Pamala Bobbitt, Vice President of Product Marketing at Cority, says, “One of my passions is helping people understand how technology can support, not re-create, their programs.” ISHN asked Bobbitt some questions on how companies are adapting to EHS technology.

Do you think most people are familiar with the technology?

I think people think they know what the definitions and the technology mean, but on the vendors’ side, we do a good job of confusing people on what it actually means, so I do have to spend a lot of time explaining things.

Everybody says SaaS (software as a service), but everyone uses that terminology loosely. What does that mean? A truly SaaS system means it’s out of the box, seamless.

I think a lot of people also don’t understand the difference between technologies in the cloud and hosted on your own servers, which is the old type of technology that requires a whole implementation process when you want to upgrade.

What are the common concerns organizations have when it comes to implementing EHS software?

Most of the time, they are new to this and they haven’t done this before, or they have, but it’s long ago and they did it in house.

Many people think technology is just for data collection, and they don’t know where to start. It can be overwhelming.

In any industry, there are reporting requirements. The value that software brings such as being able to highlight trends, conduct analysis, and track and bring down incident rates is easy to make a case with.

For someone going into this, it can be overwhelming because they don’t understand what they really need or they’re basing their selection on basic requirements like being able to log an incident, being able to send emails, being able to create your OSHA log.

They need to ask themselves where the pain is in their organization. If they’re talking about incident management, are they having difficulty with people reporting them? If so, they should probably look at something that employees can do very simply.

If a company doesn’t know where their pain is, they might get something that works at first but then they find out a couple years later that it doesn’t really work best. We see that all the time when they don’t really understand what they need and how to really determine which technology would work best with their culture and program.

Do you find a lot of reluctance to adopt technology?

EHSQ professionals are the laggers in technology. Come on! You can’t wait any longer. A lot of people will say they haven’t really embraced it. Some people try to overcomplicate the software, but it’s not the technology’s fault. Don’t let the technology drive your process, let the technology support your process.

Once you show people how technology can ease their life, they’re grateful and understand the value. It’s not just about compliance. EHSQ professionals have not been great at acknowledging or translating that. 

There are people out there to help you with your business processes so you can get started on the right path to technology. Often, people say what they are currently using is good enough for right now. Well, I say you deserve better than good enough.