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19 Oct 2022 - Technology - EnviroSys

Spreadsheets vs environmental database software

Spreadsheets for environmental data management – what could go wrong? 

It happens before you know it. Spreadsheets start out as a convenient way to capture and store your environmental data. It’s a format everyone understands. You can share them with your team. And they provide a no-cost way to manage everything you need to report. At least in the beginning. 

 For the same reasons, it’s easy to end up back at spreadsheets once you’ve outgrown an environmental data management system. Those early tools may have worked great when the data wasn’t very complicated and there weren’t many obligations. Many data management tools haven’t kept pace with modern requirements for environmental reporting – or they were general data management tools and weren’t fit for the purpose of environmental data to begin with.   

Image of environmental data stored in spreadsheets instead of EDMS software.

If you’re like everyone else, you’re measuring more parameters than ever before. Your monitoring programs are expanding. What started out as a relatively straightforward way to manage your environmental data can quickly become unwieldy. Truth be told, it doesn’t take long before spreadsheets no longer resemble a management system at all. As your operations grow, and compliance obligations become more critical to your license to operate, the initial order of your spreadsheet systems quickly falls away. Chaos ensues.  

If it’s not exactly chaotic in your office, it’s probably heading that way. All it takes is someone to ask the simple question, “Are we compliant right now?” and your whole team can lose a day, week or even month trying to organise all the data needed to provide an answer. Even then, it can be difficult to know if you have the right information, or the right version of the information, or all the information you need to report a complete picture of your environmental compliance.  

If your old tools or manual systems are getting in the way of team performance or achieving your KPIs, it’s time to consider how a sophisticated environmental data management solution (EDMS) can help. When your spreadsheets take you away from the things you’d rather be doing, an EDMS can make your life easier and your team more productive.  

Six ways environmental database software is superior to spreadsheets 

If it’s time to move off spreadsheets and start using a sophisticated software solution, it’s worth noting not all EDMS’s are created equally. Here’s what we consider the major advantages to using an EDMS like EnviroSys over a spreadsheet or other software products.  

  1. It provides a single source of truth – A mature EDMS provides one place where all your information, regardless if it comes from the field, laboratories, or devices, is stored for your environmental drivers, rules and data that can be accessed and used with confidence. You and your team do not need to waste time collating, checking, double-checking and correcting environmental data before you use it. Everyone in your organisation is working from the same trusted data and there’s no question about its integrity or accuracy.  
  2. It encompasses people, processes and technology – EnviroSys puts rigour behind your data. Your team will all be working with the same tool and using the same philosophy for data management. Users can co-ordinate required activities to meet sampling, monitoring and reporting obligations, and the subsequent collection of data. A mature change management process ensures there’s a complete audit trail for all changes. acQuire’s Learning program ensures everyone in your organisation can get the skills they need to use EnviroSys.  
  3. It makes reporting quick and easy Barriers to reporting are removed when you use EnviroSys. A highly visual dashboard gives you a complete, multidisciplinary overview of your operations “at a glance” and reduces dependency on the environmental department to answer questions about compliance and produce custom reports. 
  4. It gives you completeness of data You’ll have an end-to-end view of the state of your compliance. EnviroSys integrates information from all the disparate sources providing environmental information for your business. It helps you ensure your obligated sampling and monitoring is being performed in a timely, complete and accurate manner. 
  5. It automates tasks – The quality and speed of data handling is improved because EnviroSys automates the loading and verification of data, including laboratory data and real-time data. It also lets you stay on top of your environmental licenses and what needs to be addressed, as well as automating routine reporting and data delivery to stakeholders. Nothing is forgotten because EnviroSys eliminates human intervention and manual checking of approvals.  
  6. It allows you to answer, “Am I compliant right now?” – As business increasingly operates in real-time, EnviroSys provides access to your data when you need it. Because EnviroSys stores all your environmental information and rules in one spot, you can instantly assess if you’re compliant. 

Finding the right technology partner 

If you’re comfortable that it’s time to replace your spreadsheets with a sophisticated EDMS, make sure the vendor you choose specialises in software designed for data management in the resources industry. There are many nuances required for a mature environmental management initiative and the reporting that goes with it to consider when evaluating your options. You should ensure the decision you make today is going to be suitable into the future and grow with your business. Don’t be shy to ask about a vendor’s technology roadmap and their environmental credentials.  

An easier way to manage environmental data 

Find out about acQuire’s environmental data management solution – EnviroSys. Contact directly or head to the EnviroSys page 

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