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SpheraCloud Represents Sphera’s First Major Step Towards Its Platform Of The Future

On October 23, 2017, EHS software provider Sphera introduced its new platform – SpheraCloud – to the audience at its annual user conference. This new cloud-based product is a modular offering built on Microsoft technology which will allow users to use individual applications that cover Sphera’s strengths end expertise in product stewardship, operational risk management and environmental management. The primary objective of SpheraCloud is to provide Sphera customers, prospective and existing alike, with newer, more refined interactions with Sphera’s 14 ‘core applications’ most of which are deployed on premise in customers’ own data centres. SpheraCloud also leverages technology and functionality gained from Sphera’s April 2017 acquisition of UK-based health and safety software provider Rivo Software. The platform is slated to go live in January 2018, and will have three modules available: Incident Management, Risk Assessment, and Platform Tools. Applications which span the spectrum of Sphera’s capabilities are scheduled to be released on the platform over the next three years.

Sphera’s existing customer base of oil and gas, chemicals and manufacturing firms have been waiting for innovation from the software provider for some time, especially as strategic investments in vendors like Cority, Intelex, SAI Global and VelocityEHS have driven a new wave of product innovation. The first challenge facing Sphera is getting its customers, most of which are using customized on-premise deployments of its core applications such as Struxure, opsInfo, Impact and Essential Suite, at least partially onto its new solution architecture. To ease this transition, Sphera has developed a ‘cloud connector’ to facilitate the transfer of data from legacy platforms to the cloud platform, and vice versa. This will give customers that want to use the improved user interface, new mobile capabilities, or module-to-module data sharing an opportunity to do so without tearing out the Sphera core applications that have potentially been on their servers for decades. With this in mind, it is important to note that Sphera will continue to support its legacy products, termed ‘core applications’ by Sphera for the foreseeable future. This is a sensible approach. Verdantix research shows that although EHS professionals are coming around to the idea of having their data hosted on the servers of an external third party – whether Amazon, Microsoft or Rackspace -- 30% still prefer on premise rollouts.

What does this mean for the EHS software market? It means that one of the largest and most influential actors in the arena, after a period operating in the shadows, is ready to leverage its massive resource base to make up any ground it might have lost with competitors and customers alike. This hybrid approach is the first step in Sphera’s march to a next-generation platform by 2021.

To learn more about the EHS industry, register for the upcoming Verdantix HSE Summit: Delivering Value With Innovative HSE Technologies in London on March 13-14, 2018.