If you've been considering EHS software, then you've probably heard people talking about "the cloud" or "cloud-based software".
With all the buzz around the cloud, you may be wondering what exactly cloud-based EHS software is, or why it matters.
We're here to answer some of the most common questions about this popular technology.
What is cloud-based EHS software?
In simple terms, cloud-based EHS software is software that runs on the Internet instead of locally on your computer. You access both the software and your data through a web browser like Google Chrome or Foxfire.
Some examples of cloud-based software you might be familiar with include:
- Google Docs
- Office 365
What are the benefits of cloud-based EHS software?
As we mentioned, cloud-based EHS software runs on the Internet instead of locally on your computer.
To understand why that’s important, let’s back up a moment: Before cloud computing, software implementations were costly, time-consuming affairs.
Organizations had to host software on their own computers and servers. You paid for a license for each user and installed the software on all your company's computers using a CD. You also had to purchase and maintain server hardware and lab space, and hire IT staff to handle maintenance and upgrades.
With cloud software, on the other hand, all you need is an internet connection. You typically only pay for what you use, so you can keep costs low and scale as your business needs change.
The biggest advantage of cloud-based EHS software is the savings you’ll notice. Cloud-based software eliminates the expense of buying server hardware, running a lab space, and staffing it with IT personnel. It also eliminates the expense of security, maintenance, and upgrades.
Less burden on IT
In addition to cost savings, cloud-based software puts less demand on your IT department. As a result, you have access to software that is always available and up-to-date.
Data access & accuracy
Another advantage of cloud-based EHS software is that it gives users across your organization access to the same information from anywhere, at any time.
Just like Google photos lets you snap a picture on your phone and then open it later on your laptop, cloud-based EHS solutions allow you to capture and access data from anywhere. When you make updates on one device, those changes reflect across the entire system.
Some cloud-based solutions are also available as mobile apps.
Another advantage of cloud-based software is that you can get up and running quickly. In fact, some cloud solutions can be implemented in as little as two weeks.
Finally, cloud-based software gives you the flexibility to scale as you grow. You can add on features and users at any time, so you never have to worry about outgrowing your system.
Who is using cloud-based EHS software?
The vast majority of EHS leaders view cloud deployment as an acceptable option, according to a recent Verdantix survey. Organizations with 10-1,000+ employees are using cloud-based EHS software.
Cloud software is especially valuable for small- to mid-size companies because it offers access to a full suite of EHS solutions for a fraction of the cost of traditional on-premise systems. What’s more, cloud solutions give companies the flexibility to scale their software as their business grows.
Important terms to know
Every field has its own lingo, and cloud-based software is no exception. In order to communicate effectively with software vendors and your IT team, here are some common terms you should know:
Software as a Service (SaaS): SaaS allows you to access the software remotely over the internet for an annual or monthly subscription fee. The provider takes care of hosting, maintenance, security, and updates.
Subscription: A monthly or annual fee paid upfront to access the software. This typically (but not always) includes the cost of ongoing maintenance upgrades.
Customization: Making changes to the software at the database architecture level. This usually involves some degree of custom coding. Some examples of customization include adding a new feature that doesn't exist yet, or adding rules to fields that are unique to each customer.
Configuration: The ability to change the look and feel of the software without changing the underlying code. Usually this is done by using administrative options and modules. Some examples of configuration include changing user roles and permissions, or adding, removing, and rearranging dashboard reports.
Deployment: All the processes involved in getting new software up and running, such as installation, configuration, and testing.
Onboarding: The process of helping new users acquire the knowledge, skills, and behaviors to get “up and running” and make the most of a software.
User Adoption: The acceptance and use of a new software system.
What is the future of cloud-based EHS software?
Developments in cloud-based EHS software are promising. New approaches for data integration, analytics, reporting and mobility are dramatically simplifying the way companies implement and use EHS software. To learn more, check out this article on EHS 3.0.
Your next steps
Now that you know what cloud-based EHS software is and how it can benefit your organization, you might be interested to learn more about the solutions that are available.
Perillon is a cloud-based EHS software that helps you save time, reduce risk, and prevent unwanted events. If you’re looking for a simple, affordable EHS software system, learn more about our solutions or request a free demo today.