How to Transition to Cloud-Based
EHS Compliance Software
Eager for improvement, but anxious about changing your compliance software process
Most EHS professionals recognize the benefits modern cloud-based EHS software in helping them handle incidents, action items, MOCs, training, and more. And yet, many are reluctant to make the switch because of the headache and uncertainty surrounding the transition process. EHS is a mission-critical function, and you can’t afford disruptions, delays, or mistakes coming from your IT system.
How you get to a modern software system depends in part on where you’re coming from:
- Paper files
- Locally installed software or databases
All of these starting points can lead to a successful implementation of modern EHS compliance software, but the paths to get there differ.
A fresh start with EHS Software
The simplest way to transition to new EHS compliance software is to set a cut-off date after which all data (training, action items, MOCs, etc.) will be entered into the new system. Tasks in the old system will be closed out over a period of time, at which point the legacy system can be fully retired.
The advantages to a fresh start are subtle, but significant: you leave behind any baggage associated with the old way of doing things (messy or redundant data, disorganization, etc.) and you can start up with the new system almost immediately. The drawbacks are that you’ll need to keep the old system running for a period of time while tasks are closed out. Historical data will continue to reside in the legacy system.
If you’re coming from paper files, this is almost always the best option. While it’s possible to scan or manually input data from printed paper forms into the new electronic system, this is incredibly time-consuming and introduces significant risk of human error.
Even if you’re coming from an electronic system – whether it’s spreadsheets, databases, or another software system – setting a cutoff date and starting fresh may still be the best option. Organizations often take the transition to modern EHS compliance software as an opportunity to re-examine and strengthen their existing procedures. These new, enhanced procedures may be too complex or simply incompatible with the legacy tools, but are right at home with modern EHS compliance software. By starting fresh, you can redesign your workflows, forms, categorizations, etc. around the more powerful options available in your new software tools rather perpetuate old, ineffective habits.
Migrating data from your existing system
Sometimes, the advantage of having all of your data in one place is worth the effort and potential downsides of the migration process.
Data can be consolidated into your new electronic system in two basic ways:
- Manual data entry
- Programmatically importing data
Manual Data Entry
If you’re coming from paper files, manual data entry is the only viable option. You’ll need to decide whether you want to enter all historical records or establish a cut-off date, such as the most recent two calendar years. You’ll also need to decide whether it’s acceptable to enter summary data into the new system or if you’re willing to commit the time needed to add the full details of all historical records.
Programmatically Importing Data
experienced EHS software partner can help you automatically bring your legacy data into your new system. It’s impractical to manual enter thousands or even millions of records, which is why Frontline offers automated solutions.
We can work with your IT and EHS departments to map data from your legacy system to the new system. Frontline’s EHS compliance software reflects best practices across our clients’ industries, which means there’s usually a close match with our client’s existing workflows and data fields. However, there will be slight differences that require human judgment. For example, a priority level of “Urgent” might simply mean that an event needs to be labeled with the “High Priority” label, or it could mean that it needs to be associated with a different workflow altogether. This mapping process can take a few days up to a few weeks based on the complexity of your legacy data.
After mapping of the legacy data to the new system is complete, our software engineers will set up a quality assurance (QA) site so that the data import can be tested. Once everyone agrees that the imported data looks good, we’ll set up a cut-off date (usually Friday evening or a weekend) to transition from the legacy system to the new one. On the cutoff date, you’ll send us the latest data files and we’ll complete the import. By Monday morning, your team can start using our EHS software without having to worry about maintaining the legacy system.
The full process can take as little as a week for simple data sets up to a couple of months for more complex requirements.
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