E2 ManageTech

Implementing an EMIS: The Right Way and the Wrong Way!


The information age has touched all corners of business and private life. Environmental managers are not exempt from its touch. Today’s environmental manager has the difficult job of keeping the company in compliance as well as acting as environmental historian. Much more environmental information is available today than ever before. Compounding this problem is the fact that environmental functions were not exempt from corporate streamlining, belt tightening and budget cutting. Finally, with corporations increasingly considering environmental costs as a function that should be managed as actively as any other area of the business, the demand for systematic environmental information management tools is increasing rapidly. Today’s environmental professional is faced with the need to manage more information with less available staff time, to do it faster, better and cheaper, and to have the information available at his/her fingertips.

Deciding on the right Environmental Management Information System (EMIS) solution can be quite difficult. Numerous off-the-shelf solutions exist and customized system development is always an option. Implementation of an EMIS is generally a costly project, both in terms of dollars and in terms of manpower distractions and process changes. Therefore, getting it right the first time is critical. Like a construction project, when you turn on the switch, the equipment is expected to perform as planned and designed.

With expectations for EMIS benefits high, proper implementation procedures are very important. This paper addresses a recommended approach for successful EMIS implementation. The following key points are highlighted:

· Make sure an EMIS is for you
· Select the right EMIS for your technical and cultural needs
· Commission the right implementation team (a strong, dedicated project manager is key)
· Conduct the implementation in small, measurable steps
· Conduct training strategically
· Develop a maintenance plan before the implementation is complete

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