EHS Dashboard: Excel vs. Power BI

Excel EHS dashboards are handy, familiar, and… limiting. On the other hand, lack of analytical tools in EHS software is a significant inhibitor for 72% of decision-makers. So where does that leave EHS leaders?

Fortunately, Microsoft 365 enterprises have another option: Power BI.

If you’re looking to improve your EHS dashboards, you’ll have questions about how (and why) to switch from Excel to Power BI.

The need for better EHS dashboards is growing

‘Performance measurement’ is moving up the list of EHS software buyer criteria—appearing in the top five for 56% of firms surveyed by NAEM in 2019.

It’s no wonder. A study by Deloitte found the EHS benefits of analytics extend beyond financial gains:

“By effectively implementing advanced data analytic strategies, companies can do more than realize clear financial benefits through increased productivity, reduced litigation and sanctions, and the ability to focus limited dollars on the most effective interventions. More critically, organizations can reduce the human cost of safety by cutting the number and severity of workplace incidents.”

This could take a lot of time if you’re limited to Excel EHS dashboards.

Recognizing this, global oil and gas services firm ASCO adopted Power BI with Pro-Sapien. Since then, ASCO spends 80% less time on monthly HSSEQ reports that provide valuable insight into trends and KPIs.

It’s clear the need for better EHS dashboards is growing, so let’s look at the limitations of Excel.

Pros and cons of EHS dashboards in Excel

Being a Microsoft product, Excel has many pros.

It’s ubiquitous, familiar, and remains close to hand in a situation where an individual, regardless of experience, needs to pull together numbers quickly.

However, for modern enterprises, using Excel for EHS dashboards is not sustainable. Let alone trying to use it for processes such as Incident Management, Audits, or as a Compliance Calendar!

Besides its lack of workflow, there are several issues that impact the EHS team, including:

  • Labor-intensive to maintain
  • Prone to human error
  • No audit trail
  • Performance degradation on large datasets
  • Security is not optimal

Therefore, taking the ‘goods’ and improving on the ‘bads’, Microsoft invested millions to create Power BI.

Excel vs. Power BI according to EHS and IT

Like most Microsoft products, Power BI has retained simplicity and ease of use while simultaneously offering the much-needed insights into EHS.

Furthermore, as part of Microsoft 365, Power BI helps organizations raise EHS awareness. EHS can share statistics that reach all levels of the company, helping to engage frontline workers and executives by embedding reports in everyday Microsoft tools such as Teams and SharePoint.

Compared to Excel, Power BI offers many benefits.

Based on customer feedback, the IT department likes Power BI because it provides:

  • A central, controlled environment for management information
  • Better security to manage access permissions
  • Eliminates the need for hard-to-govern spreadsheet versions

More importantly, our EHS customers like Power BI for benefits such as:

  • Accessible, up-to-date information available online
  • The flexibility and ease-of-use to create reports within the EHS team
  • View numerous datasets in a single location, saving time
  • Ability to share information with all audiences in Microsoft 365

However, as with all business intelligence, it’s a case of “garbage in, garbage out”. Power BI usefulness is only as good as the EHS data you collect.

Power BI EHS Dashboard by Pro-Sapien
Power BI EHS Dashboard by Pro-Sapien

Using Microsoft 365 for EHS management

As well as Power BI for EHS dashboards, organizations can utilize Microsoft 365 for EHS management.

There are many benefits to this, includes:

  • A familiar, accessible interface that boosts user engagement
  • Puts EHS in the same environment as Sales, Finance, and other departments
  • Reduction in administration effort
  • Standardization of EHS processes across regions
  • IT backs the adoption of MS 365 apps to improve overall usage

The seamless integration with your company’s core IT can seem like a no-brainer. However, what’s important to remember is that Microsoft 365 is not created for EHS—and that’s where Pro-Sapien’s EHS software comes in.

Our tried-and-tested EHS software on Microsoft 356 helps you ensure the data you’re collecting facilitates meaningful EHS dashboards in Power BI.

Get started with Power BI

To utilize Power BI, you must have a reliable data source. You have three options:

  1. Excel Spreadsheet. Although using Excel for EHS management is not recommended, it is indeed possible to connect Power BI to a spreadsheet data source.
  2. API. Alternatively, some EHS software vendors provide an API connection that sends your data to Power BI, but this can be complex.
  3. MS 365 EHS Application. Finally, EHS software built on the Microsoft 365 platform, like Pro-Sapien, is best placed for enterprises to realize the full benefits of Power BI.

So, is it time to upgrade your EHS dashboards from Excel to Power BI?

Learn more in our helpful resource, The EHS Leader’s Guide to Power BI!

Right arrowThe EHS Leader's Guide to Power BI

All you need to know about Microsoft Power BI and how to use it for EHS improvement.

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