We all know the famous quote from Forrest Gump – “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get”. However, there are some things that shouldn’t be a guessing game, like picking EHS software. You want to know exactly what you’re getting and if it fits your company.

Where do you start though? Looking at today’s market, there are many EHS solutions, each with various features. Therefore, it’s easy to lose track of the bigger picture. What does your company really need, and which solution fits best?

To help you make a decision, we spoke to Hannah Stewart, Communications Manager at Pro-Sapien. Having been involved in hundreds of EHS software selections in her 8 years in the industry, Hannah knows all about how to choose the right EHS management system. For that, Hannah has five key tips that we’re going to discuss in this article:

  • What’s Your Company Size?
  • Low vs. High-Risk Industry
  • How Much Do You Use Microsoft 365?
  • Out-of-the-box vs. Configurable
  • What’s Your Budget?

Keep reading to find out how to pick the right EHS software. (And stop fretting whether it’s mint chip, hazelnut, or truffle!?)

1.      What’s Your Company Size?

The size of your company is a crucial factor to consider when selecting EHS software. Different solutions cater to the needs of varying company sizes.

For instance, smaller companies may find simpler and more affordable solutions helpful for meeting basic compliance needs.

On the other hand, larger enterprises often require comprehensive EHS platforms. These need to be capable of managing complex regulations, multiple locations, and extensive safety analytics.

 “Typically, enterprise EHS software is developed particularly for that kind of setting, which makes it overkill (and over budget) for small businesses. For example, at Pro-Sapien we find that companies with 1,000+ employees benefit the most from our safety software based on Microsoft 365.”

Hannah Stewart, Communications Manager at Pro-Sapien

Defining how many employees you have and how many of them need access to EHS software is a good starting point before you move to our second tip.

2.      Low vs. High-Risk Industry

The level of safety risk in your workplaces will influence the kind of EHS software you choose. High-risk industries such as manufacturing or construction need EHS solutions that handle complex regulations,  manage in-depth incident investigations, and show evidence of corrective and preventative actions (CAPAs).

In contrast, industries with lower risks, such as retail or IT, can opt for simpler solutions focused on basic compliance and employee training.

You can use the following questions to define the nature of your industry:

  • Does your company deal with heavy machinery and dangerous materials?
  • Are there strict rules about workplace safety, protecting the environment, and health standards in your industry?
  • Has your company faced accidents, environmental spills, or rule violations in the past?

By understanding your industry’s risks and regulations, you can narrow down your options and select an EHS solution that suits your needs.

3.      How Much Do You Use Microsoft 365?

If you’re a large enterprise, you’re probably using Microsoft 365. Microsoft Teams is in fact the most used business app worldwide – with over 300 million users.

In this case, you can build on Microsoft 365 and choose software that seamlessly integrates with it. This offers two main benefits:

  • Familiarity: Employees are already familiar with Microsoft 365 apps
  • Single sign-on: No need for separate login details for the EHS interface

By opting for EHS software that integrates into apps such as Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and Power BI, you can simplify workflows, enhance collaboration, and boost user adoption.

As noted, Microsoft 365-based EHS software like Pro-Sapien is best for larger companies, for several reasons. Hannah explains:

“Organizations with thousands of employees – especially in high-risk industries – need to worry about a transient workforce who require reporting safety information to be as easy as possible, or they won’t do it. If they use Microsoft 365 everyday anyway, the question is, why aren’t you leveraging this for EHS? On top of that, big brands are subject to more stringent regulations, not only in health and safety but also in things like information privacy. This puts IT security high on the agenda, which Microsoft Azure is well placed to satisfy. All of these angles come into play when choosing your EHS application.”

Again, if you’re a small organization that might not use Microsoft 365 as much, you might want to look for a standalone and out-of-the-box’ solution that meets your needs. Let’s have a closer look at what we mean by ‘out-of-the-box’.

4.      Out-of-the-box vs. Configurable

When it comes to picking EHS software, one important decision is between out-of-the-box (OOTB) and configurable solutions.

OOTB systems come ready-made with industry-specific features, ideal for newer EHS setups needing basic functionality. However, as your organization grows, these solutions may become too restrictive.

That’s where a configurable solution might be better for you. Configurable EHS systems allow you to customize workflows, forms and reports, making them more suitable for large enterprises that have unique requirements. Hannah adds:

“One consideration with out of the box versus configurable EHS software is your timeline. Bear in mind that there may be a trade off with features. Need it implemented ‘yesterday’? Out of the box is the way to go. However, if you want a solution that is going to stand the test of time, configuration (when done carefully) will bring you value for years to come. What we try to achieve at Pro-Sapien is the golden 80/20 ratio, where we deliver 80% of our product out of the box, with 20% available for configuring such as form field values, approval workflows, and tweaking our report templates.”

Importantly, we recommend avoiding customization. This is different to configuration in that customization requires writing code, which often leads to project delays and a platform so specialised, it loses value quickly. This is a major argument against building your own EHS application.

While OOTB systems offer faster implementation, configurable platforms allow greater flexibility and scalability as your organization evolves. Consider your organization’s needs, resources, and long-term goals when making this decision. Find out more in our article on configurable vs. out-of-the-box software.

5.      What’s Your Budget?

Finally, finding the right EHS management software depends greatly on your budget. Striking the balance between features and affordability is crucial in selecting the ideal software solution.

These days, most software is provided within a ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS) model, which typically involves setup fees and annual licenses. Check out Pro-Sapien’s pricing for an estimate, which gives you a sense of the market.

However, there are options available to suit various budgets. With our five tips in mind, explore our list of the 5 best EHS software companies by specialty. That list will further help you determine where to invest your time. Hannah recommends:

“There are over 200 safety management platforms out there – so knowing your functional priorities, budget, and timescale is necessary to set off on the right path towards a successful implementation.”

Much like Forrest Gump’s journey through life, your path to finding the right EHS software may have its twists and turns. But with Hannah’s guidance, you can navigate through the options and find the perfect fit for your organization’s needs.

If you’re a large enterprise and use Microsoft, you might be thinking, is leveraging Microsoft 365 for EHS a no-brainer?! In short, no – there’s more to consider. Get a more in-depth analysis in our free whitepaper, available now:

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