Verdantix is an independent research and advisory firm with expertise in EHS software, technology, and digital strategies for Environment, Health & Safety, ESG & Sustainability, and Operational Excellence. Encamp recently worked with the analyst firm to compile a case study report reviewing automated reporting capabilities for EPCRA compliance and Tier II reporting.
We sat down with Bill Pennington, Verdantix’s Director of EHS Research, to discuss the rapidly evolving technology market for the EHS industry. Bill was formerly a compliance manager before joining Verdantix as a senior analyst in the firm’s EHStech Practice Group. As both a senior analyst and now director of research at Verdantix, he conducts research and advises corporate and vendor firms on EHS market strategy, technologies and digitization for compliance operations and reporting, sustainability, and product stewardship for enterprises and their EHS teams.
For the following Q&A, Encamp’s questions are in bold. Bill’s responses have not been edited.
How have you seen the EHS software and technology market evolve since you joined Verdantix?
Bill Pennington: Over the last several years I have seen a rapid growth of EHS technology readily available for EHS departments targeted towards improving health and safety. EHS software has been a common factor over the last 6-7 years, but advances in technology have allowed these platforms to greatly expand their capabilities, and the growth of new technology, such as wearables, has pushed this even more.
Are you seeing EHS departments embrace digital transformation or Industry 4.0 today, or is there still internal resistance to change?
Bill: EHS has historically been a slow moving department when it comes to change of any sort. We still do see some resistance to digitization in the EHS department, but that is quickly fading as more firms recognize the value of digitizing EHS processes and incoming demographics do not see any other way of doing business.
What’s the biggest challenge in EHS that technology hasn’t been able to solve to date?
Bill: One of the biggest challenges that EHS technology is running into is the large volumes of unstructured and typically low quality data that the EHS function has been leveraging for decades. To get the most value out of new technology, you need to be able to leverage data quickly and accurately. Analytics and compliance thrive on high-quality data, and without careful entry and thoughtfulness on the user side, you can easily derail promising technology.
Where are you seeing the most interest in EHS software and technology solutions since the pandemic began?
Bill: We have seen a growing interest in wearable technology, primarily around areas concerning location tracking and social distancing. Additionally, as COVID-19 pressures begin to decrease, firms are recognizing the benefits these technologies can offer for granular insights into a range of use cases like ergonomics, at-risk behavior, fatigue monitoring or augmented reality.
What’s one piece of advice that you give to someone looking for EHS software and technology solutions?
Bill: Make sure you roadmap out your technology initiatives before you dive into a new technology. While it is important to adopt a new solution for an old problem, firms need to make sure they understand the direction EHS technology is moving and develop a strong foundation to add on to.
Any other parting words you’d like to share with readers today?
Bill: Technology is empowering EHS managers like never before, but it should be treated as a means of digitally transforming the function, not a band-aid. Make sure that you understand your problems, gather requirements from front-line workers, run pilots and map out how this technology will fit into your digital strategy before you adopt the newest craze.
To guide enterprises and EHS professionals looking to transform their environmental compliance programs via a digital approach, Encamp provides a blended method of high-tech solutions and high-touch expert support we call Guided Environmental Compliance — five steps that give structure to complex regulatory programs and build compliance confidence. Learn more about our method and all five steps in our new eBook, Guided Environmental Compliance. And of course, don’t forget to also download the Verdantix Encamp Case Study report to read more about how technology continues to disrupt the EHS industry.
Encamp is on a mission to create a world where good for business can equal good for the environment. We help enterprises transform compliance programs and human processes into a technology-driven system that lays the foundation for accurate and ongoing environmental compliance through a blended method of intelligent high-tech solutions and high-touch expert support.
Tom is the Senior Content Writer at Encamp. And like all other Encampers, he’s in tune with the environment and what happens to it. He’s been writing about creative technology solutions for longer than he cares to admit.