Maya NikolovskiUncategorizedLeave a Comment


We’ve been involved in the design, development and implementation of enterprise- level software for over 20 years, which is why our team of experts put together this 10-part series on evaluating Enterprise-level software. We’ll cover topics ranging from security, data collection and reporting requirements, implementation resources, pricing / cost models and more, to ensure your next enterprise software deployment is a success. You can also download the entire Evaluating Enterprise-level Software whitepaper here

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Last week we looked at the importance of discovering whether the new enterprise software you’re considering meets your reporting requirements. Does the solution you’re evaluating meet these requirements? Let’s move on to the language requirements of your organization. 

Officially – or unofficially – most companies have a designated corporate ‘operating’ language used for company-wide communication and reporting. However, that doesn’t mean that most companies operate solely in one language.

In fact, many companies today – large and small – operate in numerous countries, cultures and languages. Top business languages worldwide include English, Chinese, Spanish, Arabic,  German, and many more. Large companies are embracing the multilingual trend internally and in their product offerings. Amazon recently announced that Alexa will be available in “multilingual” mode in the US, Canadian and Indian markets. 

So, when considering a software solution that will be used by many across your company, make sure it will work for all users regardless of language.

Furthermore, make sure that the solution doesn’t just offer a multilingual user interface but is truly multi- lingual and will allow your team to use the solution (e.g. complete and report audits or inspections) in their own language.

When considering and enterprise-level solution for your business, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is the product interface offered in multiple languages and those that your business needs?
  • Can you add your own languages and translations to the solution?
  • Can data be collected (e.g. conduct audits and inspections) in any language?
  • Can data be reported (e.g. report audit and inspection results) in any language?

Next week, we’ll continue our series on evaluating enterprise software by exploring the central administration capabilities of the software. 

Ps. if you want access to the full whitepaper today, you can download it here.

Maya NikolovskiUncategorizedLeave a Comment


We’ve been involved in the design, development and implementation of enterprise- level software for over 20 years, which is why our team of experts put together this 10-part series on evaluating Enterprise-level software. We’ll cover topics ranging from security, data collection and reporting requirements, implementation resources, pricing / cost models and more, to ensure your next enterprise software deployment is a success. You can also download the entire Evaluating Enterprise-level Software whitepaper here

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Last week we looked at the importance of discovering whether the new enterprise software you’re considering can be used for multiple purposes. Does the solution you’re evaluating meet these requirements? Let’s move on to the reporting capabilities of the software you’re evaluating for your organization.  

Without a doubt, one of the most important factors to evaluate when considering enterprise-level software is reporting. Are you buying into a solution that has fabulous data entry options, a slick user interface and end- user bells and whistles – but that has limited capability to report the data you have collected?

Beware – all software solutions are not created equal and one of the most important factors to consider is whether the solution will provide you – and all users in your business – with data they need to actually improve compliance, performance and risk management.

Consider the following when it comes to your reporting requirements: 

  • Can you create user-specific dashboards for your own metrics, analytics and graphs or do you have to rely on canned/set reports?
  • Can you report across all audit/inspection data (regardless of where it was in the business it was entered) to get key metrics for your entire business in one view?
  • Does the solution include a business intelligence (i.e. Microsoft PowerBI, Tableau, etc.) analytics tool or do you have to export data or use external third-party reporting tools to generate the aggregated enterprise-level metrics, analytics and reports you will need?Certainty Software BI Dashboard
  • Does the solution allow for enterprise-wide data roll up and drill through reporting? Can you report enterprise-level metrics, analytics and reporting by:
    1. Site (e.g. location, project, store, lab, facility, etc.)
    2. Site Groups (e.g. Business Units, Divisions, Regions, etc.) User
    3. User Groups (e.g. Safety Managers, Contractors, Shifts, etc.)
    4. Checklist (i.e. audit, inspection, observation, etc.) Question Sets
    5. Questions Answers

Certainty Dashboard

  • If the many reporting tools don’t provide what you need, or you have unique/custom reporting requirements, can (and will) the solution provider create custom reports for you?
  • Does the solution offer automated report subscription services that can email reports to those who are not licensed (or regular) users of the system (i.e. Executive Managers, C-level team members, etc.)?

Next week, we’ll continue our series on evaluating enterprise software by exploring the language requirements of your business. 

Ps. if you want access to the full whitepaper today, you can download it here.

Maya NikolovskiAudit software, Behavior based safety, Certainty software, EHS Software, Enterprise software, Inspection management, Loss prevention audit, Quality audits, Safety audits, Safety inspection, UncategorizedLeave a Comment


We’ve been involved in the design, development and implementation of enterprise- level software for over 20 years, which is why our team of experts put together this 10-part series on evaluating Enterprise-level software. We’ll cover topics ranging from security, data collection and reporting requirements, implementation resources, pricing / cost models and more, to ensure your next enterprise software deployment is a success. You can also download the entire Evaluating Enterprise-level Software whitepaper here

Last week we looked at the importance of customization before considering new enterprise software. Does the solution meet your customization requirements? Let’s move on to the importance of multi-purpose software for your organization. 

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There are many enterprise-level software solutions that have been designed for a single use activity or discipline and will only ever be used for that activity in your business. HR software and financial accounting software are typical examples. 

In these cases, regardless of the people or currencies involved, the processes – and software used to manage them – remains the same across your business. There is likely no applicability for HR or financial accounting software outside of the HR and Finance Departments.

This, however, is not the case for many other enterprise-level solutions.  When considering a solution to solve your team’s (or department’s) problem, you should consider giving it the best chance of buy-in, support and long-term success. Accomplish this by choosing a tool that can easily be configured for your workflow and problem but that can also meet the needs of other teams and departments with similar workflows and problems.

Enterprise-level solutions for assessing, reporting and managing compliance, risk or performance are a great example. The audit and inspection protocols and checklists may change depending on the discipline involved, but the process and workflow is essentially the same.

 You assess compliance, risk or performance against a set of predetermined questions or protocols and rectify/resolve/manage issues and non-conformances identified. The only thing that really changes is the questions and checklists themselves.

As such, when assessing the viability of a software solution to meet the needs of a discipline or department in your business, improve the probability of long-term success by ensuring that the solution you are considering will work for others like you across your business.

If, for example you are looking for an enterprise-level audit and inspection management solution to improve risk, compliance and performance, make sure the solution will work for all of the audits and inspections needs of your business including:

  • Safety Audits (jobsite safety, behavioral based safety, food safety, etc.)
  • Incident Reporting & Investigations
  • Quality Assurance and Control Audits
  • Environmental and Sustainability Audits
  • Supply Chain Compliance Audits
  • Process Control Inspections
  • Cleaning, Inspection and Lubrication (CIL) Inspections
  • Facility and Maintenance Inspections
  • Vehicle and Equipment Inspections
  • Loss Prevention Audits
  • Certification (ISO, GMP, etc.) Audits
  • Risk Assessments
  • Etc…

Next week, we’ll continue our series on evaluating enterprise software by exploring the reporting requirements of your business. 

Ps. if you want access to the full whitepaper today, you can download it here.

Maya NikolovskiAudit software, Behavior based safety, Certainty software, Enterprise software, Loss prevention audit, Quality audits, Safety audits, UncategorizedLeave a Comment


We’ve been involved in the design, development and implementation of enterprise- level software for over 20 years, which is why our team of experts put together this 10-part series on evaluating Enterprise-level software. We’ll cover topics ranging from security, data collection and reporting requirements, implementation resources, pricing / cost models and more, to ensure your next enterprise software deployment is a success. You can also download the entire Evaluating Enterprise-level Software whitepaper here

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Last week we looked at the importance of knowing your data integration requirements  before considering new Enterprise Software. Does the solution meet your data integration needs? Let’s move on to how the software can be customized for your business. 

When evaluating an enterprise-level software solution for your company, another key factor to consider is customization and the needs of your own team compared to the features of the solution in question.

Customized… or “out of the box” ready for all your needs?

Of course, if customization is not possible, then you must make sure that the solution in question meets virtually all your foreseeable needs right ‘out of the box’. If it doesn’t meet 100% of your needs, make sure that any needs not met i.e. features not available (especially reporting) are not critical to the success of your project

Who will customize the solution?

If, as is the case with most enterprise-level solutions, customization is possible, make sure you understand what can be customised by your own project team and System Administrators and what must be customized by the solution provider themselves. 

Also, in instances where only the solution provider can customize, make sure the scope and cost for that customization are within your budget and ensure that the provider is responsive to your needs and that they can be met in a timely fashion.

Can you access the data you need?

Another key factor related to customization is reporting. While most enterprise-level software solutions now have a wide range of reporting options, the larger the business the more likely you will have unique and unavoidable reporting requirements not met by standard canned report options. From monthly Executive Management Reports to Department-Specific KPI reports, make sure the key data you need can actually be provided and if not, is custom reporting offered to meet your needs?

Can it meet most of the needs of your users over time?

Lastly, and as it is unlikely any enterprise solution will even meet 100% of the needs of 100% of its users – and your needs will likely mature and change over time – you should ensure that at least some customization is possible even if not needed in the earlier stages of your project.

Remember though, when it comes to customization, increased customizability of a software solution typically means an increased level of user training and product knowledge will be required and thus there is ultimately a natural trade off (and inverse relationship between) customizability and ease of use.

Here are some additional things to consider with respect to customization:

  • Does the solution meet 100% of your project’s needs and if not, is customization possible?
  • If customization is possible, how much can your team (i.e. your team’s System Administrators) change on their own and how much must be customized by your solution provider?
  • If your solution provider must do some or all of the customization required, how much do they charge, is that within your project budget and how long will that customization take for delivery?
  • Does the solution provide custom reporting options if needed?
  • Is there a comfortable balance between customizability and ease of use for your team?
  • Can you customize the look and feel of the solution to match that of your company’s own logos and colors to increase user acceptance, uptake and thus project success?
  • Are you able to customize and define that the access privileges your users will need – enterprise-wide? While some enterprise-level solutions let your Administrators define exactly where users have access and exactly what type of access (view, edit, delete) they have, many solutions only allow for the use of canned or set access privileges.

Next week, we’ll continue our series on evaluating enterprise software by exploring whether the software you’re evaluating can be used for multiple purposes. 

Ps. if you want access to the full whitepaper today, you can download it here.

 

Maya NikolovskiUncategorizedLeave a Comment


We’ve been involved in the design, development and implementation of enterprise- level software for over 20 years, which is why our team of experts put together this 10-part series on evaluating Enterprise-level software. We’ll cover topics ranging from security, data collection and reporting requirements, implementation resources, pricing / cost models and more, to ensure your next enterprise software deployment is a success. You can also download the entire Evaluating Enterprise-level Software whitepaper here

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Last week we looked into the how to evaluate your data collection needs & requirements before considering new Enterprise Software. So let’s assume the solution being evaluated meets your data collection needs. Great!

The next step is now to look at how data will be integrated with your current systems.

The lifeblood of any business today is data.

And managing this data can be a huge challenge. Given the specialized nature of most corporate-level software packages, rarely is all the enterprise-level data needed to manage business risk, performance and compliance stored in a single database or even single location. Finance, HR, safety, production, maintenance… etc. All of these departments have their own data and data integration requirements.

When implementing new enterprise level software, integration with the software solutions used to collect, collate, store and report that data is hugely important for any organization.

Whether it is integrating to create enterprise-wide (and multi-data source) performance dashboards, enable Single Sign-On (SSO) to your network environment or linking with HR databases to avoid the time and cost of managing user data in multiple locations, it is very rare these days that an enterprise-level software solution is standalone.

As such, it is virtually essential that any solution you aim to use across your business can integrate with other enterprise software solutions for numerous reasons. Consider the following:

  1. Security: How secure is the data source and the proposed integration? Are industry-leading encryption standards being used? In this age of data breaches, your organization can’t afford to overlook this point.
  2. Reporting: Having data isn’t enough – your organization also needs to be able to leverage this data to make important decisions and report to stakeholders. How easy is it to access reports? Can non-technical managers and staff also access these reports easily?
  3. Overall Efficiency: Is the process of data integration of the enterprise software you’re evaluating straightforward? Will it work with the existing processes of your organization?

See if the enterprise software solution that you’re evaluating is able to checkoff these boxes:

  • Does the solution provide for integration if needed?
  • If you expect to have a large user community (i.e. >100 users), can the solution integrate directly with your HR database, so you don’t have to update user details in both locations as it changes over time?
  • Can the solution accept periodic (even daily or hourly) data uploads (such as HR database updates or checklist dropdown lookup data)?
  • Do you want users to be logged in automatically when authenticated to your corporate network environment and if so, does the solution provide for Single Sign-On (SSO) using an assertion protocol compatible with your infrastructure?
  • Will you need data from the proposed solution to be available in other ERP or business intelligence reporting tools for corporate-level reporting (e.g. executive management, board reports)?
  • Will data from other ERP or corporate databased be needed for reporting in the proposed solution?

 

Next week, we’ll continue our series on evaluating enterprise software by exploring the customizability of your new software.

Ps. if you want access to the full whitepaper today, you can download it here.

Maya NikolovskiAudit software, Behavior based safety, Enterprise software, Inspection management, Quality audits, Quality management, Safety audits, Safety inspection, Safety management, UncategorizedLeave a Comment


We’ve been involved in the design, development and implementation of enterprise- level software for over 20 years, which is why our team of experts put together this 10-part series on evaluating Enterprise-level software. We’ll cover topics ranging from security, data collection and reporting requirements, implementation resources, pricing / cost models and more, to ensure your next enterprise software deployment is a success. You can also download the entire Evaluating Enterprise-level Software whitepaper here

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Last week we looked into the various factors you should ask your IT department before considering new Enterprise Software. So let’s assume the solution being evaluated meets the data accessibility, privacy and security requirements of your discerning IT department. 

Now, do the data collection capabilities meet the needs of your users throughout your business?

The larger a business, the more likely they are to be multinational, multilingual and – by nature – diverse. Similarly, the larger a business, the more likely it is that there will be a need for multiple data input options (e.g. browser, app, paper) to meet differing needs, constraints or limitations across the business and its user base. Don’t automatically assume that all users will have the same technology. 

For example: 

  • Some users may not have a company cell phone or device they can use for work.
  • Some users may have connectivity issues (e.g. poor or no cell coverage, no Wi-Fi connectivity, limited or no internet access). 
  • Some users may face safety or security constraints (i.e. can’t use cell phones due to risk of explosion, cleanrooms, etc.).

As such, an enterprise-level solution (especially one for activities like field audits and mobile inspections) should provide for as many data input options as needed to meet the constraints/limitations of your business and all users needing to collect, manage and report data.

Enterprise level data entry options to consider

Evaluating your data collection needs and requirements: 

  1. Does the solution provide for all the data collection needs of your users?
  2. Do all users have smartphones or devices (and are they willing/able to use them for work-related activities) and if not, what other data collection options are available? 
  3. Are there areas in your business where mobile devices cannot be used (e.g. cleanrooms, explosive environments)?
  4. Do people work in the field and possibly in areas without cell, Wi-Fi or internet connectivity? This doesn’t just apply to remote workers – even in urban areas, workers who are underground, or in enclosed concrete spaces without windows can also experience a lack of connectivity. 
  5. Is the solution’s app (for mobile use on smartphones and devices) readily available from primary app sources (i.e. iTunes, Google Play)?
  6. Is there an additional cost to download  or use the solution’s app? Furthermore, is there an additional cost per user? 
  7. Is there a browser-based data entry option for laptops, PC’s and internet-connected devices?
  8. Will the operating systems of your users’ devices (i.e. iOS, Android, Windows) be compatible with the solution’s app? 
  9. Is there a need for printable, paper-based data entry using scan-to-email in areas without connectivity and/or where it is impractical to use devices, laptops, and PCs?
  10. Do you have complex data input requirements that would be better met with Excel import features?

Next week, we’ll continue our series on evaluating enterprise software by exploring the integration requirements of your new software. 

Ps. if you want access to the full whitepaper today, you can download it here.

Maya NikolovskiAudit software, Certainty software, EHS Software, Enterprise software, Inspection management, Quality audits, Safety audits, Safety management, UncategorizedLeave a Comment


We’ve been involved in the design, development and implementation of enterprise- level software for over 20 years, which is why our team of experts put together this 10-part series on evaluating Enterprise-level software. We’ll cover topics ranging from security, data collection and reporting requirements, implementation resources, pricing / cost models and more, to ensure your next enterprise software deployment is a success. You can also download the entire Evaluating Enterprise-level Software whitepaper here

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All enterprise-wide software projects are led, managed or at the very least approved (or denied) by your company’s IT department. So, don’t waste time evaluating a solution the IT department would never approve. First make sure the solution will meet the data access, privacy and security needs of your business and your business’s IT gatekeepers and guardians! 

If your company is considering deploying cloud-based software – SaaS or otherwise – there are a number of items that should be considered by your IT team as the first step to evaluation. 

Here are the top 16 factors you’ll want your IT department to consider: 

  1. Will the software vendor be able to meet the technical due diligence requirements of your own IT department? Each IT department’s requirements will differ, but departmental standards should always be upheld.
  2. Does your company have an IT security risk assessment questionnaire, and will the solution meet those requirements (e.g. vulnerability, recoverability, data protection, virus & malware protection, intrusion detection, etc.)
  3. Different industries have different regulations. Do their hosting and data security practices meet the data security requirements of your own business and IT department?
  4. Does the solution provider conduct (and can they provide evidence of) regular vulnerability and penetration assessments on their own software and server environments (i.e. both web interface and network infrastructure)?
  5. Is accessibility protected against distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks? Make sure you’re protecting your business from downtime and potential lost revenue.
  6. Does the hosting environment have redundant firewalls to protect against malware and intrusion?
  7. Do their backups (and schedules), redundancy and disaster recovery practices meet the standards required by your own business’s IT department?
  8. Do you know where (and in what legal jurisdiction) your data is stored and does that meet the data storage requirements of your business? In some industries – for example, governmental organizations – this is extremely important.
  9. Is the solution hosted with a third party and if so, are they reputable and do they meet the needs of your IT department and business?
  10. Do you know who has access to your data? Is it only the service provider or is it also employees and third parties?
  11. Are service provider employees that have access to your data vetted and are they bound by a Code of Ethics and non-disclosure agreements?
  12. Is your company’s data stored completely separately from that of other clients’ data and if not, what protections are in place to ensure data privacy?
  13. Is the solution (and provider) compliant with the latest international data privacy regulations such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations or Canada’s PIPEDA? This is important to ask if you want to avoid huge fines and remain compliant.
  14. Will the service level (uptime) meet the needs of your business and does the provider have a software service level agreement (SLA) for review by your legal team?
  15. Has the database been designed for scalability? Make sure your software can grow with your business.
  16. Does the provider have – and can they readily provide copies of – their own data security policies and procedures including:
    • Antivirus Policy Code of Ethics
    • Cross Border Personal Data Transfer Procedure
    • Data Protection Policy;
    • Data Protection and Audit Polity
    • Data Subject Access Request Procedure
    • Employee Code of Conduct
    • IT Disaster Recovery and Service Continuity Plan Security Incident Response Procedures
    • Media Sanitation & Destruction Policy

Only after these questions have been addressed can your organization move on to the next step of enterprise software deployment:  evaluation your data collection requirements. 

In the next article of our series on Evaluating Enterprise Software we’ll look at just that.

Ps. if you want access to the full whitepaper today, you can download it here

 

Hewitt RobertsCertainty software, EHS Software, Safety data, UncategorizedLeave a Comment


Register now for one of our free webinars.

 

Certainty Software BI Dashboard

Get the most out of Business Intelligence reporting with Certainty!

The latest release of Certainty Software includes a new Business Intelligence reporting tool. Based on Microsoft’s PowerBI technology, this tool is one of the world’s most powerful enterprise-level dashboard reporting tools available.

To help you and your team take advantage of this powerful new reporting tool, throughout April we are offering a number of Basic and Advanced training sessions.

The Basic session (30 mins) covers using the new BI tool in your instance of Certainty, using BI dashboards and graphs, filtering and exporting data.

The Advanced session (30 mins) covers using the Microsoft PowerBI Desktop tools to connect to new data sources, creating and/or customizing your BI dashboards and publishing new dashboards to your instance of Certainty Software.

Register now!

 

Basic BI reporting with Certainty - webinar registration April 17

Basic BI reporting with Certainty - webinar registration April 24

Advanced BI reporting with Certainty - webinar registration April 18

Advanced BI reporting with Certainty - webinar registration April 25

 

 

Alex EckartBehavior based safety, Certainty software, Safety observation, UncategorizedLeave a Comment


The corporate world is full of business improvement programs. Sometimes their adoption is a must to survive in a competitive industry or market, other times they are a passing phase better avoided. Good or bad, essential or avoidable, business improvement programs will undoubtedly have both pros and cons and behavior based safety (BBS) is no different.

 

If implemented correctly – with sufficient leadership commitment, a BBS program will definitely improve safety, morale and productivity. However, as is the case with all enterprise -level initiatives, there are both pros and cons to be considered – BBS is no different. Here are some of the pros and cons to consider for the successful implementation of a BBS program:

Con: Observations can get lost in the weeds. Management can become too focused on observations, thinking that a large amount of worker monitoring is the key. The truth is that observations are only a piece of the puzzle – what’s more important is how this data is used to change the safety behavior of a company.

Con: BBS takes attention away from technical and engineering improvements to safety. This is only if management thinks a behavior based approach to safety is all that they need. In truth, a BBS program is best paired with a variety of safety initiatives.

Con: These programs make it very easy for management to “blame the worker”. Because these programs focus on the behaviors of workers, it’s an easy place for management to place the blame. A good safety leader would recognize that their employee’s decisions are based on the training, incentives, and environment that management may (or may not) have provided.

Pro: BBS is an opportunity to create a positively reinforced safety program. A common mistake of safety professionals is to focus only on correcting unsafe behaviors, assuming that’s the only approach to eliminating workplace accidents. BBS programs are intended to also identify safe behaviors, reward those doing them and promote exemplary behavior.

Pro: Technology can take safety to a new level. Because BBS aims for a holistic approach to safety, it’s important to collect all your observations and data under one umbrella. This will allow safety professionals to notice unsafe trends and see the results of their safety initiatives.

Pro: Behavior Based Safety brings the workers who are most likely to have an accident to the conversation about safety. It’s an opportunity for everyone to contribute their ideas about safety. An effective BBS program has 100% employee buy-in. A shared responsibility towards safety is the only way to deliver lasting and beneficial results.

Like any business improvement program, from a ‘certifiable management system’ to a ‘change management program’, the implementation of any corporate performance improvement program will require commitment and resources; will have supporters and detractors; and will have pros and cons.

In all cases though, when it comes to programs that involve people (i.e. a BBS program), you get out what you put in. Success will be dependent on the commitment provided by leadership to the program, its outcomes and those involved in it.