Unified EHS Platforms vs. Single-Point Solutions - Lisam

9 June 2020

Unified EHS Platforms vs. Single-Point Solutions

It’s a scenario we see all the time: teams using two, three, four, or more different tools to manage their EHS responsibilities. They might use one software solution for incident management, another for environmental compliance, another for inspections, and yet another for SDS management. Unfortunately, this leads to a number of problems compared to using unified EHS platforms.

Each software system takes weeks or months to deploy. This means companies end up spending a lot of time implementing and learning new tools. It’s disjointed and frustrating for employees who have to switch back and forth between multiple systems. It also creates data silos, which makes it difficult to get quality insights. Most of all, it’s expensive. You might not spend much on each individual solution. When you add up the price of all of these subscriptions, the cost is staggering.

So how did we get here in the first place, and what can be done about it?

Single-point solutions

Here’s what usually happens: Let’s say a team needs a solution for incident management. They evaluate a handful of different issue-specific solutions. They purchase a system, configure the software, and train their team to use it.

At first, things go well. The tool is very effective at helping people manage incidents, complete investigations, and track corrective actions. But eventually, they decide they also need a tool to manage audits and inspections. The process of demos, proposals, implementation, and training starts over again. And again each time they run into a new problem.

Or, companies don’t think they can afford an all-in-one solution so they purchase lots of smaller tools instead.

Either way, it’s a bit like renovating a house one room at time. You might start by replacing the floors, only to decide later that you want to knock down a wall in the living room or change the layout of your kitchen. Or, you might tear out the bathroom and redo it with the latest tiles and fixtures. Since there’s no overall plan, you end up with a hodge-podge of different styles that don’t really work together. Not to mention, you’re constantly living in a state of renovation with dust and tarps everywhere. And if you’re hiring professional help, it also ends up costing a lot more in the long run because you have to keep recruiting new firms instead of working with one contractor who can handle the whole job.

Unified EHS platforms

Instead of cobbling together single-point systems, the solution is to switch to a unified EHS platform. A unified platform, a.k.a. “all-in-one” or “comprehensive” system, centralizes and standardizes all of the different tools a team might use. This may include task and document management, audits and inspections, incidents and corrective actions, training tracking, environmental data management, sustainability reporting, SDS and chemical management, and so on.

Much like hiring a single contractor to handle the entire renovation, you’ll save money by working with a single software vendor. You’ll not only cut down on annual subscription fees, but you’ll also spend less overall for implementation, configuration, and training.

Beyond cost savings, you’ll see massive benefits in productivity and performance because all your data and activities are managed in one place. Instead of having to juggle different tools, your team can focus on the work that actually matters.

The verdict

It’s not hard to see that unified solutions are much more efficient and cost-effective than single-point solutions. However, they can also represent a significant upfront investment — particularly for small- to mid-size companies.

Luckily, there’s also a third option: modular software. Lisam’s EHS software, for example, is an all-in-one solution that is organized in modules that can be rolled out individually. Instead of having to purchase a full suite of tools all at once, you can start with only the solutions you need and add on as you go. So for example, you could start with just task and document management and reporting, and add incident management later on. The advantage here is that you’ll still be working with one unified platform and one vendor, but you have the flexibility to expand as your needs grow.

To learn more, request a demo or read about 3 simple ways to get started with EHS software.