EHSQ, Enthusiasm and Engagement: Impressions from the Intelex 2019 Middle East Customer Forum

The 2019 Middle East Customer Forum offered Intelex’s customers and partners in the region the opportunity to share their passion for EHSQ, impressing their hosts with their enthusiasm and innovative ideas.

One thing was very clear at Intelex’s 2019 Middle East Customer Forum held recently in Dubai: Intelex customers are focused on achieving and maintaining EHSQ excellence. Here are some takeaways from the forum and those in attendance…

“Health and safety is taken quite seriously by companies in the region from the top down; executive management in the Middle East considers the health and safety of its workers as a high priority,” said Roula Vrsic, Senior VP of Marketing at Intelex.

Vrsic also noted that a poll of attendees at the forum found that two-thirds of EHS professionals in attendance are directly involved in digital transformation strategies at their organizations. “That is significantly different than other regions in the world or aggregate global results,” said Vrsic.

Neil Berry, Senior Vice President, General Manager, EMEA, for Intelex, said he too was impressed with the EHSQ leadership in the region. In his opening remarks for the forum, Berry noted that the Middle East was “an iconic leader in innovation.”

Ben Henderson, a Product Solutions Consultant at Intelex, said that for him, the greatest takeaway was how much “customers wanted to learn from the experience of others and [how much they wanted to] try and make use of some of the new features that [Intelex] had released onto the platform.” His presentation, “Unlocking the Value: ​The Latest and Greatest EHSQ Applications,” focused on getting the most from Intelex modules. In the session, Henderson unveiled functionality that users might not even know they have, as well as best practices, to help them meet their EHSQ goals and simplify communication of exposure assessments. His presentation garnered a number of questions from audience members who wanted to know more about the various applications they could use to improve their safety management systems and improve the practice of EHSQ at their facilities.

Ray Kanani, Senior Director, Product Management, for Intelex, offered attendees a tour of the “Intelex Roadmap: The Evolution of EHSQ 4.0.” He offered an inside look at our product vision and upcoming roadmap enhancements. Kanani encouraged attendees to tell Intelex what new functionality they would like to use to improve their current solution. He asked them to come ready with ideas and questions, and he was impressed by their engagement and interest.

“I was inspired by the region’s passionate EHS and Quality professionals who are constantly collaborating and innovating to continuously improve within their organization and industry,” said Kanani. “I’m looking forward to supporting this great momentum and energy and look forward to visiting the region again.”

Idea Xchange Between Participants

Two panel discussions offered the opportunity for customers to share their innovative ideas to engage the workforce in their EHSQ management systems.

In a social media and thumb-driven era, mobile devices have become crucial in digital transformation initiatives. However, many EHSQ professionals are still struggling to grow internal commitment and gain employee buy-in for their programs. The first panel discussion, “Beyond the Challenges: Using Mobile to Drive Engagement for Better EHSQ Outcomes,” featured the journey of trailblazing companies that have moved beyond the challenges to transform their EHSQ programs through mobile enablement. The audience learned how they implemented Intelex to increase user engagement and data completeness, all while saving time and resources.

The participants said they used bulletins, safety alerts and lessons learned to educate managers and workers EHS information. Aisha Ahmed Alshehhi, Flight Safety Systems Officer at Etihad Airways, shared that not only did Etihad see a 47 percent increase in EHS reporting since launching the Intelex mobile app, and they also experienced a significant improvement in the quality of EHS reporting.

Khalid Wahaibi, HSSE T&O Manager for Duqm Refinery and Petrochemical Industries Company LLC, suggested that companies planning to implement a system like Intelex dedicate a team to the implementation process, so that the company can make full use of all of the value the system offers right from the start. Otherwise, he said, “It’s like having a Ferrari but only driving 20 mph. Why have all that power and not make use of it?”

Sulalman Al Sulaimi, Occupational Health, Safety and Environment Leader at Oman Oil Company Exploration & Production LLC (OOCEP), said that when workers had to manually fill out cards to report observations, they averaged about 12,000 reports a year. When OOCEP implemented Intelex and launched engagement efforts around that implementation, that number jumped to 23,000. Some employees still prefer the cards, he noted, but he attributed the surge in reports to the ability of employees to fill out reports online, within moments of the observation occurring. In an effort to drive adoption and engagement, his company offers a cash award of 500 dirhams (approximately $US 136) for the best safety observation each month, and the winner receives a certificate noting the achievement that is signed by an executive and a mention in the company newsletter.

The moderator of the panel, Tim Clement, Strategic Account Director at Intelex, said his takeaway from the panel discussion was that Intelex “build(s) trust” by providing users with accurate, actionable data and customer support. He was particularly impressed with the number of observation reports received by OOCEP. “The cash incentive [and corporate recognition] for the observation of the month at Oman Oil was a highlight for me,” he added.

“In the panel discussion, there was a clear message that our EHSQ leaders are rewarding good behavior and promotion of safety culture,” said Marija Skobe-Pilley, Customer Success Manager. “It is obvious that incentives are good motivators, however, in our daily work we are usually so transactional that I needed to travel to another continent to be reminded what matters to our clients!”

The second panel discussion, “From the Trenches: Lessons Learned Along the Path to Realizing EHSQ Time to Value,” was led by Neil Berry and featured Carmel Beeshow, a System Specialist – Corporate, Safety and Quality with Etihad Airways; James Fairley, a Safety Specialist with the General Civil Aviation Authority; and Muhammad Noh, Group EHSSQ Manager, Horizon Terminals.

According to Berry, “The road to EHSQ digital transformation can be fraught with many obstacles and navigating it can be challenging.” In this panel discussion, attendees heard directly from Intelex customers who have deployed our software and have experienced the process from planning through execution and rollout and realized true value from their investments. Beeshow, Fairley and Noh explored some of the common challenges in digitizing EHSQ and offered practical recommendations on what to avoid. They acknowledged there are various paths to implementation; there’s no “one size fits all,” which allows for customization. According to the panelists, this is one of the benefits of the system and it’s up to each customer to determine the best implementation and use strategy for their business and develop a business plan to support it. They also shared key elements of a successful adoption strategy to help other companies fast track their way to optimizing their EHSQ technology initiatives.

Importance of Partnerships

At Intelex, we are proud of our relationships with our partners and the relationships our partners build with our customers. One of the highlights of the 2019 Middle East Customer Forum was a special “Most Distinguished Partner” award that honored Barik IT Solutions, Intelex’s partner in the Middle East. Barik Chairman Juma Ali and Rahamathulla A, who leads the BarikProduct Development, Marketing, Pre-sales, and Sales teams, accepted the award.

“I loved seeing our partner Barik in action with their customers. As our long-time partner in the Middle East, Barik has served our joint customers for 10 years,” said Kristen Duda, Vice President – Strategic Partners at Intelex. “To see first-hand the rapport they have with their customers and the strength of their relationships was a testament to their partnership.” 

“Seeing how close the Barik team is with their clients was hugely inspiring,” admitted Andrew Joycey, Business Development Lead, EMEA, for Intelex. “The closer our teams get, the more successful we’ll be able to make Intelex/Barik customers. I’m excited to help grow the business in the Middle East.”

Customer Success Associate Monica Mazzali agreed, saying, “My takeaway was how happy customers were with Barik’s team. The people at my table [at the forum] were saying that they are so fast at answering [questions and requests] and always ready to help out.”

The message of the forum came through loud and clear: Intelex wants to be a partner to its customers in the Middle East and their commitment to EHSQ excellence and Intelex came through loud and clear.

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