The purpose of the GHGMI software evaluation program is to support the development of the GHG software marketplace and improve the quality and functionality of GHG software products. We view GHG software is an important tool for GHG professionals, and as such, this program supports the Institute’s larger mission of professional development of tomorrow’s carbon management experts.
GHGMI’s software evaluation process entails a technical review, comprising an initial evaluation and annual updates. Software vendors can also obtain ad-hoc evaluations of recently added or improved/unique functionality or the software’s compliance with a specific GHG program.
This comprehensive evaluation protocol is designed with GHGMI playing the part of a typical software customer implementing the software product and preparing its corporate GHG inventory using a reference set of activity data. The key steps in the evaluation process include:
- Training: The software vendor provides abbreviated training to GHGMI’s experts.
- Delivery of test case: GHGMI provides a description of a fictitious company with a reference set of activity data to the software vendor.
- Set up and data entry: The software is set up to represent the test case organization and activity data are entered.
- Software testing: GHGMI experts use the software, follow all calculations from activity to result, compare calculated results with results from a set of reference calculations and record any variances or anomalies encountered. Using a checklist and testing protocol reflecting the guidance in the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard, GHGMI evaluates software functionality and comments on features, functions, calculations and usability.
- On-going engagement: GHGMI engages with the software supplier to review any questions, gaps, variances or anomalies (collectively ‘issues’) encountered during the testing to understand if the issues are rooted in the brevity of training, a misunderstanding or a fault in the software.
- Report draft: The Software Review Report is drafted, documenting the results of the assessment and, where relevant, highlighting outstanding issues.
- GHGMI Internal Review: The Software Evaluation Report is reviewed internally by a GHGMI expert not directly involved in the application of the software review check list.
- Report discussion: GHGMI delivers the draft report to the software vendor, including any outstanding issues for discussion.
- Report finalization: GHGMI resolves any outstanding issues with vendor, finalizes the Software Evaluation Report and delivers it to the software vendor.
- Report summary: GHGMI produces a summary of the review outcomes.
The outputs of the initial software evaluation process are:
- A technical report, for the software vendor, which describes the assessments undertaken, contains the complete software evaluation checklist and details the results of the review
- A summary report, for the general public, highlighting the main outcomes from the review (see available summaries below).
Software Evaluation Updates
GHG software packages are expected to continuously improve, advance existing functionalities, offer new features to customers and respond to or anticipate evolving GHG accounting, reporting and management practices.
GHGMI’s software program includes periodic evaluation updates of participant software packages. Updates build on the steps and checklist used for the initial software review (see section above), identifying and analyzing changes that occur as result of: vendors’ decisions (e.g., the roll out of new functionality) and evolving GHG accounting practices (e.g., new GHGs, new methodologies, new emission factors, new GHG programs).
An independent expert evaluation of software functionality provides valuable feedback to vendors as they prepare and execute their product roadmaps.
GHGMI’s software program offers vendors the option to undertake ad-hoc evaluations to provide tailored and targeted testing and assurance. Steps in ad-hoc reviews typically are:
- The initial assessment of a vendor’s need
- The articulation of a targeted supplementary testing protocol, outlining approach and the type of output (assessment report)
- The application of the testing protocol
- The creation of suitable review summaries to public communication
Interested in having a software package reviewed by GHGMI? For additional information about the program and to discuss software review, please contact Alissa Benchimol (alissa.benchimol (at) ghginstitute.org).
Each summary below includes:
- Basic information about the provider and the software package reviewed
- A table summarizing review outcomes and assessment highlights
- GHGMI’s general comment on the software
- Software providers’ comments on the review process or outcomes
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