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State Innovation Grants

EPA 2005-2006 State Innovation Grants Competition Pre-Proposals

Project Title: Demonstrating a Technological Solution for Automation of Environmental processes

Location: Tennessee

State Agency Applicant: Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation

Project Category: State Performance-based leadership program

RCRA Component: The project does not have a significant component related to hazardous waste management and permitting under RCRA.

Other Federal Program: The project is not being executed in cooperation with or funded by another federal program. TDEC intends to propose procurement of Earthwon for implementation of data integration project with One Stop Grant under Exchange Network program, where as this project is a pilot study to demonstrate the workflow component of the Earthwon through subscription license.

Federal Regulatory: No regulatory flexibility from any federal requirements is needed to implement the project.

Agency Endorsement: Bureau of environment knows of and supports this project.

Project Summary: Tennessee Department of Environment and conservation (TDEC) proposes to pilot Earthwon product implementation for automating environmental processes. We propose to use the grant monies to purchase a subscription license to manage data related to automation of permitting and compliance processes. The innovative concepts to be realized by this proposal include:

With this proposal, TDEC continues its strong commitment to provide the management support and resources required. Achieving this project’s objectives will further TDEC’s goals of better protecting the environment and the public through improved organizational quality and provide an opportunity to public to reduce reporting burden.

Summary Budget Information

Project Title: Demonstrating a Technological Solution for Automation of Environmental processes

Project Contact:
Michael Whalen
Assistant Director, Information Systems Division
TN Department of Environment & Conservation
15 th Floor, L&C Tower
401 Church Street
Nashville, TN 37243
Phone: 615-253-1461
Email: Michael.Whalen@state.tn.us

Budget Summary:

[Removed by EPA]

Pre-Proposal Narrative


TDEC as an agency has 12 operational units (divisions and field offices) to accomplish the mission of protecting and enhancing the quality of Tennessee’s environment. Divisions in TDEC achieve core functions (of TDEC) such as permitting, compliance, and enforcement and maintain data in various standalone systems hence data sharing is a challenge. TDEC’s management continues to invest time and money in establishing a solid source of quality environmental data in TN to achieve the eGovernment goals. This commitment is reflected in the agency’s strategic plan. TDEC has taken strategic initiatives to collect and disseminate the environmental information for timely decision-making. TDEC also sees an opportunity of electronically collecting and sharing environmental data in a timely manner. The goal of integration of core facility data being pursued by one stop grant under EPA’s exchange network program. However, to provide comprehensive environmental information beyond the core facility data to public and lawmakers, a consolidated system is needed to handle agency wide permitting, enforcement, inspections and reporting.

TDEC has been searching for an enterprise level system to work with data pertaining to core environmental functions. The focus is to find a packaged software solution to reduce system development cost and time required to develop a custom software solution. TDEC has been closely following what other states have done to manage environmental data effectively to learn from their experience. Often the software solutions implemented are customized for the current business practices and these customized systems pose challenges when regulatory changes happen. The regulatory changes trigger changes in business processes. Business process changes in turn warrant modification of the existing software for handling the changes in the business rules, and require extensive coding changes. The better technological approach would be to store the configured business rules and practices as metadata to handle the delivery of regulatory changes in the system quickly and effectively. Our research shows that these features are presented in Earthwon, which is a commercial, off-the shelf software product.

Earthwon is an enterprise environmental software system to manage environmental business activities and has built in functionality for the most common environmental functions such as permitting, inspections, compliance and enforcement. Computronix Company owns this product. Earthwon provides Business Process Management software using a unique and powerful combination of four typically distinct technologies: project management, data management, workflow management, and document management. These environmental business functions can be configured to manage any environmental work processes used in a regulatory organization. Earthwon is built on internationally award-winning POSSE ® technology and can be deployed in various ways: Internet or Intranet or client-server or mobile. The ongoing business needs/changes can be easily adapted with no changes to the source code because of the metadata-driven architecture.

We propose to define the business process, seek opportunities to improve processes, establish baseline measurements for performance (permits process, compliance reports reviewed, compliance reports received, timely reporting). After automating the workflow processes, we quantify these results and compare to the base line measurements.

Program Criteria

The project intends to automate a workflow process associated with one permitting and one compliance process decided by TDEC management. The environmental processes selected will fall in to one or more of the following areas of environmental media: air emissions, water quality and seeks to control pollution by providing an opportunity to the industry for electronic submission.The project activities are directly related to “advancing the state of knowledge” regarding the potential integration of EMSs and ERPs into TDEC’s permitting and compliance processes.

Outcome Goals and Objectives

TDEC goals and objectives for this project are outlined here:

Anticipated improvements or results from project implementation

  1. How is the proposed tool or approach unique?

The easily configurable business processes provide an opportunity to streamline the environmental processes and identify avenues for business process adaptation to achieve better environmental results. Earthwon configuration users can copy similar configurations and leverage work into new business workflows. The change in business process does not warrant coding changes as the configured business processes are saved as metadata. The metadata architecture enhances faster delivery of the configuration changes. The workflow management would allow management to explore the opportunities for program efficiency and provide possibilities of potential development of EMS and ERPs. To mitigate the risk associated with any new software, we intend to pilot the study with a subscription license.

  1. How does the project build on “lessons learned” from prior experience?

The web based screening and application system developed by Arizona will be relied upon as a foundation for our permit application workflow, although the decision support capability for public will be automated later (project management concept of Earthwon) based on our own findings and interactions with other workflow processes. The automation of our permit workflow provides insights into potential EMS; and compliance workflow would give insights into potential ERPs based on other states experience.

  1. What are the measurable improvements in administrative efficiency and program operational costs?

Earthwon business workflows enable efficient permit processing by decreasing the manual data entry and increasing the speed thereby eliminates service delivery backlogs. Earthwon’s object model approach enforces a single point of data entry, minimizing data entry and error, and provides reuse of data across the enterprise. The automated process would enable more effective and efficient performance of natural resource management through automated workflow. Through consolidation and availability of permitting and compliance data, organizations can improve the quality of decision-making and resource planning. Earthwon embeds expert knowledge and best practice, standardizing business process quality and enabling program staff to focus on better customer satisfaction.

  1. What are the measurable/quantifiable improvements for the regulated entities?

Permitting and compliance work is driven through the organization by automated process generates next steps and assigning tasks to the parties accountable, resulting in compressed business cycle times. Improved client access to appropriate information related to permitting and facilitate electronic service delivery. Ability of electronic document uploading in support of on-line submissions further compresses business process times and improves customer service. Cost savings can be realized by regulated entities as a result of paper work reduction.

  1. What are the measurable environmental outcomes expected to result from implementation of this innovation?

Increased efficiency in permit program, increase in compliance rates due to the increased involvement of regulated entities in compliance report submission and review (workflow process: ability to check the progress).

Transferring Innovation

Project methods and outcomes will be documented through quarterly and final reports and will be submitted to EPA. The system requirements, project methodology, configuration knowledge will be made available to ECOS, EPA and other interested states. Resources will be made available to interact with interested parties for knowledge transfer.

Project Schedule and Time Frame

The project would be carried over a period of 18 months.

Milestone Target Completion
Define the Business Process flows 3 months after grant award
Development of Baseline measurements 6 months after grant award
Procurement of Earthwon Software subscription license 6 months after grant award
Earthwon Configuration (for data management and workflow management) 7 months after grant award
Eathwon Configuration Training (vendor training) 8 months after grant award
Earthwon Process flow Training (TDEC customized training) 9 months after grant award
Development of Training material and communication to the industry 11 months after grant award
Development of performance measures 12 months after grant award
Implementation 12 months after grant award
Analysis of results and reporting 18 months after grant award

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