June 24, 2021
EarthSoft Interview with Benny Pataray, Jacobs
Benny Pataray is a Leader of Jacobs’ Environmental Data Management Community of Practice. Benny is a data management solutions innovator with over 20 years in the environmental sciences industry serving as a technologist and consultant to Federal and Fortune 500 clients and programs.
[EarthSoft] What drove you to implement a centralized environmental data management system (EDMS)? What was the situational analysis or problems you were trying to solve?
[Benny, Jacobs] The implementation of a centralized environmental data management system (EDMS) is driven by data management requirements to achieve project objectives and maintain high-quality defensible data. A centralized EDMS provides a single source of truth and makes it much easier to manage, integrate and automate data management processes, manage storage capacity and security, scale for future growth, preserve data, and share the data with other 3rd-party applications in a consistent and reliable way.
[EarthSoft] How did you choose the solution? Was it functional requirements, market research, reference from others? Can you describe the process?
[Jacobs] We evaluated several software options and chose EarthSoft EQuIS due to:
- EarthSoft’s duration as market leader.
- EarthSoft’s training and full data lifecycle support offered.
- Local and Cloud-based hosting options.
- Ability of 3rd-party tools to interact with the database including the ability to create customized project dashboards and embed third party applications such as ArcGIS web map applications.
[EarthSoft] Why did you ultimately select EQuIS?
[Jacobs] Jacobs utilizes several EDMS platforms. EQuIS has been selected for the following project data requirements and EDMS features:
- Centralized and complex data management requirements.
- Legacy EQuIS databases and historic data conversions from desktop databases for projects that are already managed in EQuIS.
- Integrated workflow automation tools and support for 3rd-party tools and data integration features provide immediate impact and value.
- Easy and secure data sharing and access, and flexible data export and reporting.
- Generally strong and reliable product documentation, training resources, and vendor support.
- Strong and flexible vendor support to meet changing project and compliance requirements.
- User community engagement and support help drive continuous improvements.
[EarthSoft] Describe your environmental data management program(s), such as the number of environmental programs, geographical coverage, number of users, number of sites, other.
[Jacobs] Jacobs supports several environmental data management programs that include DoD, DoE, EPA, NASA, tribal, national, state, city/local government projects, commercial programs in the oil and gas, manufacturing, chemical, pharmaceutical, mining and minerals, transportation, and utility industries.
Thousands of projects in hundreds of sites spread all over the world are supported by thousands of technical project staff, scientists, data solutions architects, and geospatial professionals.
[EarthSoft] Can you provide either quantitative or qualitative improvements in your environmental data management processes post implementation? Gains in quality, efficiency, process, other?
- Implementation of the EQuIS Sample Planning Module in a large program has made it easier to manage chains of custody, labels, and bottle counts.
- Lab data deliverable [electronic sample receipt notifications (eSRNs), and electronic data deliverables (EDDs)] workflow automation dramatically reduced data handling costs and positively engaged labs to improve first-time data quality.
- Streamlined reporting through customized class, SQL, and Excel reports and templates has improved data quality, reduced cost, and improved efficiency.
- Enterprise dashboards make project data more easily available, sharable and accessible in the form of maps, reports, and charts.
- Continuous improvement and new EQuIS tools and technologies help drive digital and innovation initiatives.
[EarthSoft] Any lessons learned that you want to share?
[Jacobs] Jacobs has used EQuIS for several years both in establishing a robust enterprise data management environment that supports our client projects in addition to supporting clients projects in their environment(s). From this experience, we have learned the following EQuIS data management and governance improvement areas:
- Improve error checking and exception handling at the application level and avoid or minimize system generated errors for easier error debugging and resolution.
- Provide the ability to modify data and track changes in bulk or interactively via a form, grid, or EDD without manipulating records directly in tables.
- Provide the ability to publish reports that export multiple files in EQuIS Enterprise so users do not have to use EQuIS Professional.
- Create/improve schema, tools, processes, and KPI reports for complete and accurate event and sample management and tracking from planning to eSRN/EDD delivery.
- Create tools to enable facility database backups via data exports or some other means without engaging EarthSoft IT. This is needed as part of project close out and to prevent inadvertent modification of completed projects and to manage database storage.
- Improve the process of updating EQuIS Online (EOL) databases to minimize the effort of updating configuration files, publishing reports, and database testing.
- Consider reducing the frequency of build releases from quarterly to semiannually and spend more time to test new features, bug fixes and minimize or avoid introduction of new issues or loss of functionality.
- Create a process to upload validation information from externally-validated data to the EQuIS DQM schema.
- Improve EQuIS Collect product – bug fixes, sampling size limitations, performance, form templates, ease of report creation to produce the equivalent of the paper form and creation of high-level summary reports.
- Enable and improve record change logging and tracking without loss of database performance.
- Improve data protection and data loss prevention processes in all EQuIS products to ensure compliance with industry standards and regulations, and to reduce the risk to projects.
Who is Jacobs?
At Jacobs, we’re challenging today to reinvent tomorrow by solving the world’s most critical problems for thriving cities, resilient environments, mission-critical outcomes, operational advancement, scientific discovery and cutting-edge manufacturing, turning abstract ideas into realities that transform the world for good. With $14 billion in revenue and a talent force of approximately 55,000, Jacobs provides a full spectrum of professional services including consulting, technical, scientific and project delivery for the government and private sector. Visit jacobs.com and connect with Jacobs on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.
The Jacobs Environmental Data Management (EDM) Team provides end-to-end data management services using centralized and integrated data management systems, standardized processes and best practices, and highly trained staff. The EDM team provides the following data management services:
- Data management strategy development, project planning and task management
- EDMS implementation and configuration
- Electronic forms design
- Electronic data deliverable format design
- Workflow design and automation
- Data migration
- Data verification and validation
- Custom reporting, data analysis and visualization
- Systems integration
Jacobs is an EarthSoft Business Partner that has the necessary EQuIS licenses and skills to support EQuIS products and services.
- Jacobs is invested in EarthSoft’s Data Governance Initiative to have their digital workflow in EQuIS from the field to the lab to the office to improve their decision-making processes.
- EarthSoft and Jacobs collaborated to develop the Land Access components in SPM Enterprise.
- DQM expert power-users at Jacobs help guide new DQM feature development.
- EarthSoft and Jacobs work together for data logger integration.
- Jacobs is a participant in the Beta Test program for pre-release access to new features in EQuIS Collect.