Who Are the Typical Stakeholders in Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Digital Solutions Implementations? What Are Their Goals and Interests?
Posted: July 5th, 2022Authors: Julie T.
One of the keys to successfully implementing a new EHS digital solution is to understand who the critical stakeholders are and their goals and priorities. Understanding who the stakeholders are while implementing a digital solution can help you include the correct resources on the project team. The intention of this article is to start the process of identifying these key stakeholders by describing some typical groups and their goals. Below are some examples of groups within your organization that may seek input on the implementation of a digital solution – note that not every digital solution rollout will involve all the groups below and sometimes specific groups will have different priorities than the examples listed below.
Corporate users may include members from the executive leadership, corporate environmental, or the safety group. Corporate users could also be those who create and/or use a corporate report generated from the digital solution.
A corporate user’s primary goal may be that the data are transparent. Here are a few questions that stakeholders seeking transparency may ask.
- How easy is it to understand the source of the data or drill down to individual data points?
- How easy is it to understand what changes occur year over year and what causes those changes?
- Is the roll up of data into categories (perhaps by business line or geographic area) consistent and accurate enough to support corporate reporting or analysis?
- Does the system consistently handle data points for reporting? For example, is the system smart enough to not double count any data points?
Often corporate users have a goal that data be standardized across the organization. For example, sites with similar environmental compliance requirements should have a consistent number of compliance tasks, and the tasks should be named consistently across different sites. This allows a corporate user to compare data on the same basis (or “apples-to-apples” comparison). Consistent tasks across sites might allow a corporate user to search on a task name or keyword such as “inventory” to find all the tasks across sites related to emissions inventory reporting.
Site users are those who support specific sites with their EHS compliance needs.
User adoption is one of the critical measures of success for a new digital solution, so site users and any other end users are key stakeholders. The primary goal for a site user is often ease of use. When the user is interacting with the system daily or weekly, ease of use will bring efficiencies to site personnel. When the user is accessing the system less frequently, an easier to use system will help the user to remember how to navigate and perform tasks.
Secondary goals for site users include:
- Easy-to-review summarized data, which may include dashboards or automatically generated summary emails to help users know information relevant to them, such as items requiring completion or approval.
- Minimizing duplicate user tasks.
- Customizing the tool to the site conditions.
- For example, site users often would like to have the language for compliance tasks to be specific to the site – including specific locations or site-specific descriptions of compliance.
- Inspections may have a site-specific checklist.
- Ensuring the system is comprehensive.
- For example, no overlooked compliance requirements or missing emissions calculations.
- Minimizing the steps needed to get data to its required final form, such as formatting for reporting.
Some digital solutions require ongoing maintenance from the IT group (for example, rolling out upgrades to software tools). The IT group may also be a key stakeholder when it comes to integrating new digital solutions and existing systems such as PI ProcessBook, SAP, or Human Resources systems. In these cases, the IT group may also be a stakeholder.
Unsurprisingly, one of their primary goals may be ease of upkeep. For example, a tool that is closer to the standard out of the box configuration is often easier to upgrade than one that has been extensively customized. Another important consideration for IT groups is security. IT groups often have strict security-based requirements that can drive how a digital tool is implemented. IT groups also play a key role when integrating different systems such as personnel systems and system users or compliance tasking and work order systems.
An agency can be state or federal, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). If the digital solution will be used to create a report or other direct deliverable for an agency, then the agency is an indirect stakeholder of the implementation. In rare cases where the creation of the system may be part of a consent decree or formal audit finding reported to a regulatory agency, that agency may actually be a direct stakeholder.
Agencies are not included on the project team, but the data or report produced by the tool is reported either directly or indirectly to the agency. The top priorities for agencies are that the information that is reported is complete and accurate, and all data is in the correct format per the agency specifications. One important thing to note is that agency data/reporting specifications can change over time, which sometimes requires the tool or system be updated to match the current requirements.
For the success of implementing a new digital tool, it is important to identify key stakeholders and their goals. Understanding typical stakeholders can help you include the correct stakeholders on the project team and help you address their concerns and goals. Not all stakeholders will be a direct part of the project team, but all critical stakeholder needs and priorities must be addressed as part of a successful implementation.
This blog has provided a brief discussion of typical stakeholders in a digital solution implementation. ALL4’s Digital Solutions Practice has extensive experience helping client’s scope, select, implement, maintain, and upgrade various types of digital solutions. If you would like to discuss a digital solution for your company, please contact Julie Taccino at email@example.com or 281-201-1247.