“Think globally, act locally” vs. “Think locally, act globally”

In Nov 2017, Verdantix predicted EHS software spending to reach $1.1B in 2017, growing at 9.3% CAGR to $1.7B by 2021.

In November 2017, the independent research firm Verdantix estimated that spending on EHS software would reach USD $1.1 billion in 2017 and that this will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 9.3 percent, reaching USD $1.7 billion in 2021. The chances are that your company has acquired, is in the process of acquiring or will start acquiring an enterprise EHS software solution.

When working with our strategic software partners, we frequently encounter a saying when it comes to the adoption of a new EHS management solution: “Think Globally, Act Locally.”

The saying implies adopting a solution centrally and then implementing it enterprise-wide. This can be a mammoth task. We have witnessed large multinational companies employ 10 people full-time over two years to ensure a successful software implementation…But even that is not a guarantee of success. Using the right implementation strategy from the beginning is crucial.

One critical element of any implementation strategy which is not always included however, is the need to also “Think Locally, Act Globally.” This focuses on getting users to adopt a new solution. No matter how successful an implementation is, the solution will not serve its purpose unless it is actively used by local site-level personnel. Of course, this process will often not happen overnight. EHS staff may be wedded to the way they have always done things. For example, whether we like it or not, the evidence is that Microsoft Excel spreadsheets are not going away any time soon and remain widely used in the EHS industry. A steady transition towards giving the end user the flexibility to transition to a new solution can be a challenge.

In general terms, a successful implementation does not only mean the installation of the software and providing user access to the new technology; it means providing the end user with all the necessary tools, preparation, training and enough time to test the system and get comfortable. Perhaps the two most crucial elements of this are:

  • Providing a solution that is also available in the local language
  • Providing a reliable source of locally-specific EHS regulatory content, allowing the user to know what it expected of them in a legal compliance context

Regardless of whether you think or act locally or globally, or vice versa, what is essential is that a clear vision from the decision makers should be conveyed properly and coherently enterprise-wide; this vision provides the end user with an understanding of the company’s direction and how leadership wants to manage compliance.

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