Presenting the Hidden Business Case For Cloud-based H&S Software

Presenting the Hidden Business Case for Cloud-based H&S Software

Tom Baverstock

If you’re familiar with Safety Cloud then you’ll already know the value of a single cloud-based Health and Safety software solution (if not, take a look). As a Health and Safety professional, you naturally want the best tools for the job, but getting them often requires convincing others who may not see value the same way you do.

The challenge: How much Health and Safety?

No senior manager would argue against the need to protect people from injury, or worse, but while the human argument may aim for ‘best possible safety’, once the minimums of legislation designed for adequate protection are satisfied, the question of “how much more should we do?” is reframed as the business argument “can we justify this against the bottom-line?”

Return on Investment as Loss reduction

Health and Safety ROI is typically framed as loss reduction via improved incident prevention or fines and claims defence. We find this financial threat is often being under-modelled in cost analyses.

    • In recent years, penalties have increased significantly and are more aggressively pursued -see our articles detailing some record-breaking fines.

    • Penalties are just one component of the direct cost of an incident which also includes workers’ compensation, medical expenses, liability or legal costs, property losses, plus the remedial corrective actions.

    • Furthermore often overlooked are the indirect costs such as workplace disruptions, loss of productivity, worker replacement, training, increased insurance premiums and costs harder to quantify such as loss of staff moral and reputation. These indirect costs are estimated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to be up to 10 times higher than the direct costs, depending on the sector.

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Do you need to re-balance your cost-risk models? Under this elevated risk, anything that can shift the needle to reduce probability and severity, even slightly, can be very significant.

However, traditional loss reduction should only be one part of your argument. As a bottom-line justification, its weakness is that you’re arguing for real today-cash based on hypothetical tomorrow-reductions —tomorrows “which shouldn’t happen if you do your job.”

Fortunately there is a second aspect which is often overlooked.

Return on Investment as Positive gains

When upgrading from legacy paper or spreadsheet systems to a modern, integrated cloud-based solution such as Safety Cloud, there is a strong argument that the investment will unlock immediate cash savings and benefits far beyond the costs, while also reducing loss probability.

While the specific benefit opportunities will be particular to your organisation, we recommend considering these perspectives to reposition the upgrade justification from hypothetical loss reduction, to a true positive ROI:

A. Gains Areas

  1. Your personal duties and your department’s internal operations - efficient management of H&S

2. Operational efficiency between your department and others - implementation and feedback

3. Impact on the business as a whole - H&S’s impact on the overall business mission

B. Impact Type

  1. Direct Quantifiable Savings

    1. Worker efficiency, time usage and quality.

    2. Cost elimination or reduction relative to current practices

  2. Indirect value potential released

As a guide for thinking about your opportunities, some of the benefits we have seen delivered via Safety Cloud’s functions and features include:

ROI via Operational efficiency

Saved worker-hours fulfilling H&S tasks and admin, time saved on inconsistency resolution, costs saved via earlier intervention, as well as risk reduction through error reduction.

  • Direct Data Access - stake-holders can access H&S metrics with no intermediary time from you.

  • Automate routines, reminders, renewals and checks such as work equipment checks etc. and monitor their completion.

  • Admin time saving, clear auto-populated forms using a common database with no duplication or versioning problems.

  • Consistency - single data-base eliminates duplication, reduces time lost from errors and error resolution, versioning, amendments, and short-cuts. Common visible systems reinforce mandated processes across all sites and departments, reducing errors, confusion and questions.

  • Cloud-based accessibility enables timely on-site data capture, and no extra-time usage as work can be done from anywhere in small time gaps.

  • Feedback cycle and data flow encouraging stakeholder inclusion

  • Integrated queryable data allows better prediction, strategy and direction, for earlier problem intervention and elimination.

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ROI via Direct cost savings

Other benefits aside, Safety Cloud’s integrated range of features mean that it can replace many expense incurring activities and services to reduce the bottom line immediately.

  • Training - at-desk training saves worker time, travel, accommodation, and training expenses.

  • Paperless - fewer consumables and copier costs, printer jams, and less office storage space.

  • Infrastructure - fully scalable, pay only for what you need, browser-based so minimal IT burden, no depreciating hardware, software licenses, dependencies or update installations.

  • Secure - compliant with data protection, off-site back-up and versioning guards against malicious data loss, or fire etc.

  • Integrated single consistent platform can replace several systems such as estate and fleet management.

ROI via Opportunity Increase

Freed time and resources are force magnifiers for attitude, quality, agency and innovation.

  • Culture - creates worker ownership, introduction reinvigorates message, signals management commitment to H&S, defines reputation to others. If other systems are digitised and optimised, what message is sent if H&S is left behind?

  • Strategic direction - easy and fast management data access encourages exploration and experimentation, resulting in better decisions.

  • Staff time freed for innovation and systems improvement.

  • Positive H&S reputation internally and externally helps attract superior talent, retains staff, and assures strategic partners.

  • Peace of mind with a best in-class stress-tested time-proven system successfully serving hundreds of other companies, rather than risking defending a home-made system.

Making the Business case: Dull Reality

While incident costs remain the headline determiner for spending, don’t underestimate the cumulative cost, time, and risk introduction of the little stuff: accidental formula deletion on a spreadsheet, typos, printer jams, lost documents, incorrect fact recall because data not on hand….in the real-world, this small stuff seeds the chain of events that snowballs to the big one. Equally, while per-person, per-case/task time savings may be small, annually across the whole workforce they can have a huge cumulative impact on efficiency.

Most optimised department

When making a strong business case to justify an upgrade to Safety Cloud, the Health and Safety professional must emphasise the scale of the potential direct and indirect losses being threatened, as well as the significant real cumulative positive ROI gains available.

But coupled with the challenge of “Can we justify this” is the close-cousin: “Do you need it?”

Your H&S management system is your tool to bind your intentions and policies with their implementation in the real world. It is your accountability and defence in the event of an incident. Furthermore, H&S uniquely effects the working practice of every single employee and activity in your organisation. As a defining link in every single chain, it is the business unit most in need of optimisation. A modern, robust and proven Health and Safety system can delivery exponential rewards and is one of the most efficient investments available anywhere in an organisation.

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