function to accommodate a North American operation, it may be time for an EHS software upgrade.
- You need to replace an internally built system. Perhaps your current EHS software was created by an in-house IT department and, for a time, it did what was needed. But as EHS software becomes more highly specialized and broadly functional, many companies discover it’s difficult or impossible to continually upgrade proprietary legacy systems. A third-party software might deliver what in-house IT staff simply don’t have the time or resources to create.
- You need greater external transparency. EHS performance is increasingly a matter of public interest. Customers and clients may decide where to spend their money based not just on price and quality, but also on factors like corporate environmental and safety performance. Modern EHS software can easily generate reports that show your company to best advantage in these areas.
- You need better tools for tracking EHS return on investment (ROI). Outdated or rudimentary EHS software may not have the necessary functionality and systems for evaluating ROI for your EHS activities. ROI is one of the more important categories of analytics that can be vastly improved through a software upgrade.
- Your current vendor isn’t getting the job done. It could be that what you need isn’t new software as much as a new software vendor. If you’re noticing that updates aren’t promptly available or don’t meet your expectations, or if your current software is becoming too expensive to maintain and lacks adequate technical support, it may be time for a change.
- Your culture has changed. Perhaps your current software was put in place when reacting to things like near-misses, or to more closely track EHS-related disciplinary actions were the fundamental requirements. But, now that everybody’s on board with your EHS goals, you may need software that also includes a proactive focus.
- You’re going paperless. Older systems may still rely on paper-based processes – for example, printed inspection checklists. Newer software may help you along on the road to a paperless system – and documents that can be more easily shared and distributed.
These are just a few things to consider in any decision to purchase new EHS software. There’s a whole lot more behind that consideration and you can read all about it in a recently published Insight Report from Intelex Technologies entitled: Knowing When to Buy EHS Software – Strategies for Making the Right Purchase Decisions.
You can download it here.