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EHS MANAGEMENT BLOG

5 Biggest Tech Headaches For EHS Teams

At its best, technology has the power to improve collaboration, boost productivity, and enhance business intelligence. 

Too often, though, outdated or inadequate technology gets in the way of getting the job done. That can cause some serious headaches for your EHS team.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent or relieve most tech headaches. Understanding what's causing your pain will help you more accurately diagnose the problem and determine the proper course of action.

The most common technology problems experienced by EHS teams can be grouped into five key areas: 

1. Manual data entry (and re-entry)

Manually entering data from paper forms into an electronic system is time-consuming and expensive. This is especially true if you have to re-enter that data into multiple different systems. The longer employees spend entering data, the less time they actually spend on their primary job. 

In fact, 60% of workers estimate they could save six hours a week if data entry tasks were automated. At an hourly rate of $27, that translates to over $8,000 per year for a single EHS technician! 

>>> Solution: Automate your data entry

2. Siloed data

Having business information ‘siloed’, or stored in multiple disparate systems, is another common pain point. Siloed data makes reporting difficult, because employees have to toggle between different systems to gather the necessary information. 

Today, organizations are using an average of 37 different tools to run their day-to-day operations. Spreadsheets, Access databases, and process-specific applications like inspection or incident management systems are just a few of the tools EHS departments frequently use to manage their data.

>>> Solution: Consolidate your software tools

3. Legacy systems

Technology is moving faster than ever before, and it's getting harder for homegrown systems to keep up.

According to NAEM, outdated software was the main reason EHS leaders were shopping for a new system. In fact, nearly half (46%) of buyers said they were looking to update an aging system. 

Freezes, bugs, and crashes are all common symptoms of outdated software. Not only is this annoying, but it can also leave your company vulnerable to cyberattacks since hackers tend to target out-of-date systems. 

>>> Solution: Replace legacy software with a more modern system

NAEM EHS Research ReportsSource: NAEM EHS & Sustainability Software Buyers Guide

4. Lack of mobile capability

Mobile apps have been around for quite a while, but with the rise of remote work, they’ve taken on a new significance. Employees need to be able to access their data anytime, anywhere — whether that’s an oil rig off the coast of Louisiana, or their living room.  

A survey by Gartner revealed that 82% of company leaders plan to let employees work remotely at least some of the time after COVID-19. Likewise, nearly half (43%) will grant employees flex days going forward. In any case, mobile apps are going to play an important role in the future of work. 

>>> Solution: Invest in mobile EHS apps

5. Cybersecurity

The rise of remote work has also amplified concerns about cybersecurity. 

According to CSO’s Pandemic Impact survey, 26% of security leaders say they’ve seen an increase in cyberattacks since the pandemic started. What’s more, 61% have expressed concerns about cyberattacks specifically targeting work-from-home employees. Case in point: A series of recent phishing attacks were aimed at stealing credentials for Microsoft Office 365, a popular tool for remote workers. 

With WFH likely to be the new norm for at least some EHS employees, it’s clear that bad actors will continue to be a huge threat to organizations of all sizes. 

>>> Solution: Take steps to secure your EHS data

CSO Pandemic Impact Report

Source: CSO Pandemic Impact Report

Outlook

Tech headaches are unfortunately common, and most people will experience them from time to time. Sometimes these headaches are a minor or occasional nuisance; often, though, they're a symptom of a bigger problem. By properly diagnosing the problem, you’ll be able to relieve the pain as quickly as possible so you can get back to work. 

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