How did you pick your EMIS?

Kelvin Roth

Apart from picking the right school and the right interview clothes, one of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make as an EHS professional is what EMIS (Environmental Management Information System) to use.  This decision will not only make or break your department’s effectiveness, but will also greatly impact your staffing, budget, and ability to integrate with the rest of the business.  In fact, it may set you on the right course to career success.

Today, EMIS have expanded beyond just environmental management systems and compliance. They now touch everything your department does including health and safety, auditing, training, and corporate sustainability metric tracking. An effective EMIS is a critical component of most thriving EHS departments. Most companies invest a tremendous amount of time, money and “brain sweat” into these systems. So how come some systems are a lot more successful than others?

Here’s the secret: it all starts with choosing the system that is the best fit for your needs. Choose correctly and your life becomes easier, your staff becomes more effective, and you’ll lose 10 pounds (ok, that last part may not be true).  Choose incorrectly and your workload doubles, your staff spends time running in circles, you’ll spend $$$$, and you’ll gain 10 pounds (again, not proven, but the stress eating will likely do this).

Don’t get me wrong, configuration and implementation are also very important. But, if you choose the wrong system, you’ll spend far more time and money on those two activities than desired and you’ll likely never end up with the EMIS you need or want. Choose the system that is the best fit for your needs and those two steps become much much easier.

On the new NAEM portal, I’ve recently co-authored a white paper with Laura Murphy, from KMI, that lays out eight essential steps for getting this big decision right. To see the full paper, you’ll need to visit the website  (and yes, that is a blatant plug for logging in and exploring the new content posted there), but I wanted to use this forum to discuss some of the advice you might have for those who are approaching this process.

What are some of the mistakes you’ve made in going through the EMIS selection process? What would you do again? What would you avoid?

About Kelvin Roth

Kelvin Roth is Past President of the NAEM Board of Directors. Follow him on Twitter at @Oenodog.

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