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12 Sep 2022 - Technology - EnviroSys

What to look for in an environmental data management system

Mining operation in the middle of green environment. Ensuring environmental compliance requires an EDMS.Managing environmental data is not easy – but it’s never been more critical. Increasing attention on how well organisations are managing the earth’s resources adds pressure to environmental departments that are already time poor. Add in focus from the public and the media, and it’s increasingly important to be able to assess risk and ensure environmental compliance quickly and accurately. As the stakes become higher, having a tool to help you identify non-conformance issues and stay on top of your KPIs is essential.

Getting on top of environmental data

Having a single source of truth for all your environmental data may seem like a pipe dream, but there are ways you can get the information you need without delving into all your environmental datasets. An environmental data management system (EDMS) is designed for that very purpose. A good EDMS gives you one place to find everything you need to know about your state of compliance, whether your data is complete, how you’re tracking against your KPIs and where you’re at risk of non-conformance. While evaluating an EDMS may be the last thing you want to do, knowing what to look for can make the decision a lot easier.

End-to-end compliance information

The first thing to look for is an end-to-end view of the state of your compliance. You’ll want to make sure the EDMS integrates information from all the disparate sources providing environmental information for your business. In practice, this means tracking whether sampling and monitoring activities are being performed, and then assessing the sampling and monitoring data against your triggers, limits and conditions.

Multiple types of dataBeing able to handle the complexity and scale of multiple types of environmental data is crucial.

Being able to handle the complexity and scale of multiple types of environmental data is crucial. While many tools specialise in one area, like water quality, what you need is an EDMS that handles everything you require to track and report, including:

  • air quality
  • water
    • ground
    • surface
    • potable
  • meteorological
  • noise
  • waste
  • emissions
  • soil
  • land disturbance
  • rehabilitation activities
  • flora and fauna.

Automation and integration

Ideally, you’ll want to automate all data flowing into and out of your EDMS. Your EDMS should be able to handle both data from your laboratories and other third parties, plus data you collect in real time. This improves quality and speed of data handling by eliminating the need for your team to get involved in logging and verifying data.

Automation should extend to keeping you abreast of environmental licenses and what needs to be addressed. Again, if your EDMS can eliminate human intervention or manual checking of approvals, your environmental compliance improves because nothing is forgotten.

You’ll also want to ensure your EDMS can automate and integrate data in real time, along with two-way data flows from:

  • laboratories
  • IoT devices and telemetry
  • business intelligence and corporate reporting
  • software from other vendors.

Data visualisation and streamlined reporting

It’s not enough for your EDMS to manage your environmental data. For it to be truly useful, you should be able to know immediately whether you’re compliant, where you need to turn your attention and easily provide reporting on your current state of compliance. If you can’t quickly determine your compliance risk or produce a report as and when needed, your EDMS isn’t doing the heavy lifting.

Excellent technology

If you’ve been limping along with spreadsheets and manual reporting, any kind of software may seem like a big improvement. Look for technology that can handle the same kind of complexity you’re dealing with in your organisation. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Does the EDMS handle all the data I have to manage?
  • Can I analyse and report on my data in real time?
  • Is there a high-level view of the main issues and environmental non-conformances?
  • Is there a way to track my KPIs in a simple graph or table? Will it show me the business or regulatory risks of missing those KPIs?
  • Is there mobile access so my team and I can use the EDMS while in the field?

Ultimately, you’ll want your EDMS to help you effortlessly answer this question: Am I compliant right now?

Partnering with experts

If you’re comfortable the EDMS can give you a clear view and complete transparency over all your environmental data, the last thing to consider is the vendor behind the software. You’ll want to find a company who specialises in data management solutions. You’ll also want a company that has a core business dedicated to software for people who manage natural resources.

Things to consider when assessing the right technology partner include:

  • Who are the people behind the software? Are they techies or do they have environmental credentials?
  • Is your investment future-proofed by the vendor’s planning? Ask about their technology roadmap.
  • How often can you expect updates or upgrades to your EDMS?
  • Is the company well-funded and well-resourced?
  • What kind of post-sale support does it offer?
  • What kind of training is available?

Lastly, look for a technology partner that has been in the market for a long time. You want to work with an organisation that is as passionate about and committed to environmental data as you are. Can you measure that commitment in months, years or decades?

EnviroSys is your single source of truth for environmental data compliance

Environmental data compliance has been the sole focus of EnviroSys for nearly 20 years. It’s an environmental data management system that provides a trusted, single source of truth for your environmental drivers, rules and data, which can be accessed and used with confidence. Because EnviroSys stores all your environmental information and rules in one spot, you can instantly assess if you’re compliant.

Here’s the best part: you don’t need to become a software expert to use EnviroSys. With excellent dashboards and data visualisations, you can easily tell if you’re compliant.

More information about environmental data management systems

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


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