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5 (Incorrect) assumptions about choosing Sustainability Software

It’s complicated
It’s true, it can be but given time and the right project management you can incorporate your needs over time. Start small and build on a strong foundation. A bit like putting a party outfit together…. Start with the basic little black dress and then add all the bells and whistles to get the final ‘ta da’ creation. It takes time but getting that up front prep work done to analyse your needs and gaining a fundamental understanding of how data is flowing through your business is key to building that strong foundation and readiness for your new software.

It’s my project and so I need to know all about software
Wrong…. you know your job. Call in data and IT system experts who do know what they are talking about and more fundamentally, who you can trust. It’s potentially a big project and you need people on your ‘team’ who can guide and support you. You know your job (environment, health and safety, risk management, sustainability, etc.), let the software experts do theirs. If they are independent, then they will steer you through and find the right software for you and your business that will give you the information you need.

Nothing on the market will fit my business
Very possibly true. But the key thing is to remember is that any bespoke development you add to the system may well cause you problems later on – in my opinion, bespoke development is something to be avoided due to long term cost implications. Ideally, you need a strong set of requirements and then look at your processes and work out how you can mesh the two together. Always remember that software is evolving; if the fundamentals fit there is a strong possibility that your future requirements can actually drive development changes for your software.

The software doesn’t give me the reports I want
This might be true but you can always add on BI (business intelligence) tools to give you amazing reports. Integrating a BI tool or using an external consultant to produce your reports is an option. What you ideally need to avoid is exporting data into Excel and then manipulating data in there…. If you’re doing that then the system is a wrong fit. Most sustainability software these days will give you most, if not all, of the key reports you want for CDP, SDGs, GRI, SASB, DJSI or Science Based Targets.

My budget isn’t enough
It never is! A bit like buying a car, you always want more than you can necessarily afford. Focus on your key requirements, the ‘Must Haves’ and then have a ‘Nice to Have’ list too. Your IT experts will help you with this.

Avoid the pitfall of ‘keep it cheap’. You are better buying the best you can afford and building on it as I mentioned above. Doing your upfront analysis and requirements gathering and then purchasing a software solution that will give you flexibility and scalability. Compare the ROI over 5 years for a couple of systems and see what it looks like or ask your friendly IT expert to give you some examples or scenarios so that you can get your budgeting right at the start.

By Charlie Stockford, CEO

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