Risk, Mobility, and Emerging Opportunities are Central to SPF Americas

Posted by | Research Team | on Tue, Oct 20, 2015 @ 10:15 AM

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In our quest to continue to provide expanding coverage of the wide set of environment, health and safety (EHS) management software companies, LNS Research is frequently invited to attend user conferences and other events hosted by these vendors. Last week I had the opportunity to attend the annual Sustainable Performance Forum (SPF) Americas, a gathering of hundreds of end users across the continent presented by Enablon, a key vendor in the EHS software space.

This year, Enablon discussed its continued commitment to integrating risk management tools into its software, its growing array of mobile solutions in EHS management, and its continued record of sustained growth in the EHS space. Attendees also had the chance, across multiple deep-dive product workshops to share their stories of experiences, opportunities, and challenges with Enablon 7.9, the most recent version of the system.

Enablon’s Maturing Success

On the whole, it seems Enablon has continued, on its 15th anniversary to achieve its sustained rate of growth. The company says it has now surpassed one million users around the globe, and that five of the ten largest companies worldwide currently use the Enablon system. The vendor is increasingly targeting the large, global enterprise segment, seeking customers with revenues of over $1 billion and not committing as much growth potential to smaller companies below the $250 million bracket. In the first two quarters of 2015 it achieved 40% organic growth, and the company recently announced 50% year-to-date growth of Software and SaaS orders.

While Enablon released the version 7 of its platform in 2014, it continues to build on the infrastructure laid out there. Its current version 7.9 has further improved the condition of its already comparatively sleek UI—if there’s one thing that can be said about the company broadly, it is that its UI capabilities remain persistently useable, accessible, and intuitive. However, there is always room to grow in this regard.

Risk a Perennial Challenge and Opportunity

Moving to risk management, a central focus both at last year’s SPF and this year’s, the company continues to attempt to embed risk management capabilities into the core of its offering. This is a resonant approach in the space, given risk management is a prevailing factor both in terms of how manufacturers view EHS management holistically, and how EHS software vendors have been increasingly including risk management into their offerings.

Enablon CEO Dan Vogel, speaking at the event keynote, noted how we are all increasingly “living in a world of risk,” that features “higher volatility, greater velocity, and greater impacts” associated with negative events. And he’s largely right, as negative events become more visible through social traction, online engagement, an increasing role of supply chain performance in overall EHS performance, and a speedy news cycle—all factors assessed in the recent LNS Research eBook on Operational Excellence and EHS.

Mobile Solutions Driving Product Models

Enablon, like many other leading vendors in the EHS software space, committed to leveraging mobile devices within its solution ecosystem last year, introducing incident, audits, and investigation apps primarily within the iOS framework. As previously committed, the vendor has built out its native apps in this regard, and expanded to Android-based frameworks, as well. However, the solution set still seems to remain limited to the incident-audit-investigation triad, and it will be interesting to see how the company continues to expand on its mobile offerings, given there are many, many routes to take.

Product Deep Dive Sessions Present Challenges and Opportunities

The deep dive product workshops held on the third day of the conference seemed to cultivate a conversational and productive environment among end users and covered a range of topics including World Class Compliance, Enterprise Control, Partner Relations, and Cloud Architecture. While users had many great common experiences delivered through use-case successes, when the floor was opened to Q&A, it was clear that some identified—while praising the product widely—there were some questions regarding loading permit data into compliance modules and associating documents, for example, with tasks, which were addressed by the Enablon team. 

The LNS Research Take

My takeaway from SPF Americas 2015 is that Enablon remains in a very sound position to continue its role among the top EHS and sustainability vendors sought after, and eventually adopted by, many leading global manufacturers. It is demonstrated positive and promising UI improvements and a commitment to advances in mobility.

However, there a number of questions related to Enablon's strategic and tactical model with effectiveness that can still be proven. The company’s embrace of wearable technology is an intriguing development and demonstrates some commitment to the idea of where wearables can go as we enter the age of application of software within the Internet of Things (IoT).

In addendum, it would be insightful to see a few firm use cases that provide clear return on investment to compel companies to adopt wearable tools into EHS management technology approaches, and find continued value in their application. Enablon provided a great proof of concept demonstration of how wearable tech could be leveraged for rudimentary tasks. It will be interesting to see how wearable strategies could be used for health and safety monitoring, augmented reality, and communication.

Besides wearables, it would also have been interesting to see how the nascent rise of IoT plays into Enablon’s future technology strategy. Much content was devoted to the potential of mobility, the integration of risk and compliance management content and functionality, and, to some degree, interoperability across internal and extended (e.g. supply chain) operations. Unfortunately, we did not necessarily witness an explicit strategy for how the company plans to approach the IoT—and indeed the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)—across the enterprise, from EHS, through APM, MOM, Energy Management, and PLM, in a holistically integrated way. Of course this may be a grand vision to pursue, but it would have been intriguing to gain some insight on how the vendor planned to tackle the rise of IoT across the enterprise.

One other note would be that Enablon’s vision and current strategy is consistent with last year’s messaging and show signs of evolving to adapt to a rapidly evolving climate, one where IoT, IIoT, and Big Data, as well as the progressive notion that offline is the ‘new online’.

In the end, SPF Americas 2015 was a great event for clients and prospects alike, providing a comprehensive view of the progress Enablon has made over the last year. The company continues to remain a key player in the space and seems to have many notable improvements in store for its solution, not to mention building out its software into larger enterprise areas such as quality management, asset performance management, and integrated management systems in the years to come. It will be fascinating to see how Enablon evolves and expands within the space.

Join LNS Research Principal Analyst Dan Miklovic on Friday, October, 30th at 2:00 pm EDT for a free webinar where he'll explain how forward-looking organizations are leveraging IoT technologies today to accelerate Operational Excellence goals, and best practices to put your organization on track for developing and driving business value with Smart Connected Assets. Sign up here!New Call-to-action

Tags: Risk Management, Big Data, Mobile / Mobility, Environment, Health and Safety (EHS), Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)