What EHS Leaders Can Learn from Avangrid Renewables’ Digitalization

Digital technology is now playing a vital role in helping this renewables supplier enhance its Environment, Health, Safety and Sustainability (EHS&S) processes and performance.

Avangrid Renewables describes their EHS&S journey.The role of EHS&S digital technologies has been accelerated by emerging trends such as redefined workplace safety, focus on employee wellbeing, an evolving workforce, a dynamic regulatory landscape, and a growing spotlight on ESG and sustainability.

According to a Verdantix forecast, the total spending on EHS&S digitalization will increase to $3.2 billion by 2025. This means that more and more organizations in the post-pandemic world are either planning to digitalize their EHS&S processes or are currently doing so.

While the benefits of EHS&S digitalization are tremendous, executing a successful digital change is sometimes easier said than done. Even though Environment, Health, Safety and Sustainability (EHS&S) as a business function has been on a transformative journey to use technology to improve performance, the digital transformation in the sector has only recently hit a tipping point, unlike other business functions such as IT.

The point is that there are still many lessons and best practices EHS leaders can learn from why a large percentage of digital transformation programs flounder. Even a well-crafted digitalization vision can easily fail unless the right strategic approach is taken. Otherwise, it can result in lost investment, lost time, erosion of trust and organizational support – and recent figures reported by McKinsey and others place the percentage of failed digital transformation projects at 80%.

SAI360 is proud to have a successful project implementation rate of 98% and high client retention rates, and we know there is no single, one-size-fits-all approach to digitalization – it’s a continuous journey. In our experience of successfully partnering with clients throughout their EHS&S digitalization journey, we can advise that finding an approach that fits your business uniqueness is critical. And knowing where to start and how to approach EHS&S digitalization can be the difference between success and failure.

Against this background, read Avangrid Renewables’ success story to understand how the company defined its path and succeeded in its EHS&S digitalization journey.

Case study: Avangrid Renewables

Avangrid Renewables is part of the Iberdrola Group, an energy pioneer with one of the largest renewable asset bases of any company in the world. Avangrid Renewables is one of the leading clean, renewable power providers in the U.S., with more than 8,000 MW of owned and controlled wind and solar power facilities.

Avangrid Renewables values data-driven decisions, including at their 24/7 national control center.The company also operates a state-of-the-art 24-7 National Control Center, which acts as the nerve center of the company’s generation portfolio, making it one of the few companies capable of providing structured energy solutions and allowing large industrial and commercial customers to manage risks and uncertainty in the natural gas and power industries.

How Avangrid Renewables approached EHS&S digitalization

Like many organizations, Avangrid Renewables had a legacy platform in place, and they were also leveraging spreadsheets in areas where the legacy platform was inadequate. The business continued to patch things together, but it had reached a point where the approach was no longer sustainable and not aligned with the business’s future goals.

We know that EHS&S digital transformation is a continuous process and having a platform in place shouldn’t mean the end of the journey. To improve your EHS&S processes, continue to evaluate the effectiveness of what you have in place and interrogate if it is still meeting your needs because of the dynamics and needs of the business environment change.

Move from a legacy application into the SAI360 EHS&S platform

We all agree that EHS&S digitalization doesn’t happen in a vacuum without a broader strategy that reflects your business environment and supports the objectives. The following four considerations are easy to overlook but necessary to evaluate early in the process before embarking on the digitalization journey:

  1. Unique requirements for your industry and market dynamics
  2. Prioritization of things that matter, i.e., agility over the “Big Bang”, because the approach you choose can impact your short or longer-term success
  3. The alignment between your organization’s strategy and EHS&S digital technology
  4. The right collaborative partner with the right technology and expertise to support your digitalization strategy

For Avangrid Renewables, three drivers prompted their move to digitalize their EHS&S operations.

Three drivers prompted Avangrid Renewables' move to digitalize their EHS&S operations.The first was a rapidly evolving renewable energy sector and organizational plans. The business was expanding and had increased its renewable energy asset footprint across the United States. A growing and digitally connected workforce with an increasingly mobile and technology-savvy workforce. And finally, Avangrid wanted access to data and analytics capabilities to improve EHS&S performance and move from a reactive to a predictive approach.

Avangrid outgrew its legacy platform. It wasn’t serving them well in either a short or long time. So, they decided to future-proof their EHS&S performance by leveraging one of the best integrated EHS&S cloud solutions.

What is a phased approach, and how does it work?

Knowing where to start with your digitalization journey is key to success. Avangrid’s EHS&S leadership defined their digital transformation path and made conscious strategic decisions to pursue a phased approach as their EHS and Sustainability digitalization approach. That means they started to essentialize things with a few key priority modules such as incident and action management and then, at the right time, added on new additional modules as time went by. Budgeting was a significant factor, and the phased approach was a realistic strategy to bring the EHS&S digitalization vision to life.

A phased approach can be loosely defined as an agile approach or a step-by-step, modular approach toward the desired solution. This is where you consciously decide to start small on POC by prioritizing critical workflows and use cases and then scale things up gradually through configuration when the time is right.

Unlike the “Big Bang” approach, a phased approach allows businesses to quickly realize the ROI of their digital investments and increases user adoption rates and workforce engagement. The “Big Bang” approach for digitalization is where everyone starts using all the modules at once. Unfortunately, this often leads to unwieldy projects that fail to gain traction due to their massive scope and ultimately do not achieve the desired outcomes.

Partnering with the right technology partner

The technology partner you choose should have the expertise, knowledge, technology, and a deep understanding of the digitalization strategy you opt to use. The partner should also have high success rates and experience helping other clients in your industry or verticals with digitalization initiatives.

Avangrid Renewables chose SAI360 for our EHS&S digitalization vision. SAI360 EHS&S solutions offer high-performance, fast-time-to-value, are easy to configure, and offer the broadest use cases for digitizing Risk, Compliance, EHS and Sustainability.

In addition, the SAI360 has a 98% client retention rate and an experienced team with over 20 years of experience building, implementing, and supporting technology solutions.

Important considerations

Driving changes in complex organizations such as Avangrid Renewables can be a challenge, and this is where good change management and training throughout the process becomes important. Change management and training helped Avangrid drive user adoption and control the impact of change on workers and productivity.

Change management and training is an essential consideration in a successful implementation,” Avangrid Renewables EHS-Director Kristy Abel said. “It’s one of the most critical things, but one that you’re going to do right to succeed and … all efforts into this should never be underestimated or overlooked.

The other important consideration factor, according to Avangrid, is collaborating with other leaders within the organization and knowing your organization’s internal processes. Avangrid Renewables EHS-Director, Kristy Abel, advised other EHS leaders to do their homework before starting the configuration process. Identify your organization’s EHS and Sustainability data needs and consider other critical issues such as user security or department and location structure.

Key take-aways

  • First, develop a realistic strategy to support your digital transformation vision and build a proof of concept at the right level.
  • Identify the key areas that are impacting EHS&S performance and build a proof of concept.
  • Partner with the right technology partner
  • Prioritize on Use Cases and EHS&S modules that are important, and configure and scale the solution with time.
  • Change management and user training are the quickest ways to increase user adoption and engagement rates with technology. Higher adoption is always a measure of success, and it’s an indication that you are gaining early returns on technology investment.
  • Collaborate with other business function leaders to understand internal processes and data needs. But most importantly, you get an early buy-in and support from all the stakeholders.

Digitalized EHS and Sustainability have tremendous benefits. Avangrid is experiencing benefits such as intelligent insight from sound data, higher user adoption, increased worker engagement with health and safety programs, and more.

 


Avangrid’s experience

Hear about Avangrid’s digitalization journey by listening to the video case study with Avangrid Renewables EHS-Director, Kristy Abel and Christine Adeline, VP Product Management, EHS and Sustainability at SAI360.

 


Learn more about SAI360 EHS software and mobile app.