Safety and compliance leaders today want an EHS solution that is natively built in the cloud. Some of the key advantages of a cloud-based EHS (vs. on-premise solutions) include:
- It is easier in terms of product upgrades
- It is also more secure, scalable, flexible, and configurable with less dependence on IT resources/budget
- A cloud-native solution also seamlessly connects and integrates with other business applications like your EQMS, ERP, CRM, and other corporate systems.
The bigger question is: what is the right cloud platform to use while building a next-generation EHS solution? Is it AWS, Azure or Salesforce? And, that’s the question we’ll answer in this blog.
There is no doubt that Microsoft’s Azure or Amazon’s AWS are among the world’s most comprehensive and widely-adopted cloud platforms. Both AWS and Azure offer Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), so product companies don’t have to worry about compute and storage capacities.
Having said that, the development tools available in the AWS and Azure ecosystem allows each developer to use these tools to build their application any way they want – there is no consistency, no certification, and no guarantee that other vendor applications will work together or easily integrate.
On the other hand, the Salesforce platform offers much more than infrastructure.
It is, in fact, a “Business” Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) wherein all IT management (infrastructure and application platform innovation) requirements are automatically taken care of. Vendors can take advantage of the application development tools in building consistency into their solution, such as an intuitive user interface/user navigation, reporting, dashboards, etc.
In this post, we offer a deep dive into the finer differences between AWS or Azure offers as a platform vs. Salesforce.
1. IT Management is easier with a Salesforce-based EHS
When AWS or Azure is used, the product vendor is still responsible for the following:
- Proper provisioning
- Security to protect data (while AWS and Azure provide security of the cloud and infrastructure, the customer is still responsible for security within their application)
- Efforts to secure the code base
- Security to ensure data between customers does NOT get mixed up
- Compliance requirements such as HIPAA, PCI, SOC 1, SOC 2, etc
- Disaster Recovery – to minimize downtime and accelerate recovery of data
- Platform level innovation – wherein the vendor has to build platform tools using AWS’ or Azure’s infrastructure
- Scalability for load balancing, usage spikes, etc
- Availability monitoring
- Vulnerability assessment and protections
From an EHS solution perspective, the biggest disadvantage of using AWS or Azure is that one still needs a dedicated IT and technology team to build and manage the infrastructure. This often results in increased costs and slower time-to-value.
As briefly touched upon above, Salesforce offers a modern cloud “Business Platform” not only providing IaaS and PaaS but also Business Development Tools. For example, all apps built will have the same user interface, user navigation, and report & dashboard generation. Using a Salesforce built app makes it familiar and easier to use other apps which helps accelerate user adoption.
The Salesforce PaaS is designed to deliver the following:
- A multi-tenant SaaS application that is available for various customers to use
- Data and information security
- Compliance requirements such as HIPAA, PCI, SOC 1, SOC 2
- Automatic disaster recovery, with necessary backups, is automatically setup
- Ongoing vulnerability assessment, with automatic upgrades and patches, is taken for granted
- High availability
- Platform level tools like Chatter (for collaboration) and Einstein Analytics (for charts and dashboards) to leverage and build on. In the case of AWS, for instance, Amazon Chime can be configured for collaboration but the process is not seamless and pricing may be a bottleneck.
- Flexibility and easy configuration capabilities make it easy to automate the QHSE workflow as per the demands of the business
Overall, from a value proposition standpoint, Salesforce is better for two key reasons: lower TCO and faster time-to-value (TTV).
2. A Salesforce-based EHS is more flexible, scalable and cost-effective
Make no mistake, AWS as a platform is highly secure, reliable and flexible as well. But the onus of delivering this capability is with the vendor. One needs a dedicated cloud engineering team to ensure that all necessary AWS configurations are in place. It can also get more expensive in terms of pricing.
In the case of building a QHSE on the Salesforce platform, a vendor (like ComplianceQuest) can focus on innovation, building a set of EHS solutions to automate key processes without spending time or resources on platform configuration.
3. Salesforce’s platform-level innovation delivers better user experience
The answer to this question is straightforward: To drive innovation at a platform level, vendors need a top-notch cloud engineering team to take advantage of what AWS offers.
AWS, of course, offers a wide-range of tools for developers. This includes a vast array of SDK components in familiar, easy to use programming languages. These SDKs include those for AI, analytics and collaboration. But, these are more pre-code snippets and requires serious engineering effort to build and deploy.
For instance with AWS, if you would like to build a team collaboration tool like Chatter, it requires a highly-skilled team of developers and cloud specialists to build this into your application.
If ComplianceQuest had used AWS, we would have to allocate bandwidth to build something like Chatter or Einstein Analytics, using various AWS Services, SDKs, or AWS Marketplace third-party software, taking away time on focusing on our customers’ problems and our solutions.
With the Salesforce platform, our work has become easier. More importantly, it is about understanding and solving the needs and wants of our end-users – quality and safety professionals. We’re able to leverage Salesforce platform tools like Einstein AI, Einstein Analytics and Chatter and build application-specific capabilities on top of that.
Salesforce improves the platform and releases new capabilities three times a year and provides early releases for vendors to test and prepare their applications for smooth upgrades. This allows vendors like ComplianceQuest to get access to continuous platform-level innovation which is reflected in how the usability of the app continues to improve.
Salesforce also offers a trusted integration and API Platform, to integrate data from any system.
The API platform makes it easy to
- Rapidly connect any app, IoT device, data, or computing device in the cloud or on-premises with Salesforce MuleSoft Anypoint Platform
- It is also easy to bring data from any third-party system such as Oracle, SAP etc. into Salesforce
With the Salesforce Platform, developers (and business users) can take advantage of lightning-fast no-code tools to build and configure apps, very quickly. Some of the capabilities of the Salesforce Platform includes:
- Lightning App Builder – user interface
- Schema Builder – object data model and custom fields
- Process Builder – workflow
- Social Collaboration – chatter and social like
- Embedded Analytics – reports and dashboards
- Translation Workbench – multi-lingual
- Communities – portals
- Mobile app builder – mobile accessibility
In summary, the key advantages of building an EHS solution on the Salesforce platform are:
- Ease of integration with other business systems including CRM, ERP, PLM and inventory control systems
- Unique platform tools like Einstein Analytics & AI, Reporting & Dashboards, AppExchange, IoT, Chatter & Mobile that are available in Salesforce
- Ease of collaboration with Salesforce Chatter
- Mobile apps and mobile-first capabilities, further strengthened by the power of the Salesforce 1 Platform
- Data visibility and traceability functionality in Salesforce make it easy to build features like audit trails
- Single data model across CRM, Services and QHSE, making it easy to automate processes like Complaint Management
- Scalability & Flexibility and Enterprise-grade security and compliance
- Ease of configuration
- Easy for IT to deploy and administer and easy for business end-user to manage
- Better TCO and ROI
Request for a demo of CQ EHS built on the Salesforce platform here: