You have set your budget to buy EHS software, you have narrowed the list and set up a few demos. Then how can you make the most out of those demos and make them help you decide? Especially that all vendors will come armed with personalized power points and fancy demos and even high-ranking executives.
We are here to help you figure it all out. So you can choose the best EH&S software for your company. All you must do is ask the following key questions at every demo!
1- How can your system help me solve my EHS challenges?
During the first phase of a demo, you will be evaluating vendors to determine which one can solve your problem the easiest way and with the lowest cost. Not which one has the slickest demo with hundreds of features only 20% of your users would use 20% of the time. Do not let them take your focus of the problem towards features.
2- Is it easy to use?
It is important for the software to be easy to make it easily diffusible to employees. Because the more employees use the software the more productivity will increase and management transparency too. Keep looking for software that a wide range of employees with different skills can use. And try to test if the software is user-friendly.
3- What kind of mobile capabilities does this software have?
It is very important that the software works offline and on any mobile system whether IOS or Android because some of your employees might need to use the app in the field where there will be no Wi-Fi connection.
4- How easy is reporting?
By using good software, you should be able to create reports within minutes using real-time data. If you must make reports about water, waste, or air … you should ask if the software includes a data warehouse tool.
5- Is the system self-configurable, without the need to go back to the vendor?
Try to avoid systems that require customization, it will be a waste of time having to implement and get data out of the system. You should be looking for a self-configurable system where you can manage your own dashboards and have control over permissions and create unlimited custom reports without the need to go back to the vendor.
6- Is it comprehensive? And can I start with safety and add environmental safety later?
Choose a software that can be rolled out in individual modules so you can start small and add on when you are ready instead of rolling out the entire software all at once, which might drain your resources and overwhelm your employees.
7- Can this system integrate with other tools like the ERP system?
It is important to know if the vendor can import or export EHS data to other systems. You will want to ask also if the vendor can import data from your spreadsheets or existing database into the system.
8- How much does it cost?
You have already set your budget, there is no need to waste your time evaluating software that is out of your budget. Ask the vendor about the true cost of ownership, including upgrades, configuration, and maintenance, adding additional users or features, and any other fees. They have to provide a simple pricing model and predictable costs.
9- How long does it take to implement and how much does it cost?
Search for software that can be implemented quickly and with a fixed price implementation. Implementation should take around 30 days or less for basic system activation and 45-90 days for a comprehensive system. First-year implementation fees should not be more than 0.5-1X the annual software fee. If the budget is a concern, ask if the system can be self-implemented.
10- Can the vendor help with the budget authorization and business justification process?
Your software provider will be your partner throughout the whole purchase and implementation process, so based on previous customer experience he should be able to present a model of anticipated ROI and payback.
11- What kind of training and support do you provide?
It is highly important to discuss the support provided and to know if there will be a dedicated account manager if the support will be provided by phone or by email, what kind of training will be made, and if there will be reference guides that you can go to after you’re up and running.
12- Why should we choose you over other EHS software vendors?
You must be considering many vendors and at this point, do not hesitate to be open and let the vendors know what other solutions you are looking for. And if they have good sense, they should know what their competitors are offering and tell you why they are the best to buy from and what makes their product different and better.
13- Can I try out the software before I make the decision?
Do not hesitate to ask for a trial period (usually between 2 weeks to 30 days to test the software yourself, share it with your team, and evaluate. Take the time to execute all common tasks, try to input some real data, set up reminders, log a complete inspection, and create a report.
In the end, ask for feedback and write down any question you have and bring it back to the vendor. You can start now by requesting a demo from Intellect.
Now that you’ve learned about the questions to ask during an EH&S demo, learn about the 7 questions to ask before buying QMS software.