Cheat Sheet

  • The 1990s saw a slew of companies founded—and deals completed.
  • Dyadem was a leading HAZOP and LOPA services company.
  • CyberRegs was developed to drive continuous improvement of compliance management.

Sphera has a long, storied and sometimes complicated history. To help explain our origin story, we’ve compiled some highlights from all of the acquisitions that make up today’s Sphera.

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The ’90s


1991: A Dolphin’s Tale

With a friendly-looking blue dolphin logo that seems to be inviting people to dive in, Dolphin Software Inc.’s Comply Plus was designed for “total chemical management.” That means generating Safety Data Sheets, maintaining regulatory compliance and more. DolphinRTK is a web-based solution for material safety compliance while DolphinEco is a unique and powerful platform to help companies evaluate, substitute and reformulate hazardous chemical products to get ahead of consumer, industry and regulatory pressures.

Looking at the old Dolphin website, there’s even a fun link announcing the software was Y2K compliant. Remember those days when the big fear was calendar data would be imperiled because computers were programmed only to recognize the last two numbers for years so they wouldn’t be able to tell between the year 2000 and 1900? While some software companies experienced minor problems here and there, overall the concern turned out to be much ado about nothing. Good times.

An early version of the Dolphin website even touted how the Lake Oswego, Oregon-based company was the “proud recipient of the Oregon Technology Fast 50 Award for two years in a row recognizing Dolphin as one of the top 50 Oregon technological companies in terms of growth.”

In 2008, IHS acquired Dolphin. As the news release said: Dolphin “is a leader in developing and using chemical data and formula information to take companies to the evolving discipline of Total Chemical Management, which includes sustainability, supply chain greening and social responsibility.”

You can learn more about Sphera’s Chemical Inventory Management solutions by clicking here.

1992: Instrumental in Environmental

As IHS was wont to do, there was a second acquisition in 2008 announced in March when the company also bought Environmental Software Providers (ESP), a Mountain View, California-based sustainability software company. Founded in 1992, ESP had some serious chops in ops. The company featured its opsEnvironmental, opsInfo and opsAir products among others. Of course, nearly three decades later, opsInfo is still considered the standard when it comes to improving Environmental Performance.

In an interesting example of how the more things change, the more they stay the same, in June 2004, ESP’s president at the time told IT Insights regarding the “state of the EH&S software industry”: “We’re bullish. We recently had a really good user group meeting with 70 companies from the United States and abroad. We are seeing a lot of interest in environmental software at this time, driven not only by regulatory concerns, but also by issues like sustainability, environmental annual reporting requirements, greenhouse gas initiatives and spinoffs from the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.”

Then, just like today, there was an environment of change in the air, but as time went by the technology improved along with the potential for true Operational Excellence for Environmental Performance.

You can learn more about Sphera’s entire line of Environmental solutions by clicking here.

1994: Dyadem Delivers

Paul Simon sings about “incidents and accidents” and “hints and allegations” in the song “You Can Call Me Al.” Companies have been crooning that same tune for generations as risk management has evolved from a reactive practice to a prescriptive and predictive one with Integrated Risk Management data and analytics.

But how did that evolution take place?

A lot of that risk management strategy can be traced back to 1994, the year Dyadem International was founded.

As the Dyadem website explained back in the day, “After assessing the risk software that was already on the market, Dyadem’s founders concluded that these products did not adequately meet the needs of risk experts. The programs were not able to harness the full potential of computers, and they failed to keep up with the ever-changing world of computers and software development. An even bigger problem was that the existing products were not based on a solid understanding of the tasks that risk experts need to perform. A tool cannot be truly useful unless its designers fully appreciate the jobs for which it will be used.”

Philippe Guillard, Sphera’s vice president of chemicals and life sciences customer success management, worked at Dyadem. He explains, “One thing that we used to separate ourselves from the early competition was that we were a software company first, a software company that was built by risk engineers for risk engineers to do the best risk studies.”

Not to brag—OK, just a little—Guillard also explained that Dyadem was named to Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 list in 2009 and 2010.

The Dyadem website also promoted a host of risk consulting services, ranging from Hazards and Operability Analysis (HAZOP) facilitation to Layer of Protection Analysis (LOPA) facilitation and much more. In that tradition, Sphera’s process safety consulting team, led by John Crosman, Sphera’s senior process safety consultant, continues to help companies learn more about their Operational Risk by performing these types of risk studies and providing risk fundamental training to our clients around the world.

Of course, Dyadem was also known for introducing the world to PHA-Pro, which is still considered the most recognized desktop tool for Process Hazard Analysis on the market to help companies identify hazards, mitigate risks and share knowledge throughout the organization.

Building on the world leading PHA Pro fundamentals, Dyadem also developed Stature hand in hand with its largest clients to produce the world’s leading enterprise risk assessment software.

IHS acquired Dyadem in 2011. A news release said, “Dyadem provides software and services that help companies discover and manage the risks to people and products in the design and manufacturing processes through risk identification, assessment, mitigation, control and monitoring capabilities that provide a proactive framework for managing risks and minimizing their potential impacts on organizations.”

In other words: “Like a bridge over troubled water” it “will ease your mind.”

You can learn more about Sphera’s robust Risk Assessment software.

1995: Syntex’s Success Attributable to Its Strong Stature

At the same time that IHS announced the Atrion deal in 2010 (See Part One), there was another deal in the works as well. IHS also acquired Syntex Management Systems Inc., a Houston-based provider of Operational Risk Management software and services. Established in 1995, Syntex’s Stature software was designed to “maximize the power of enterprise computing to help organizational leaders to continually discover and address workplace dangers and system weaknesses. The result: a continuous reduction of accidents, injuries, spillages, outages and other losses in the workplace.”

Syntex, as you probably know, was responsible for making quite an impact—by bringing Impact into the world. For 20 years, Impact has helped companies track incidents, manage risk exposure, handle incident management and more to stay in regulatory compliance. But, of course, with any operational exposure, there are many risks in the sea—and on the land and in the air, too.

You can learn more about Sphera’s Incident Management software.

1997: Your Daily Dose of ‘Cyber’

Speaking of compliance, since 1997, the CyberRegs software, originally owned by Citation Technologies Inc., has been helping keep companies up-to-date on regulatory compliance information. While CyberRegs started as a database where companies could view federal regulations on those interwebs, the product soon evolved into an interface that “includes an entire array of productivity-enhancing and Management of Change tools that exponentially increases the value of any content. Subscribers know that by making CyberRegs their sole regulatory document solution, their organizations will reap the benefits of efficient change management, pervasive collaboration and communication, and increased research productivity.”

Under the testimonial section, the company coyly added: “Real people, real words. That’s what makes testimonials so powerful. You may not believe us when we gush about how CyberRegs will increase your productivity or how EWS [Early Warning Service] will keep you proactive, but when your industry peers have something to say, you’ll probably listen.”

So are you listening?

In 2012, IHS acquired CyberRegs from Citation. The acquisition, according to the news release, was designed to “Help customers reduce IT system and workflow complexity by reducing the number of vendors they rely on to support their strategies for Enterprise Sustainability Management” and to “drive continuous improvement of compliance management by incorporating CyberRegs content and expertise more tightly into the roadmaps for future IHS information solutions.”

Additionally, Citation’s president said at the time: “By bringing CyberRegs together with the full complement of IHS solutions, we believe that we are ensuring that our customers will now have the opportunity and additional resources available to take their EHS&S and product design programs to another level of excellence.”

Today, CyberRegs has more than 12,800 users and identifies, tracks and manages regulatory changes in the United States, Canada and Mexico so you don’t have to.

In other words, CyberRegs is still running on all cylinders 20-plus years later.

You can learn more about Sphera’s entire line of Environmental solutions by clicking here.

1998: Taking It to the Max With EnvironMax

In 1998, the first segment on the International Space Station was launched into space. While that project got off the ground about 250 miles above the Earth’s surface, another important project took off closer to home that year designed to help keep companies in compliance while making the Earth a better place to work and live in.

As the company’s website stated, “The EnvironMax.com mission statement, ‘Environmental Solutions for the Global Village’ is more than just a convenient catch phrase.  At EnvironMax.com, we know how to develop and deliver those solutions to the point of need.” The site also explained that: “As the global requirement for stringent environmental enforcement increases, we will deliver the technologies that will allow industry to prevent inadvertent hazardous materials loss or exposure.”

EnvironMax’s suite of products, known as EnvironMax ME, were designed to “promote and enable enterprisewide environmental compliance across the complete range of domains (air, water, etc.).” Additionally, the company’s website said: “EnvironMax is used by some of the largest military depots in the world, tracking over 30,000 Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) listed substances. It is used successfully in enterprises of all sizes.”

Less than a decade later, IHS acquired EnvironMax. IHS’s president at the time said, “This acquisition leverages the strong IHS position in aerospace and defense, and broadens our emerging environmental business helping our customers address critical issues related to hazardous materials and the environment. This addition to our portfolio comes at a time when environmental and sustainability issues are of significant and growing importance to businesses and governments worldwide.”

That’s game, set, ’Max when it came to environmental compliance.

You can learn more about Sphera’s entire line of Environmental software.