An environmental database management system is the single-most valuable tool you can invest in, if you’re working in environmental engineering or related services. That’s true for private firms and public agencies that collect and analyze data to create solutions, labs and others who provide scientific support services, or property and facility managers responsible for ongoing stewardship.
Just as the name implies, an EDMS is an automated technology solution that enables your team to complete work in greater detail, faster and more accurately. Yet some organizations are still leery of adopting a comprehensive database management program. Fortunately, the vast majority of concerns are actually myths. Let’s dispel a few.
1. You have to be a big operation to reap the benefits.
An electronic database management system is entirely scalable to fit any size company or agency, any size project, any number of projects in any number of locations. It can handle a virtually unlimited amount of data.
Every science-based business or public entity needs to maximize efficiency and effectiveness in the field as well as in the office. And smaller firms need to do everything they can to level the playing field with larger competitors. An electronic database management system can help you do that.
2. We don’t need one.
How much time do you spend on redundant clerical tasks such as transcribing data from the field, filing and searching for files or performing endless calculations and conversions? How many mistakes are made along the way? Do your engineers and geologists have to travel back and forth from field to office just to consult documents, or drag around cumbersome maps and binders?
How easy is it for you to prepare submittals or comply with regulatory reporting requirements?
If you answered “ouch” to any of these questions, you need an electronic database management system. You’ll get more than another tool, you’ll get an automated partner that supports every aspect of your work and streamlines project management from beginning to end. You’ll get efficient, real-time electronic capture of unlimited volumes of data, immediately uploaded to a central database.
Your electronic partner eliminates manual entry and conversions, so you can work faster and more accurately. It even supports “thinking” with instant mapping, quick query response, performing complex calculations and alerting you to variances or other data anomalies.
3. Our team is too spread out.
An EDMS is the ultimate collaboration tool. Every team member has 24/7 access to information, regardless where they’re located. That speeds workflow and enables people to actually work together smoothly and effectively. No traveling to meetings, no delays waiting for files to be transported, no interrupting someone else to get what you need.
4. Some of our colleagues are not engineers.
It doesn’t matter. Non-scientists such as attorneys, property owners or managers and regulatory officials also have complete access to the information they need, in a format that works for them. That’s helpful for pulling raw data and preparing reports, but it’s especially valuable when it comes to visualizations.
An electronic database management system lets you create 2D, 3D and numerous other visual depictions of your project’s property, so anyone can easily understand your surface and subsurface findings as well as the ramifications.
5. It’s expensive.
An electronic database management system is remarkably cost-efficient, whether you install an in-house system or choose outsourcing. You’ll save time and increase productivity, working faster and using skilled personnel to best advantage. You could increase revenue because you’ll be able to take on more work.
What’s the cost of confidence? Knowing you have all the information at your fingertips to properly submit proposals and readily comply with reporting requirements. Knowing your crew has the best tool to work with so they can produce the most thorough, most accurate and most timely results for clients.
That kind of confidence is priceless.