Lexicon Systems, LLC Blog

lex'•i•con: the vocabulary of a branch of knowledge. Thoughts on environment, health & safety (EHS), sustainability and information technology to support them.


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Debunking common software implementation myths

I read an article this morning about three ERP (enterprise resource planning) implementation myths. I come across the same ones in EHS (environment, health & safety) software implementations. Let the debunking begin…

Myth 1. You cannot use your software selection consultant to implement the software.

no entryI have seen resistance to using a software selection consultant to implement the software. The hiring organization perceived that the consulting firm could not do both; there should be a separation between selection and implementation.

If your consultant has proven project management, communications, subject matter and technical skills to successfully implement the software, then use them. Once your consultant helps you to document and prioritize needs and select software, then they know your needs and business better than anyone else at this point! Take advantage of this knowledge.

Bringing in another group to implement the software will cost you lost productivity, duplication of efforts, extended timelines, and other avoidable costs.

Myth 2. You must have a software vendor or reseller implement your software.

sign-160675_1280While the software vendor/reseller should be conversant in the software, they may lack subject matter expertise or a broader perspective of implementation best practices.

Instead, I recommend a team approach to implementation:

  1. an integrator/implementer that is comfortable with the software and its configuration,
  2. vendor representatives–implementation and product specialists, and
  3. software customer key stakeholders.

Myth 3. The most important aspect of implementation is technical proficiency.

signs-38588_1280I have seen talented technical staff lead software implementations that become “challenged” when the teams focused solely on technical issues.  Warning!

Instead, I recommend a team skilled in several disciplines. Beyond technical (IT) proficiency, subject matter expertise, and industry experience, remember to round out the team with skill sets such as:

  • project management
  • risk management
  • business process management
  • organizational change management
  • training
  • analytics
  • etc.

With these implementation myths are debunked, you can make more informed decisions on your path forward for software implementation. This is my “quick take.” You can read the Panorama Consulting perspective here.

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Urbanization, technology, demographics, and globalization are shaping a new reality

I have written a number of articles and blog posts on the impact of technology on our personal and business lives. But wait! Technology does not operate in isolation. Economics and “people” issues allow emerging technologies to succeed or fail. Technology plus other forces are creating a new reality faster than you can say “latest iPhone release.”

The world economy’s operating system is being rewritten. In the new book No Ordinary Disruption, its authors explain the trends reshaping the world and why leaders must adjust to a new reality.

Richard Dobbs, James Manyika, and Jonathan Woetzel speak of four global forces that are shaping a new reality.

  1. The age of urbanization.
  2. Accelerating technological change.
  3. Challenges of an aging world.
  4. Greater global connections.

Continue reading


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Risk Management is a big driver for EHS software

It used to be environment, health & safety (EHS) compliance issues that drove the big software selection projects… air emissions calculations and emissions inventories, wastewater discharge monitoring reports (DMRs), annual toxic release inventory (TRI) reports, and other three-letter acronyms (TLAs). Lots of different EHS compliance programs use the same information, but in different ways, creating a data management and reporting challenge.

Then came governrisk-managementance, risk and compliance (GRC)… many organizations struggled to bring EHS within the sphere of GRC, instead believing that GRC was all about financial issues following Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) legislation, or risk management following high-profile industrial incidents and accidents.

However, many of these organizations and others see the value in identifying and managing risks–having a strong risk culture has an upside.

In a recent LNS Research post, “Why Risk Management Dominates EHS Priorities,” Paul Leavoy says that

Increasingly, manufacturers are embedding risk management approaches into their EHS programs, particularly from a technological perspective… they are trying to embed risk management into EHS software.

Read the blog post here.


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Five simple things we can do to reduce our environmental footprint

Today we celebrate the 45th anniversary of Earth Day in the U.S. On the first Earth Day(s) in 1970, 20 million people celebrated in the U.S.; in 1990, 200 million celebrated globally: in 2014 the number is even greater.

In honor of Earth Day—and every day—we can reduce our environmental footprint.

Image of Earth from space

Image: NASA

Each of us can do five simple things for a more sustainable environment.

  1. Drive less. Walk, share a ride, or combine several errands on a single “run.” Work from home 1-2 days a week, if your employer allows it, and if you can be productive.
  2. Conserve electricity. Turn off lights when you don’t need them or install switches that  automatically turn off the lights if there is no motion after a few minutes. Replace light bulbs with more energy-efficient ones.
  3. Conserve water. Install low-flow shower heads and efficient toilets. Use the dishwasher—when full—rather than hand-washing items under running water. If you have lawn sprinklers, use a timer and don’t over-water.
  4. Mimimize waste. Forego shopping bags and packaging that you don’t need. Employ washable, reusable shopping bags. Select food and consumer products with reduced or recyclable packaging.
  5. Recycle. If you must drink bottled and canned beverages, recycle the containers. If you read newspapers, recycle them. At our home, we recycle about two to three times as much as we discard.


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Microsoft Pulls Plug on Windows XP Support

Just last week—08 April 2014—Microsoft stopped supporting the tremendously popular Windows XP operating system. They will provide security updates/patches for another fifteen months, through July 2015.

Loyal XP users need to decide if “I’d rather fight than switch” or “I’d rather switch than fight…” and they need to decide soon, since upgrades in large organizations can take 12-18 months.

pull-the-plug-square

Windows XP Sails into the Sunset… Maybe speaks to the impacts and unintended consequences of the long-announced end of support.

End of support impacts millions of users. Where does that leave the millions of business and consumer users still on that operating system? Will they fight upgrading to Windows 8.1, or switch to an alternative operating system. What challenges will people face when upgrading to a new OS?

End of support has unintended consequences. First, it resulted in a resurgence in Windows 7 laptop sales and Windows 7 OS upgrades. Second, it resulted in the purchase of Windows-alternative hardware and software. End of support gives organizations a reason to evaluate whether they need laptops into the future, or if other technologies (cloud, mobile, and social) are better alternatives.


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EPA adopts new Phase I environmental assessment standard

rusty drumsThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) adopted a new standard for assessing landowner liability under Superfund  or CERCLA (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act).

On December 30, 2013, the U.S. EPA adopted ASTM E1527-13, “Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process.” This standard allows parties to comply with the “all appropriate inquiries” rule at 40 CFR 312. The American Society for Testing and Materials issued this standard in November 2013 to improve upon its previous Phase I standard.

Interestingly, the new standard does not replace ASTM E1527-05, so both standards are acceptable. Could be confusing!

View details of the standard in an Environmental News Network article.


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The rising tide of bring your own technology

I just read a Forrester Report: Charting The Rising Tide Of Bring-Your-Own Technology. It provides lots of data to back up what I found a couple of months ago when researching an IT Insight column, Tech Trends: Bring Your Own Device to Work.

Forrester’s findings include

  • a large percentage of workers pay for their own technology (e.g. smartphones, tablet computers and software) out of their own pockets
  • workers use a range of self-provisioned devices, software and services to do their jobs
  • BYOT is growing today, and will become second nature within three years
  • Chief Information Officers (CIOs) cannot afford to ignore BYOT.

Organizations that do not have BYOT policies today should develop them now, because, within a few years, these same organizations will encourage employees to bring their own devices to work.

How this “consumerization” of business with personal tech devices impacts productivity is a topic for another post.