How Are EHS Consultants Improving Their Efficiency Of Project Delivery Through Digital?

Digitizing its value proposition is top priority for an EHS consultancy targeting business growth over the next five years. Which direct benefits does digitization translate to? Verdantix has found that firms’ top driver for using EHS consultants is “improving efficiency of project delivery,” with 86% of the 127 EHS consultants who responded to our survey perceiving this as a very significant or significant driver. So, any innovation focused on gaining project efficiencies merits attention. This is particularly true when a consulting firm intends to standardize a specific innovation across its practise areas. In order to enact such change, practise leaders throughout the firm must engage with digitization and leadership must work to maintain the momentum for all global locations.

One example of this is ERM and its new NEXUS technology platform—launched in December 2018—to digitally enable its site investigation and risk assessment (SIRA) projects. Within ERM, the $100 million in revenue SIRA business practice includes 1,200 employees and serves global customers. NEXUS serves as a single data management platform for end-to-end workflow across a project’s lifetime. To date, ERM has piloted NEXUS on multiple SIRA projects across Australia, Brazil, Europe, India, Mexico, South Africa and the US. Over the next six months, ERM plans to scale these local initiatives to a global level, transforming NEXUS into a standardised tool for SIRA deployments among its EHS consultants. Beyond SIRA, ERM is advancing the digital development of NEXUS across more internal activities, including tech-enabled merger and acquisition services, and due diligence projects.

To date, ERM’s deployment of NEXUS has significantly reduced project timelines. For example, the firm reduced the time to complete a groundwater sampling activity from four to six weeks down to only two to three days. Now, ERM can use the time saved in data collection to enhance its data interpretation and analysis. ERM’s investment in NEXUS has huge potential for business growth and provides an avenue to develop a data centre that collects information from innovative tech integrations including drones and IoT sensors for air, water and worker safety.

NEXUS by ERM also enables digital workflow through third-party integrations including EarthSoft’s EQuIS—an environmental data management software—and ESRI’s ArcGIS—a spatial analytics and mapping software. The NEXUS Field Data Collection mobile app enables automated upload of data collected in the field onto the NEXUS platform. ERM’s end-to-end NEXUS platform includes functionality for investigation scoping, continuous risk analysis, colour-coded viewing of progress on visual maps, and automatic report development for client deliverables. Individual clients can access NEXUS to directly interact with data and review interim project deliverables. ERM has found that this functionality enables real-time strategic prioritisation of project activities based on the EHS risks that its consultants analyse throughout a project.

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