Making the decision to migrate from an existing software platform to a newer more powerful one isn’t always easy.  Organizations often have large bases of installed software and may have made large financial commitments based on the best available information at the time of the commitment.  However, if there is one thing that is constant in computing and software it is change, and Kenexis Open-PHA™ Process Hazards Analysis (PHA) and Layer of Protection Analysis (LOPA) software provides a new and innovative platform that offers many benefits over competing PHA/LOPA software tools.

In this post we’ll be evaluating the top five reasons to switch to Open-PHA™ from an existing PHA/LOPA software tool.  If your organization hasn’t already committed to another piece of PHA/LOPA software, considering Open-PHA™ is an easy decision.  Open-PHA™ has a zero-cost option in the standard Open-PHA™ desktop edition which is freely available for download through the Kenexis website here.  It’s also actively maintained with new features being added constantly and it is easily scalable as your organization grows.

This post isn’t for PHA/LOPA practitioners looking for a new PHA/LOPA software tool, this post is for those who have a history using other PHA software applications.  In this post we’ll be looking at the top five features of Open-PHA™ that make it unique among it’s peers and we’ll discuss why these new and innovative features may make it worth considering a change in your organization.

#5           Collaborative Working Environment

A license to Open-PHA™ Premium comes with access to the collaboration features of the Kenexis Integrated Safety Suite (KISS) right out of the box.  With Open-PHA™ Cloud, you’re PHA/LOPA data can be stored in the Kenexis cloud and shared with an unlimited number of Open-PHA™ Cloud users world-wide.  As the owner of your PHA/LOPA data you have the capability to grant and restrict access to users within your organization or within other organizations who are licensed Open-PHA™ users.

Access to PHA/LOPA study data can also be restricted to view-only access for reviewer’s and/or auditors.  The collaborative tools of the Kenexis Integrated Safety Suite streamline the review, approval, and auditing of PHA and LOPA studies by providing a single repository when the study data is stored which is accessible to all licensed and authorized colleagues.

For an operating company, this means that data can be shared with engineering contractors for project work or with corporate PSM groups for auditing purposing without the need to generate reports or make local unsecured copies of the original project files.  You simply need to create an authorization for the user requiring access.

For an engineering contractor or consultancy, this means that you can share access to the native PHA/LOPA study files with your clients directly in the Kenexis Integrated Safety Suite, provided that your clients are also licensed Open-PHA™ Cloud users.  If clients are not licensed in Open-PHA™ Cloud, files can be exporter from the Kenexis Integrated Safety Suite and shared in the native Open-PHA™ format which is readable and writable with the free to download Open-PHA™ Desktop addition.  In either case, your PHA/LOPA studies can be provided to your client in the native editable file format which provides added value to your projects over the traditional PHA study report deliverable.  Clients will have the capability to maintain their own study data following the execution of an engineering project.

#4           Open-Source and Immutable Data Structure

OK, at this point most of you are thinking one of two things:

  • I have no idea what “open source” and “immutable” means
  • Or, I understand what that means but I have no idea why it provides value.

So, before you skip over this section entirely, let me explain what it means for the data structure to be open source and immutable.

Open source means that the structure of the file format for Open-PHA™ data is publicly available and well documented.  Open-PHA™ data are stored in the JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) file format.  If you haven’t heard of this format it’s similar to the XML file format and in recent years has replaced XML as the data transfer format of the internet.  Your computer and mobile devices are likely transferring data in JSON format right now without you even realizing it.

By having an open source data structure in JSON format, Open-PHA™ study data can be easily queried by any modern programming language.  This means that the transfer of valuable information from your PHA/LOPA studies can be easily and automatically integrated with other process safety, management of change or maintenance management applications you may currently be using.  This is in contrast to other PHA/LOPA software tools which store your data in proprietary, closed, and undocumented file formats.

Because other PHA/LOPA software file formats are proprietary, there is no way to extract data from your PHA/LOPA studies without exporting data into word processing or spreadsheet applications and transferring the data manually into other software platforms or databases.  For a single PHA/LOPA study the effort of manually transferring this data may be manageable however when you consider this effort scaled to the level required for multiple operating units or multiple sites, the improved efficiency of automating this process becomes significant.  Your employees spend their time focusing on what matters, not manually transferring and maintaining process safety information in multiple locations.

Being immutable means that the data structure can not be modified.  Traditionally, PHA/LOPA software applications have allowed for a user to modify the structure of PHA and LOPA data permitting additional fields to be added or for unwanted fields to be removed.  Kenexis has taken a different approach with Open-PHA™.  Rather than requiring you as the user to modify the data structure, Open-PHA™ pairs the use of an immutable data structure with a superset of fields inclusive of any fields that you may want to track in your PHA or LOPA studies.  In Open-PHA™, fields for the superset is simply hidden or shown as required.

By having an immutable data structure Open-PHA™ achieves two things which are not possible with older PHA/LOPA software tools.  First, by implementing an immutable data structure, any file created using Open-PHA™ has a consistent and predictable data structure.  This means that regardless of the fields which are hidden or shown in any particular file, all of the data is still present and consistently formatted.  This is important because it makes data transfer between Open-PHA™ and other software tools seamless.

#3           Multi-Lingual Support and Translation Services

Open-PHA™ was designed for the ground up with the global engineering community in mind.  Modern engineering projects often require collaboration between operating companies, contractors, and consultants around the globe.  For this reason, the Open-PHA™ graphical user interface has been translated to a growing number of languages by native speaking process safety engineers world-wide to support regions of the world where English is not a commonly spoken language.

In addition to a multi-lingual user interface, Open-PHA™ Cloud also provides translation services for entire PHA/LOPA studies at no additional cost.

#2           Integration with Kenexis Vertigo SIS Lifecycle Management

Let’s face it, today no Process Hazards Analysis (PHA) is complete without a Layer of Protection Analysis (LOPA).  Subsequently, no LOPA is complete without identifying a requirement for at least a few Safety Instrumented Functions (SIFs), even for revalidation studies.  This means that every PHA study ultimately results in the need to create, update, or revalidate the Safety Instrumented System (SIS) documentation associated with the process under study.  Without the integration provided by Open-PHA™ Premium and the Kenexis Integrated Safety Suite this process is manual, time-consuming, and error prone.

Open-PHA™ Cloud provides seamless integration with other Kenexis process safety applications.  Most notable, it allows synchronization on IPL’s in Open-PHA™ with the Vertigo SIS Lifecycle Management application.  An Open-PHA™ Cloud study can be synchronized with Vertigo providing the functionality to automatically generate SIF lists for SIL Verification and SRS development.  This ensures that consistency is maintained between the LOPA and SIS design information throughout the life of the process.

When PHA/LOPA studies are revalidated using Open-PHA™ an automatic synchronization of the SIS design information can be performed, updating Vertigo SIS Lifecycle Management studies with changes or additions resulting from the LOPA revalidation.  All of this occurs automatically and instantly, saving you from the time and torment of maintained process safety information on multiple platforms.

#1           Cost / Licensing and Pricing Model

Open-PHA™ provides a wide range of licensing and pricing models which are designed to meet to needs of any type of user.  For users who don’t require the enterprise sharing and productivity features of Open-PHA™ Cloud, the Open-PHA™ Desktop version provides the world’s first free PHA/LOPA software tool.  The desktop version of Open-PHA™ is usually sufficient for small consulting organizations who do PHA’s on occasion but not as a primary line of business.  It provides a zero-cost alternative to performing PHA’s and LOPA’s in tool which are not purpose built for the task, like Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.

Open-PHA™ Cloud can be licensed under one of two licensing models.  First and the more popular of the two models is the concurrent user licensing model.  With the concurrent user licensing model, a license is issued to an organization for one or more concurrent users.  The number of concurrent users is the number of users who can simultaneously access Open-PHA™ Cloud through the Kenexis Integrated Safety Suite (KISS) which is a collection of process safety applications available 24/7 in the cloud and accessible through any internet enabled device.  The concurrent user licensing model is easily scalable based on your organization’s needs, additional concurrent user seats can be added to a license at any time and prorated for the license duration.  Concurrent user licensing is typically the best option for operating companies where fewer users are expected to be accessing the software simultaneously and large surges in usage are not expected due to multiple large engineering projects.

The second licensing option for Open-PHA™ Cloud is the pay-as-you-go licensing model.  With pay-as-you-go licensing you only pay for the time you spend actively working in Open-PHA™ Cloud through the Kenexis Integrated Safety Suite.  This does not include any time spent working on the Open-PHA™ Desktop version while not accessing the premium features of Open-PHA™ Cloud.  With pay-as-you-go, a license is issued to an organization, just like a concurrent user license.  However, with a pay-as-you-go license there is no limit on the number of concurrent users.  This means that your licensing scales automatically based on your organizations work load.  During periods of high workloads, many users can access and work in Open-PHA™ simultaneous which will result in higher than average licensing costs.  During periods of low workloads, licensing costs are low because of the low software usage.  The pay-as-you-go licensing options is best suited for large engineering and consulting organizations where the requirements for the number of concurrent users is highly variables and driven by the number and types of project currently active within the organization.


Consider this, cassette tapes were a great piece of technology in their day, so were compact disks and personal MP3 players but we don’t see any of these technologies in use today because modern mobile devices and streaming services provide superior music distribution platforms which made those technologies obsolete.  It’s time to consider applying the same logic to engineering tools and learn how modern web technologies can be used to bring our process safety workflows into the age of cloud computing.

Learn more about how Kenexis and Open PHA can benefit your organization.  Download the free Open-PHA™ Desktop edition, request a free Open-PHA™ Cloud trial or contact Kenexis to start a dialog at [email protected].