Enablon’s Sustainable Performance Forum (SPF) Americas 2014 conference managed to showcase both the environment, health and safety (EHS) and sustainability software provider’s recent accomplishments, as well as its ambitious plans for future growth. At the event, ‘Space’ was the theme, and a ‘landing-on-the-moon’ analogy figured prominently into the company’s various presentations. It is clear Enablon is shooting for no less than the stars.
At the event, Enablon showcased a significant platform overhaul to more than 500 attendees, and throughout presentations audiences witnessed an expanded mobile offering, an improved partner network, and a focus on sustainability as a business driver from a bottom-line business perspective.
Enablon’s Attempts to ‘Enable’ the Sustainable Company
In emphasizing its focus on sustainability, Enablon CEO Dan Vogel reiterated the company’s ongoing message that it seeks to enable sustainability for companies worldwide. In his welcome address, he pointed to stats such as the fact there are more than three times more climate refugees than war refugees, that business has spent more than $3.8 trillion on natural disasters since 1980, and the record $42 billion in costs incurred in the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
While these statistics are nothing new, the fact they were highlighted points directly to the company’s bottom-line message: that the sustainable company is ultimately the profitable and secure company, something well-aligned with the LNS Research vision of holistic sustainability.
The LNS Research Take
Enablon has made seemingly impressive strides in improving the aesthetic, form, and functionality of its offering, likely driven by the company’s North America CEO Phil Tesler’s mandate to make products easy to use and ‘beautiful,’ a theme he reiterated throughout the conference. Some aspects to note include:
- New Platform: Enablon launched Version 7 of its platform within the past year and was just on the cusp of releasing 7.5 at the time of the conference. But the company is also in the midst of migrating many existing clients from Version 6 to the expanded and UI-centric Version 7, and as a result it might experience the standard pains associated with any mass client migration. However, after lessons learned from previous migrations, Enablon was more prepared this time around and by many accounts the transition is going smoothly.
What seemed positive throughout the event is that many of the early adopters of Version 7 appeared happy with the new platform and, notably, those still on the previous version were both excited and anxious to migrate to the new version to experience its full palette of features.
- Partner Network: Additionally, on robust display at the conference was the company’s significantly expanded partner network, which featured many representatives including new and existing partners like Environmental Resources Management (ERM), Optimit (focused on security and risk), RegScan and Enhesa, among others. A number of Enablon’s recent partnerships (including the Belgium-based Optimit) underscore increasing focus on risk management. While it is commendable that Enablon has greatly expanded its partner network, it will be interesting to see how integrations with various new products and service providers manifest in the near and long term.
There is a lot of strong conceptual groundwork there, particularly with respect to risk management, but at this juncture it is unclear how many current clients have successfully implemented and leveraged these partner-based offerings. For example, attendees in the risk track at the conference were privy to impressive demonstrations on unique, risk-based, partner-driven capabilities along the lines of risk management related to, for example, nuclear facility security. The premise of the integrated offering was captivating, but it may be a while before we have established use cases and case studies based on the actual implementation of these partner-based solutions.
- Mobility, Big Data and IoT: At LNS Research we have been discussing how the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, and mobility will impact EHS and sustainability operations. While Enablon has already begun to establish momentum in its mobile offering, it is also just beginning to explore opportunities with location-based functionality, particularly with its emphasis on iBeacon technology. Prominently featured throughout the conference were the steps the company has taken to link mobile devices with actual assets, and to relate Safety Data Sheet (SDS) information on an alert-based basis across mobile devices.
The vendor seems to be on the path to develop a robust mobile offering. It has already invested in building an iOS-based offering (alongside its existing HTML5 offering), and since the conference has signaled it will release Android-based mobile capabilities in early 2015. As LNS Research’s recent survey of over 250 manufacturers indicated, while a full 44% of respondents use or plan to use iOS-based devices as a part of their mobile EHS strategy, a close 37% use or plan to use Android-based devices. Market trends show increasing traction of enterprise-wide Android-based rollouts, so EHS software vendors need to begin to build both operating systems into their mobile offerings.
Notable Accomplishments and Ambitions Enable Enablon’s Next Steps
Enablon has made strides in improving its user experience, and says it will continue to invest further in user experience and user adoption as its solution evolves. While its expanding partner network is impressive, it will be interesting to see how effectively end users are able to leverage new partner opportunities in the long term.
Still, it is encouraging to see the organization embracing trends on mobility and user interface, as well as location-based technology and risk management-embedded solutions. What remains to be seen is how it will integrate Big Data and IoT into its enterprise framework and how it will leverage these opportunities to build a more progressive offering.