Plan your safety software project

Especially in enterprises, there is a lot riding on safety management software. To implement an appropriate solution as efficiently as possible, you need the right partners and the right approach.

It may be daunting, but upgrading your safety software is hugely beneficial. The automation, transparency and accountability that modern solutions facilitate help ensure the safety of staff and contractors alike.

But, alongside choosing your safety management software, you need to know how to get it to work.

From scheduling the resources, getting past procurement and agreeing requirements, implementation of enterprise software can be a lengthy process. Moreover, numerous personnel are involved, and even after deployment, you’ve got testing, user adoption and localization.

The good news is, you're not the first safety team to do it. You can learn from others.

Advice for Safety Management Software implementation

Shawcor, an international oil and gas services company headquartered in Toronto, has 8,000 employees based at 123 sites across 25 countries.

In 2013, Shawcor implemented Pro-Sapien's safety management software across all those locations. Here is their Head of Global IT Solutions, Dan Lefebvre's advice to Safety Professionals for your own global implementation.

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1. Find a senior project sponsor

The project may be driven from the top down, but if not, you should identify a senior project sponsor. This is someone at a senior level who will champion your safety management software project and aid its progress through the business case approval – if the person is not you!

2. Elect a Project Manager from the outset

You’ll need a team of dedicated people running this implementation, but having a project manager is a must.

The project manager (PM) handles scheduling which allows things to run more smoothly, particularly if your own day job is already demanding. The PM is typically responsible for:

  • Putting the vendor in contact with the right people in your company
  • Managing those internal people to stay on top of deadlines and meetings
  • Reporting on progress to the board

Additionally, it’s much less complicated to have one main contact for your staff and the vendor to approach. In fact, a PM will address a number of points raised in this article.

3. Carry out a specification workshop early on

You, as the client, must be able to communicate clearly and often with the software vendor. It’ll prove beneficial to invite the vendor to your headquarters for a couple of days, to carry out a specification workshop.

In this workshop you should go through your requirements. Furthermore, it's a great way for key personnel to meet. In my experience, it helps the vendor get a real feel for your culture and better understand your requests.

Engaging your chosen vendor early on will shorten timescales and provide you (and vendor) with greater confidence in your ability to work together to meet project objectives.

4. Know the schedules of all personnel involved

Global software implementation of any kind requires the involvement of numerous employees. In the case of safety management software, this likely concerns IT, EHS and Operations, and you may have a couple representatives from each.

Be mindful of key personnel, including those at the vendor. People do take vacations. Projects can be delayed at Christmas, Easter and other periods where vacations of staff and signatories overlap, which can result in an unexpected project hiatus if not planned for correctly.

5. Be realistic with your timescales

If your timescales have no slack, it’s unlikely the project will remain on schedule.

Anything from a key staff member leaving the company to heavy snowfall or an internal IT failure can cause delays, so when planning your timeline with the vendor, be realistic. Allow for some potential hold ups. And to my previous point, bear in mind how annual leave affects the critical path elements of the project.

6. Engage your staff

Staff buy-in can be the difference between failure and success when it comes to safety management software.

At some point prior to User Acceptance Testing (UAT), explain to employees the reasons behind deploying a new solution. If they're well-informed, they’ll be more willing to accept and engage. For example, you could do this through a newsletter, a personal email to all staff, or an announcement on the company SharePoint.

In addition, staff are going to require training. Be it a little or a lot, I’d suggest the following:

  • Record the software in use and make this available to all users
  • Run interactive workshops with users
  • Train the trainer - allocate one senior person from each department to learn the product and then pass on their knowledge
  • Make use of vendor training materials

Don't forget to bear in mind the varying levels of IT competency within your organization when putting together training materials.

Check out these ideas for employee engagement →

7. Stage a roll-out of the safety software

Your software vendor will probably suggest this, and I’m suggesting it too. Choose a specific department or group of users that is going to trial the software. In an implementation plan, this is often known as User Acceptance Testing (UAT).

This exercise will throw up issues that those close to the software may not have noticed. There could be a glitch that only occurs after a user happened to take steps ABC followed by XYZ.

A pilot phase like this will make for a much better user experience after global implementation. Remember, problems are easier fixed before you go global.

8. Follow up on user adoption

Clearly there is a lot to be said for user friendly, intuitive software. However, an occasional user is unlikely to remember the training session they received 6 months ago. Providing easily accessible materials such as video and/or follow up training sessions will ensure greater user satisfaction and adoption.

For safety management software to be valuable, it requires the participation of frontline workers. But they won't use it if they don't know how.

9. Choose your vendor wisely and maintain a good relationship

This is self-evident, but not only will your team be involved with the vendor during the implementation, the vendor will support and possibly enhance your solution for years to come. You will need an ongoing relationship with them, but it’s even more beneficial if you make that a good one.

The vendor should always be keen to get your feedback on how you feel implementation is going and how the software is performing. This will help them fine-tune their approach in the future and improve the overall product.

For example, we’ve helped our vendor write a case study on the safety management software project with Shawcor. Case studies are the kind of thing software providers will be appreciative of your help with.

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Hopefully, you are now more aware of what enterprise safety software implementation entails.

Don't let the scale and effort put you off. It's worth it in the end, as a modern system lets you spend less time on admin, and more time on the things that matter.

Before kicking off your project, do research into others' experiences, and take suggestions. Advice like what you've read from Dan Lefebvre is important in making the process smoother and the project more likely to succeed. Moreover, your vendor should always be accommodating of your worries or reservations.

If you have a question about how Pro-Sapien works with you to implement our Safety Management Software on Office 365, feel free to ask us here!

Office 365: An EHS Portal No-Brainer?

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Hannah Stewart manages the Digital Marketing team at Pro-Sapien, and has been with the company since graduating with a BA Hons in Communications in 2015. Hannah has a keen interest in technology advancements and enjoys engaging EHS professionals in conversations about how the profession will be affected by such changes. At Pro-Sapien, Hannah manages all things marketing and works closely with the Sales team on business development.

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