EHS has a problem. Data has revolutionized the landscape, but for too long, it’s meant EHS analytics takes too much time, effort, and frustration.
Since ignoring data analysis can have disastrous consequences, like 25% higher recordable injury rate, companies have decided to instead find a better fit solution for their analytics needs.
In fact, a 2020 report by independent analyst Verdantix found that over 60% of respondents were looking to expand their use of EHS analytics.
In our organization, we work with enterprises to configure EHS analytics that breeds data-based decisions. By far, the best and most attainable tool for this is Microsoft Power BI.
Power BI is an app in Office 365, and it’s normalizing analytics for today’s business user.
Surprisingly, it’s still unknown to most EHS professionals, so here we’ll explore how Power BI is transforming EHS analytics.
EHS analytics will benefit from the shifting business focus
The first data center was built in 1965. Back then, for a business to store the kind of information a small company keeps today would have been a multimillion-dollar investment.
Now, the sizeable data of today demands skill to make the data work for you. The problem is outdated, weak, or overly complex Business Intelligence (BI) tools are causing EHS professionals to miss out.
However, BI is changing. According to Gartner, one of the biggest analytics trends in 2021 is BI becoming a core business focus.
“Instead of being a secondary focus — completed by a separate team — data and analytics is shifting to a core function. However, business leaders often underestimate the complexities of data and end up missing opportunities.”
In other words, complex data still requires specialist skill. What’s changing is how EHS professionals can interrogate, analyze, and really own their data on the front-end to turn it into meaningful information.
What makes Power BI different to other tools?
Power BI is an app in Office 365, sitting alongside the likes of SharePoint.
What makes it different depends on what you compare it with:
- Compared to Excel, it draws data automatically from several sources instead of requiring manual input.
- Compared to Tableau, Power BI’s biggest competitor, it’s better suited to a general audience that doesn’t necessarily have an analytics background.
- Compared to traditional EHS software, it’s part of your organization’s Office 365 environment, not in an EHS silo.
In 2021, Power BI is still a relatively new app for many 365-invested companies. Different departments may be stuck in legacy systems or reluctant to change, but the IT department is often keen to align the business on this single, user-friendly BI platform.
In more detail, here are some of the main benefits of Power BI for EHS analytics.
1. Power BI is part of Microsoft 365, the company hub
Not only will leveraging existing company IT make you popular with the IT department, Microsoft 365 is the perfect platform to increase visibility of EHS across the business.
This is true for both employees and executives. For example, in Power BI itself, management can see EHS data right next to Finance or Sales thanks to the ability to pin report tiles to shared dashboards.
On the other hand, it’s easy to publish your EHS Power BI reports throughout Microsoft 365 to make them visible to all employees and help them buy-into the EHS vision. Sharing reports on your company SharePoint or through Teams will greatly increase transparency.
This is one of the main benefits that South Jersey Industries identified in having their EHS analytics in Power BI with Pro-Sapien’s EHS software.
“Before, the organization only saw what the Safety team had time to distribute. Now, safety information is right there on corporate dashboards along with our financial and operations performance. Having safety top of mind and having the entire organization aware of our performance leads to greater involvement in the safety program by all employees.”Craig Stewart, Director of Safety & Quality, SJI.
2. Saves time by bringing multiple datasets
One of the biggest strengths of Power BI is the ability to pull together multiple data sources.
This is especially helpful if you have numerous EHS data collection methods, such as EHS software for some functions, spreadsheets for others, and third-party applications for others still.
In other words, instead of three or four separate analytics platforms, you only need one. For example, Power BI will display your data from:
- Pro-Sapien (EHS software),
- SAP (HR),
- Salesforce (Sales), and more.
Importantly, this saves EHS professionals valuable time switching between systems to manually gather data into a single source. Time better spent making improvement decisions based on EHS trends, calculations and KPIs!
Furthermore, Power BI updates up to 8 times per day, meaning you’re always working with the latest data around the clock.
For example, ASCO, another company benefitting from Power BI EHS analytics, now spends 80% less time creating monthly performance reports:
“The Power BI integration is fantastic, providing ASCO teams with easy access to incident reporting and valuable insights at the click-of-a-button. The cloud-based nature of the platform means our workforce can access the system online securely anytime, from anywhere, on any device, and report, manage and track incidents in real-time”.Steve Mitchell, Group Operations & HSSEQ Director, ASCO.
3. You will enjoy EHS analytics
Nowhere in the Head of EHS job description does it say ‘required: being a tech wizard’. Self-professed, EHS professionals are not BI experts.
Therefore, as the business grows and needs change, you can quickly feel held back by canned EHS analytics reports, while lacking the skills, tools, or control to improve them.
Recognizing this growing need among all industries, Microsoft invested millions to create an app that puts the end user (you) back in the driver’s seat.
Although many EHS software vendors deliver configured dashboards and reports, Power BI means you can easily create your own (and no, you won’t need to be a tech wizard to do it).
In fact, a few of our clients have opted to create EHS dashboards and reports entirely themselves in Power BI. This includes EHS managers without an IT background.
Similarly to most Microsoft products, Power BI has retained the simplicity and ease of use, while simultaneously offering much needed in-depth insights into EHS analytics.
Dare I say it? Power BI will make you look forward to EHS analytics!
The Future of EHS Analytics
For the many reasons outlined, disparate systems will continue to age poorly and more enterprises will get on the Power BI train.
In a recent survey by independent analyst firm Verdantix, one third of respondents conveyed they already are heavy users of EHS analytics, and a further 17% reported they were planning to expand their use of it.
Add to that the surge in users Microsoft 365 experienced through Teams during the pandemic, you have a perfect match. It makes sense that many organizations will want to maximize their investment in their existing company IT.
Choosing the right Business Intelligence tool will define how effectively you can harness data and transform it into actionable insights. However, having the right datasets to draw from will be equally as important.
COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of EHS for companies, and EHS software adoption will continue to be on the rise over coming years. There will be no better time to justify an investment in Health & Safety.
Have you considered Pro-Sapien for EHS software on Microsoft 365?