An Interview with… iSystain
What’s new at iSystain?
iSystain is continuously evolving. We have refreshed our values and our website to reflect iSystain’s purpose: to make great software to drive great systems for people, the planet and measuring impact.
What are the key focuses at Systar right now in terms of direction and strategy?
Systar is focused on embedding our values within our organisation’s culture whilst ensuring our people are inspired and supported on this journey to grow with purpose. This investment will reinforce our sustainability foundation, and lead to an improved understanding of our client’s needs and translation to the iSystain environment.
Systar is focussed on improving our iSystain user experience, by changing the design and look of the product interface based on feedback from our clients. Users can view Quick Links and Open Actions from their Home page and easily navigate between hubs using a variety of techniques (e.g. icons, searches, breadcrumbs).
Can you talk about the development of technology generally and how this is positively impacting your space?
Systar is a technology company and iSystain is a Sustainability Software Platform – in the cloud. Therefore, keeping up with technology is a fundamental aspect of our business and purpose. It positively impacts our space in several ways (1) by enabling us to continually improve our product and service (2) by helping us to work sustainably and (3) by increasing access for potential clients, who are now more confident in the use and application of technology (particularly those unaccustomed to software platforms).
Other news you’d like to promote?
Systar has partnered with Green Music Australia to provide in-kind technical support and advice to systematise data capture, collation and management using iSystain’s Sustainability module and associated hubs (e.g. analytics and reporting). To achieve these goals, we have configured a pilot project called Music Industry Database of Impact (MIDI). Green Music Australia is a registered charity, harnessing the cultural power of the influential music scene to create a greener, safer future.
We have also been writing articles on sustainability topics that inspire us and are helping to shape Systar’s and iSystain’s direction. These include carbon reporting and net zero emissions, stakeholder management and modern slavery.
Inside your current systems, what are the types of functionality you get asked for most often by clients (existing or needing development)
Clients often ask about data capture, interfaces and integration. For corporate/experienced users of Software as a Service and data management systems, iSystain includes Integration Services functionality to import data from data lakes (and to export back to), company databases, operational monitoring equipment (e.g. real time data) and third-party suppliers.
For clients who ask about manual data input on site, iSystain has developed an App for users to complete tasks via a smartphone, such as incident reporting, inspections and audits, closing corrective actions and checking competencies. For inexperienced users, or unique datasets, iSystain assists clients by creating templates suitable to meet their needs in the short-term while creating a longer-term data handling strategy.
What are the main operational changes you’re seeing at your clients (i.e. centralising ESG teams)
Our experience at iSystain is working with integrated multidisciplinary teams. At the corporate level, this might comprise sustainability or ESG practitioners as well as engineers, project managers, designers/architects and, data and business analysts.
In many cases, these teams are geographically distributed, which highlights the importance of planned and managed online meetings and electronic communications (Covid impacts aside). This works well for iSystain because we can demonstrate the client’s solution to the whole team simultaneously, to facilitate and respond to questions about individual components in a systematic way (and considering impacts on others). We also have a good stakeholder management module.
What are companies doing now in regards to reporting that they perhaps weren’t doing a few years ago?
Our clients remain focused on health and safety, sustainability and climate-related emissions reporting but there are increasing public expectations, and in some cases mandatory requirements, for transparency and disclosure. iSystain is well-placed therefore to ensure the rigour required to make sure reported data is accurate, defensible and representative of the organisation’s performance and achievements.
There has also been a shift in the social impact sphere, from philanthropy to social innovation and procurement, based on recognition that corporations can produce further reaching impact and deliver significant business returns. This is the essence of the B4SI (Business for Societal Impact, formerly LBG) Framework, within which Systar is working towards alignment.
Potential negative impacts and mitigation in supply and value chains have come to the fore, with the implementation of the Commonwealth Modern Slavery Act 2018. Again, annual disclosure statements are key but importantly, the legislation recognises there is no immediate solution – stakeholder engagement and continuous improvement is the way forward.
We are also seeing, and are motivated by, an increase in partnerships between corporates and not-for-profits to leverage positive environmental and social impact using their combined skills, our work with Green Music Australia being a case in point. Furthermore, many businesses are starting to think globally and align their outcomes to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which encompass many of the reporting topics discussed here.
What do you feel are the major barriers to a company successfully implementing the software solution that will really drive their understanding and ability to impact sustainability?
Some of the barriers to implementing software solutions have fallen due to the rapid digitalisation of workplaces driven by Covid-19, at least for communications and doing teamwork in sectors that were not previously technologically enabled. This could have flow on effects, including an increased uptake of Software as a Service for managing functions such as Health & Safety, Risk Management and Sustainability Reporting, and/or measuring Social Impact. Furthermore, future workforces will be technologically advanced, and it is likely that they will expect to use software solutions.
However, poor organisational change management and lack of collaboration between divisions or sites might also impact on the successful implementation of the software solution. It is a major shift to go from a project-based approach (i.e., producing an Annual Sustainability Report) to collating, monitoring and reporting on data with the goal of producing a positive environmental and/or social impact so this transition needs championing from all levels of the organisation.
Perceptions about information and cyber security is also a growing concern. Addressing this problem requires people-based initiatives, to heighten their awareness of risks, and provision of technological control mechanisms.
If you had to select one USP of iSystain’s. What would this be?
Putting people at the heart of the solution. iSystain is feature rich and configurable, which means we will work with our Clients and solution users to build the system that they want to work with. We use the same approaches our Client’s use when implementing, and measuring the success of, their social impact and environmental sustainability initiatives and programs. We empathise, ideate, create test environments to work towards the final solution, iterate based on feedback and keep innovating.
Visit iSystain’s website for more information about their SAAS solution: WEBSITE