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Planning is the essential first phase in developing a comprehensive health, safety, and environmental (HSE) data management information system that is integrated into other business processes. Proper planning involves the collection, analysis, and incorporation of multiple inputs from various functional areas of the company into a concise Implementation Plan. Effective planning includes obtaining requirements, analyzing needs, and creating and prioritizing tasks.

Planning may also include the creation of a cross-functional team to help ensure success and facilitate the PLAN-DO-CHECK-ADVANCE processes, as well as an understanding of technology standards and your company’s existing HSE systems.

The value of proper planning to your business is the reduction of information silos, increased efficiency, and assurance that health, safety and environmental processes are contributing to improved corporate performance.

 Key Concepts  
  • The company's strategic business plan is a critical input into the HSE-MIS planning process.
  • Integration of business processes, specifically HSE processes, should be the focus of planning.
  • Consider Global Considerations (e.g. different systems, language, strategies, time, culture).  
  • A cross-functional team consisting of HSE-impacted functions across the company, such as operations and purchasing, should be the central team for the project. Team member selection is critical to success.
  • The cross-functional team champions the HSE-MIS Plan throughout its development and implementation.
  • Developing success measures during the PLAN phase is important. How will success be identified and measured?
  • HSE and the information system functions have a special partnership throughout the PLAN, DO, CHECK and ADVANCE phases in making sure the HSE-MIS objectives and success metrics are well-defined and achieved.


  • Effective planning helps align the agendas of multiple and global business units within a company — reducing information silos.
  • Proper planning enables HSE to focus on supporting company-wide needs and goals.
  • Proper planning leads to fewer reworks and scope adjustments — saving money and time.
  • The planning process helps functional areas internalize HSE objectives and values company-wide.
 Practical Advice  
  • Obtain and maintain appropriate management support throughout the process, including upper management, senior HSE business management, and functional area sponsors.  
  • Identify an individual company sponsor, preferably within upper management, who has ultimate responsibility for HSE-MIS plan success.
  • Communicate the HSE vision effectively to all business functions as well as HSE professionals in the company. Invest time in conveying the vision and implementation strategies to HSE site personnel.
  • Include Global Considerations depending on the objectives of the HSE-MIS Plan. 
  • Seek out HSE champions at each implementation site.
  • Avoid technical and regulatory jargon. Use business language with the cross-functional team, executive management, and those responsible for financing the system. Minimize functional area vocabularies and acronyms in favor of a shared business language. A consistent business language will also help to convey the business value of HSE-MIS initiatives.
  • Define metrics early in the planning process and tie metrics directly to business objectives or impact statements. Be sure business objectives are detailed for HSE, each of the functional areas, and the company at large.
  • Document and articulate benefits throughout the planning process. Articulate benefits, tangible and intangible, in terms of financial and environmental impacts to support HSE-MIS justification.
  • Use technology that is most cost-effective for the defined needs. Before pursuing new technologies, evaluate existing, proven technology that may be a viable solution for short- or mid-term business goals.
  • Avoid skipping steps and “jumping” to the solution. Invest the necessary time up front to get buy-in from other functional areas.
  • Identify when it is time to get to the solution. Avoid going too far into the planning process. The objective is to deliver a system, not solely to plan one.
  • Use a planning model when developing complex information systems. Use strategic thinking to coordinate, communicate, and drive the cross-functional team toward innovative HSE-MIS solutions.
  • Develop and maintain partnerships with functional area managers. Rely on the expertise of the cross-functional team. Maintain partnerships to ensure that sponsors and owners are synchronized and aligned during system implementation.
  • If functional or sponsorship reorganization occurs during the Plan or Do phases, obtain new sponsorship understanding and commitment. If this is not forthcoming, evaluate the current direction and consider delaying the process until commitment is secured.
  • Set ambitious milestones, but ensure that the milestones are achievable and measurable.

  Case Studies  


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