To assist with on-going environmental compliance management, many companies have identified the need for a system that serves as a central repository for environmental data. The initial approach may be a system of spreadsheets that provide an overview of each site's equipment inventory/ regulatory authorization, and required compliance-related action items. Drawbacks to spreadsheets include access rights, version problems, outdated information, and limited functionality. More robust Environmental Management Information Systems (EMIS), including off-the-shelf and custom-developed solutions, are designed to grow with a company's changing environmental needs.
To select and implement a successful EMIS, an organization should consider several steps. The following list identifies some sample steps.
- Needs Assessment
- Key Stakeholders
- Sources of Data
- Identification of Needs
- System Selection
- Analyze Potential Solutions
- Software Recommendation
- Pilot Implementation
- Acceptance Testing
- Full Rollout
Once the need for an EMIS has been justified, the key stakeholders have been selected, and the current data sources have been determined, an organization should identify needs. In this most critical step, the organization should identify and prioritize the environmental, information technology (IT), and business-related requirements for the system. The following list includes sample requirements.
- Emission Calculation Capabilities
- Equipment Tracking Capabilities
- Facilitate Electronic Reporting
- Data Export Functionality
- Compliance Task Reminders (Email Notification)
- Scalable and Flexible Solution
- Software Vendor Company Stability
This paper details sample steps for performing a needs assessment and selecting a successful EMIS.