Hundreds of health and safety software applications are available; choosing the
one that best addresses your needs can be a difficult process. While some work
brilliantly, others can strain your budget without meeting basic requirements.
In the January issue of Occupational Health & Safety, David S. Risi, CIH, CSP,
CHMM, president of Spiramid LLC, developers of SHE-MIS (Safety, Health and
Environmental Management Information System), distills the selection process
into eight essential steps.
1. Define needs and justification. When going through this process, keep in
mind the cost/benefits of the new system.
2. Establish and prioritize requirements. Form a team of three to 10 people to
help you develop a clear list of prioritized requirements.
3. Establish budget and acquire approval. Items that should be budgeted include
software license, support, implementation, data migration, training and
4. Determine potential solutions. In most cases, you will choose to buy a
commercial off-the-shelf system rather than building your own.
5. Develop RFI. A Request for Information is a document that is sent to the
prospective vendors for the purpose of soliciting their responses to a list of
6. Select a short list. When the responses in the spreadsheet are weighted
against your prioritization, a quick determination can be made of the vendors
that best fit your needs.
7. Conduct vendor demonstration and selection. Create scenarios based on your
process flows and give vendors the opportunity to demonstrate how they would
complete the process using their system.
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