AUTHOR

Richard Rosek
Digital EHS&S Management Consultant
More than 1,000 EHS, risk, operations and sustainability professionals gathered virtually in late 2020 for Enablon’s flagship event – SPF World 2020 (Sustainable Performance Forum) – for future and existing users of its EHS management software. Sessions on operational risk management (ORM) and worker engagement with mobile applications echoed what we’ve been hearing from our digital EHS&S clients.

I have been part of Arcadis’ digital EHS&S team for over a year now, but prior to this role I worked at Enablon for five years. Call it insider information, but knowing the format and behind-the-scenes programming of this event helped me capture some key takeaways for organizations exploring their digital EHS programs.

Transforming operational risk management

ORM has traditionally been a field focus. Using a large oil rig as an example, the operational risk can be staggering. ORM solutions in the market have historically seen success with permit-to-work, as the software manages that type of effort. But ORM overall has traditionally been a manual and paper-based process. The sessions and conversations at SPF placed a spotlight on the revolution the function is seeing with the introduction of digitized solutions, making ORM more efficient and dramatically improved. Enablon’s recently released Version 9 is the only software in the industry linking EHS&S, risk and operations in a single user interface, offering users full transparency and connectivity into work across the enterprise.

This ORM digital transformation (via Enablon or otherwise) is influencing how our clients are spending as well. The strategic value realized through risk management, corporate/strategic initiatives and increased operational efficiency were noted as the top three driving forces for investing in EHS&S in our 2020 Digital EHS&S Benchmarking Survey.

Going from a disparate solution to one that is digitalized and managed through a centralized tool can bring a new level of efficiency to your organization. The secret to success is having executive sponsorship and implementing a proper change management approach to a digital or electronic solution. Robust training driven by internal champions leads to higher user adoption, ensuring you get the full value out of your investment.

Engaging frontline workers with mobile applications

Our 2020 Survey also found that mobile solutions are the top technology that is or will be incorporated into EHS&S functions. Enabling workers to input data on location using a phone or tablet can expedite the time it takes to turn inputs into insights.

This aligns with what I saw at SPF, as mobile applications are now being applied to many aspects of EHS, from health and safety inspections to auditing and control of work. Technology and availability continue to progress, and users are seeing improved consistency across applications. The apps are easier to access and more user-friendly than ever. Frontline workers are able to create field samples with embedded validation rules and can even report an event using voice commands such as Siri. On the organizational level, features such as language settings and availability on iOS and Android platforms make it possible to dispatch a shared solution across global working teams.

As more solutions hit the marketplace, it will be important to consider which features align best with your user base. Some organizations reach for something new and shiny instead of focusing on user wants and needs. The flashiest option will not keep frontline workers engaged in the long run if it fails to provide tangible operational enhancements.

Virtual edition delivers

While I missed seeing familiar faces in person and meeting new connections, the virtual SPF event still enabled attendees to walk away with new ideas and insights. Interested in discussing what is possible in digital EHS&S and operational excellence? I would love to connect and share ideas.

AUTHOR

Richard Rosek
Digital EHS&S Management Consultant