Microsoft Surface

There is a plethora of environmental, health and safety software applications out there. All have their strengths and weaknesses, and in some respects, their downfall is they’re just that – ‘EHS software’. A new approach is to create an EHS software solution that is accessible and familiar with all users. What better place to start than with the good old Microsoft Office and shiny new Office 365? Combined, these programs are used by 1.2 billion people globally and are ubiquitous the world over. If you're reading this article, it's likely you've also saved a Word document and sent an Outlook email today.

In the past, large organizations have built tailored EHS applications using SharePoint as the underlying platform with varying levels of success; success that is often dependent on budget allocated and timescales/access to the EHS team. At the other end of the scale is the cash-strapped EHS Manager making do with the out-of-the-box features of SharePoint to assist with EHS process and document management. Neither option was an ideal solution – see this whitepaper on the Buy vs. Build debate if you’re swaying. There is a better way…

Pro-Sapien's responsive EHS softwareBy utilizing new technologies and the investment already made in the Microsoft platform, Pro-Sapien has created an enterprise solution to meet the requirements of global EHS departments, as well as maintaining the user friendliness and familiarity of standard Office applications. Here are 4 ways in which large organizations are kicking EH-asS (yes, we said it) by choosing to implement their EHS solution on Office 365 or SharePoint.

1. They're encouraging engagement by giving users a familiar platform to work with

At-a-glance:

  • Piggy back on the roll out of Office 365 across your organization
  • User interface is familiar and user adoption is enhanced
  • Integration with Microsoft suite, for example managing tasks through Outlook and Calendars
  • Reliable, tried and tested platform

By piggy-backing on the company-wide roll out of Office 365, organizations are making the most of their existing investment. The user interface (UI) of Pro-Sapien's software is familiar to employees and contractors, therefore user adoption is highly successful and user engagement – paramount in capturing data – is boosted. Verdantix studies report time and time again that UI remains the most important consideration of companies searching for new EHS software.

Additionally, users experience seamless integration with Microsoft Outlook for notifications and calendar syncing, and the power of Microsoft’s business intelligence suite for sharing reports and creating meaningful dashboards. Microsoft is investing the GDP of small countries in developing Office 365 and its data centers, making it an extremely reliable and robust platform; 80% of the Fortune 500 is on Microsoft Cloud. By implementing EHS software that uses the Office 365 platform you are placing your data in safe hands.

2. Multi-regional companies are increasing visibility with a program designed for enterprises

At-a-glance:

  • Multi-site, multi-regional platform
  • Regional specific requirements captured
  • Word class data centers
  • Easily extendable and scalable straight-forward licensing model

Office 365 is fast becoming the de facto office and collaboration suite, with a 30% and growing market share over large, regulated businesses. More and more companies are realizing the efficiency of storing data in the Cloud, which eliminates the need for on-site servers and worrying about how much storage space you’ve got. That being said, on-premise SharePoint is still the choice of many, which Pro-Sapien's software is also entirely compatible with.

The licensing model that Office 365 comes with is straight-forward – businesses can add and remove licenses as they require, meaning growth is not a problem. Tweaks can be made at a regional level to allow specific requirements to be captured, improving the quality of data. If you’ve already invested time, effort and budget in rolling out Microsoft across your company, utilizing the platform for EHS is a no-brainer.

3. Through seamless integration, they're significantly reducing time spent working with disparate programs

At-a-glance:

  • Maximize time and effort already spent in security and permissions
  • Place EHS tasks and notifications alongside everything else in your Outlook calendar, making use of the de facto collaboration and communication tool already relied on
  • Single sign on streamlines the signing in and out process

Basing your EHS management on Office 365 allows integration with all other Microsoft software. By taking this approach, you are making it easy for staff to follow up actions because everything is right there in their Outlook Calendar. Employees receive notification emails, are able to view the status of outstanding actions and can create to-do lists on their program landing page. In other words, by automatically sending notifications through Outlook, nothing falls through the cracks.

The ability of users to access the system from their Office 365 portal comes with the important benefit of Single Sign On (SSO). There are no additional logins to remember and no clunky processes to get through. If you are logged into Office 365, you are logged into your EHS solution, and - as our software is able to talk to Office 365's Active Directory - you automatically see the appropriate dashboards and options for your job role, location and site.

4. They're using real-time KPIs and trends to drive EHS improvement across the global business

At-a-glance:

  • Use Management Information to support decision making and facilitate EHS improvements
  • Use KPIs to maintain compliance and corporate standards
  • Launch investigations into incidents with investigation workspaces
  • Drill down by region, function, or incident type to identify trends, strengths and weaknesses

Capturing the data is only half of the story. The difference is how you use it. Microsoft have invested heavily in its Business Intelligence tools over the past couple of years, enabling Pro-Sapien to deliver EHS solutions with strong reporting capabilities. Pro-Sapien users can view KPIs and see how the overall business is performing at the click of a button, can drill down into that data to a granular level, or can build their own real-time reports through our seamless integration with Power BI and Excel PowerView.  By having the relevant information at your fingertips, informed decisions can be made based on rich, meaningful information.

You’re only going to kick EH-asS if you put the data you’ve captured to work. Utilizing Microsoft and the IT skills your staff already have is a wise, efficient method of getting there.

By realizing how large organizations like BAE Systems are managing their EHS through Microsoft, other companies can make the whole process of EHS management much more streamlined and enjoyable for all stakeholders.

View the demo today to see the software choice of leaders and learn how you could be using it to drive process improvement at your own organization.

This article was originally written for and published by Safeopedia.com in April 2016

Murray is the Commercial Director at Pro-Sapien Software and has been involved in providing business intelligence IT solutions to some of the world's largest companies for over 15 years. He is particularly interested in using modern technologies for improvements in EHS performances, striving to support business processes and promote safety best practice in high-risk industries.

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