An Interview with… IsoMetrix
SustainIt sat down with new IsoMetrix COO Giles Nelson. Following external investment in 2019, Giles will be responsible for the product and solutions in order to address the requirements of tomorrow to their expanding customer base.
IsoMetrix first emerged as an ISO 140001 compliance tool for the mining industry. Since 2003, IsoMetrix has grown rapidly to become a governance risk and compliance software platform offering a range of EHS, compliance and sustainability solutions. IsoMetrix presents itself as a company-wide risk management solution for high-risk industries and has attracted blue-chip customers such as Anglo American and De Beers Group.
What’s new at IsoMetrix?
IsoMetrix was acquired by The Carlyle Group in 2019 and we received the initial growth capital injection earlier in 2020. This investment is reflective of Carlyle’s view of our potential but also their view of the market potential with EHS software. While the current investment in product research and development will ensure the company’s solutions remains relevant in the market, it will also ensure expansion of the breadth and depth of the functionality.
Despite the COVID pandemic, we hired about 50 new employees in recent months. We now have 220 employees, increasing the workforce by roughly 25% comparing to 2019.
On top of this, we will also be launching the next major release of our platform next year, V Cloud, which is exciting! This is part of our strategy of SAASification to make it easier to; implement, use, upgrade, understand and support our clients on IsoMetrix. This will also have a focus on better integrations, particularly with external systems.
Finally, we have recently released an offering for ESG reporting. This is aimed at large organizations; helping them to collect, analyse and understand data from across their businesses in multiple industries and locations. This provides transparency for leaders to consider the broader impact of their operations, and tangibly demonstrates the company’s commitment to sustainability, often required by investors.
Can you talk about the development of technology generally and how this is positively impacting your space?
I’ve had a lot of experience in financial services so it’s very interesting to compare this to the ‘real-world’ industries that IsoMetrix addresses in its market, such as oil and gas.
The financial service industry is quite a virtual industry, dealing with nearly exclusively digital services. Even still, their services are arguably not as advanced as they should be considering they are principally offering digital services.
So let’s look at the manufacturing industries… How far along are these companies in their ‘journey’? During the 2020s and beyond I’m sure we will see a huge change in how these companies operate by bringing data to the fore.
Using IoT as an example of emerging tech, if we look at the Gartner curve we see a drop-off in usage in IoT but actually this is where it gets really interesting. IoT provides potential by linking the real world to the digital world.
Therefore, tech like this is much more interesting in the types of companies IsoMetrix works with that are dealing with real-life working environments. Sensors as a component of IoT and their ubiquitous use is giving companies the ability to send small pieces of data across long distances quite cheaply. In turn, this gives you a very data rich environment in which to make informed decisions about how you operate. IoT really represents an opportunity to reduce manual intervention, flying people out all over the world, and also provides much more information and I think this will continue for the foreseeable future.
One aphorism people use is that ‘data is the new oil’. Data then is this crude, raw material that doesn’t have value in itself until it’s refined and turned into something of value.
Cloud based solutions such as AWS, Azure & Google are becoming more accessible and are aiding this transition to valuable data collection and management. From here, other AI and predictive technologies are driving this further. This is just one example of a simple design pattern where a company can continuously monitor an environment from a baseline and grow. These better tools enable people to do their jobs more effectively.
There’s a lot of talk about removing people from the workplace but I don’t buy this. In the short term at least, there will always be the need for the human brain and the tech will simply make people more effective and efficient in their jobs by providing them more and better information in order to achieve this.
What are the key focuses at IsoMetrix right now in terms of direction and strategy?
A key focus is about enhancing our Environmental Compliance and Permitting Solution to be applicable to all industries rather than just the mining sector specifically.
Another element of our current strategy is the key role of partners as part of our ‘Partner Ecosystem’. Here, we are not just talking about resellers, but we are talking about advisory partners and implementation partners. We are aware that working with implementation partners does involve huge enablement, so we are making sure that it is easy to understand, implement and support the IsoMetrix platform.
Inside your current systems, what are the types of functionality you get asked for most often by clients (existing or needing development)?
We are being asked for more centralised tracking and reporting of the risks through a risk register. Customers are also looking at the flexibility of data capture to meet their bespoke requirements which means they can collect the data that is material to them and in a way that matches their current internal processes.
Mobility is another key aspect of what we are developing now. We already allow for data importation from other systems and this is a feature that is almost always asked for from all of our clients.
We’re also being asked to include different language capabilities. In South America, this means we need to provide IsoMetrix in Spanish predominately, but we’re also working with some multinational and global mining companies where we need to deploy a solution in Portuguese, French as well as English.
IsoMetrix Integrated Risk and Compliance Solution
What do you feel are the major barriers to a company successfully implementing a software solution like yours that will really drive their understanding and ability to impact sustainability?
First and foremost, we believe that some companies are still reluctant to change. Managing change associated to a new technology or a new piece of software is key. This is still the reason why some companies are not moving towards technology effectively and into the world of software.
Another issue is a lack of understanding about what the software can do for them and their organisation. Therefore, there is a required effort of educating the customer; educating those companies in what to expect with the software.
Finally, there is often a lack of a robust business case for spending money on technology. Companies are still asking, “What do I get with all this money I’m investing in technology?”, so it’s our and our partners responsibility to show them.
If you had to select the single main USP of IsoMetrix, what would it be?
One of our key USPs is our ability to connect departments together, be it Health & Safety or Sustainability or Risk that used to be working in silos.
IsoMetrix’s Golden ThreadsTM are what we call these linkages between the different pieces of information. IsoMetrix provides the following Golden Threads as standard, in order to visualise data and assist companies to be proactive in their decision-making processes across the organisation by having all the necessary data to hand.
IsoMetrix Golden Threads