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State of The Market: European EH&S Leaders’ Views on Information Technology

On November 8 and 9 Verdantix convened 140 EH&S, risk and sustainability leaders for our annual European EH&S information management summit in Amsterdam. With speakers from Amazon Europe, APM Terminals, Cobham, Engie, Gatwick Airport, ISS World Services, Keller Group, Nokia Submarine Networks, Philips, Scottish Power, and Stora Enso, there was plenty to chew on. So what’s top of mind for EH&S directors at many of Europe’s largest organizations?

European firms cover a vast spectrum of EH&S information management maturity. Whilst some large organizations are still seeking to move from paper documentation and Excel to a cost effective digital system, others in sectors like construction, transport and power demand sophisticated applications to facilitate the shift from lagging to leading indicators.

Customers believe that software vendors are delivering better integrated EH&S applications but these applications do not integrate sufficiently well with contiguous IT systems such as asset management databases, ERP and permit to work. This lack of connection to other corporate IT systems reflects a sales process focused exclusively on the needs of the EH&S function and not a broader operational remit.

Reflecting a buying concept defined by the needs of EH&S professionals without input from other stakeholders such as IT and production, vendors complained about the cookie cutter structure of Request For Proposal documents. The audience felt that this buy/sell process has locked the EH&S information management industry into a narrow discussion without enough innovation.

The Verdantix summit made it clear that there is huge scope for digital transformation of EH&S functions and processes in Europe. This is countered by the lack of innovative partnerships between customers and technology vendors and also by the price sensitivity of European buyers. The ninety-nine European respondents in the annual Verdantix EH&S global survey ranked software license costs, implementation costs and hosting costs as the second, third and fourth most important factors influencing their choice of EH&S software. This data was echoed by the summit participants.

Attendees walked away from the two day summit realizing that most large European organizations have just started their digital transformation journey. And there are many challenges to overcome to ensure investment takes place in EH&S digital transformation in 2017 and 2018.

If you missed the Amsterdam event, come to the Houston Verdantix EH&S Information Management Summit to find out how the “lower for longer” oil price will impact EH&S spending.