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How to Create an Effective EHS Big Data Strategy

Do you have an EHS big data strategy in place?

Creating a big data strategy can help you get more from your data so you can reduce risks, lower costs, and seize new business opportunities.

In this post, we’ll guide you through 3 steps to start planning and creating an effective big data strategy for your organization.

What is a big data strategy?

A big data strategy is an organization's overall game plan to store, analyze, and use data for business decision-making.

Creating a big data strategy for EHS

Set SMART goals

Before you start with big data, it’s important to know what you want to accomplish. Setting goals will help you stay focused and make the most of your time and resources.

Why are you doing big data in the first place? What would success with big data look like for your organization? What metrics will help you measure your progress? What is your time frame?

Setting SMART goals is one way to bring structure and clarity to your objectives. SMART goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measureable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-based

Organizations often have goals for compliance, risk, sustainability, and safety performance. Some examples of SMART environmental, health and safety goals:

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated by ABC Corp facilities by 30% by 2023.
  • Improve on-time completion rate of assigned follow-up actions related to environmental, health and safety incidents by 10% by the end of Q4.
  • Reduce the number of lost-time injuries by 10% by 2020.

Identify data sources

Now, it’s time to figure out what data you’re actually dealing with for your big data strategy.

Most organizations are already collecting lots of data, even if they don’t yet have a strategy for using it. Taking the time to identify all these sources of data will help you figure out how best to organize and utilize your data and map it to your data goals.

Big data can come from internal or external sources. Internal data is generated within the company, while external data is collected from outside the company. Both kinds of data can be useful to your organization.

For example, some common sources of internal EHS data include:

Examples of external EHS data:

  • Utility bills
  • Customer surveys
  • Climate and weather predictions
  • Industry benchmarks

Implement an analytics platform

Once you’ve determined all your data sources, you’ll need to identify the tools that can help you collect, analyze, and make sense of it all.

The best way to do that, as many organizations have found, is by implementing a software system that’s designed to handle high volumes of data. An analytics platform (such as Perillon) lets you focus on using your data, not wrangling it.

Having the right tools in place makes a big difference in the success of your big data strategy. Modern software enables real-time data analysis, so you get insights right away. It helps you visualize your data for better decision-making. It also helps keep your data assets secure, which is an important consideration for any data-driven organization.

One note: Many big data analytics tools are only usable by data scientists as they involve highly esoteric and complex algorithms, warns tech analyst Datamation. With that in mind, be sure to look for an analytics platform that is user-friendly.

Your next steps

By following the steps above, you can set your organization up for success with big data. To learn more, check out this article on how big data is changing EHS management.

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