22 Mar 19

What to consider when selecting sustainability reporting software

Apples croppedFinding the right sustainability reporting software platform for your business isn’t always straightforward. With the ever-evolving reporting landscape, you need to be sure that the software you choose is going to fulfil your non-financial, EHS, CSR, ESG, health and safety, risk and compliance and supply chain reporting requirements both today and in the future.

Whether you are moving beyond spreadsheets for the first time, or looking to replace an existing system that isn’t working for your business, knowing where to start your search and the right questions to ask can be a bit overwhelming.

Below are some of the top reasons why organisations decide to invest in sustainability reporting software, some ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ for selecting software and a checklist of what to consider when making the decision.

 Why do organisations invest in sustainability reporting software?

There are a number of different reasons why organisations decide to adopt sustainability reporting software. Here are a few:

  • Drives accountability, transparency and efficiency
  • Streamlines reporting
  • Enables compliance assurance
  • Provides centralised data management
  • Improves analytics and reporting capabilities
  • Facilitates innovation
  • Engages internal and external stakeholders

 

Do’s and don’ts for selecting software

  • DO involve all relevant teams and departments. The system could be of use to them too!
  • DO make sure you have a vendor point of contact to streamline the engagement process.
  • DO shop around and compare functionality, scope, cost and ongoing support.
  • DO request references and speak to existing users to get a better understanding.
  • DO make sure the software will continue to evolve to support you on your reporting journey.

 

  • DON’T listen to the hype! Make sure the software is right for your needs.
  • DON’T hesitate to question high implementation costs and what you’re getting for your money.
  • DON’T forget to engage your IT security team early in the process.

 

Checklist for selecting sustainability reporting software

Usability

  • Does it feel intuitive for first time users?
  • Can each users’ experience be tailored to their specific requirements?
  • Can the supplier provide evidence of usability and support statistics?

Analysis

  • Does the range of analytics meet the breadth of stakeholder requirements?
  • Can uploaded data be modelled, apportioned and compared?
  • Does the system allow data to be grouped into unlimited customisable sets?

Cost

  • What variables will cause the licence fee to change over time?
  • How are support costs calculated and charged?
  • How does the supplier differentiate between client and generic development costs?

Implementation

  • If transitioning from another system, how is continuity risk minimised?
  • Does the number of training days proposed raise concerns about usability?
  • Can global implementation be supported remotely?

Ongoing support

  • Is subject matter support included in addition to technical software queries?
  • Is a named account manager provided and are regular reviews scheduled?
  • Are subject matter updates and briefings provided?

Credibility

  • Will the supplier facilitate introductions with existing clients?
  • Can the supplier provide an independent client satisfaction assessment?
  • Does the software have relevant accreditations and/or certifications?

 

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