Hundreds of project management software and technology tools are used in the project management space. This array of software varies from document retention to those built to handle work order management and scheduling. With more value being placed on data collection than ever before — and the effective use of that data — expect more tools like this in the future.

Employing these tools throughout a project’s life cycle creates more places for project data to live and decreases the likelihood that communications between tools will be seamless. This means environmental remediation programs involving many stakeholders often encounter challenges with data sharing.

Enterprise systems used by the project management office, contractors and subcontractors, cloud-hosted data services, and online public data repositories all hold information critical to project participants. An efficient means to keep all stakeholders informed is necessary in the face of the varying levels of sensitivity and need-to-know access, user account limitations, firewall and access barriers, and widely varying hands-on experience with the many software applications in use.

How does a project management team achieve this? Considering the number of tools and the huge amount of data being shared, how does the project management team approach a project in a way that allows data sharing and maintenance to support a successful outcome? The most effective route is proving to be a tool that brings those disparate systems together for a holistic approach to different aspects of project execution.

The goal of this type of technology system integration is not to break down silos of information, but rather to liberate the data from the silos. This way, the data can be safely shared among large groups of stakeholders and merged into a common platform where it can be automatically and securely updated.

The common denominator for most of this data — up to 90 percent of it — is geography. By merging geospatial features with other program data, project management teams can tailor an integrated system and make it intuitive to use.

Here’s a look at two ways comprehensive project management and systems integration tools are being used to aggregate and implement large datasets on environmental projects.

Environmental Emergency Response 

Some project teams are using these tools to keep their teams and the client’s teams informed of data related to emergencies.

In the case of one pipeline client, in the event of a spill or other environmentally damaging event, the data points collected throughout the construction of the pipeline are overlaid with the geospatial data, creating a dashboard that will speed mobilization and response times and give technicians a way to locate leaks, understand the areas of potential damage and respond appropriately.

These emergency response tools also are being implemented in training scenarios to prepare crews for responding to an environmental event. Having the data in one place — and knowing how to use and read that data — gives these teams the upper hand in quickly remediating a potential environmental disaster.

Stakeholder Management

Many large environmental remediation programs involve interacting with an enormous number of stakeholders across a wide geographical area. The regulatory process creates a high potential for lawsuits and other legal issues. Keeping track of stakeholder interaction data is essential to avoiding these problems.

Project teams are able to collect interaction data, ranging from the documentation of letters to door-to-door visits and phone calls, to track the timeline of the project. With enterprise systems that combine data, this information can be overlaid upon the project’s geospatial data, giving insight into the location of stakeholders, when and how they were contacted, and any additional notes on the interaction.

This creates transparency in the project team’s interactions with the public, a valuable tool for completing a project within a timeline and without legal hiccups. By connecting stakeholder data to the spatial data through systems integration, the team creates a knowledge base across all project teams.


The Southwest Transmission Project simplifies a complex network of numerous stakeholders and project management using OneTouchPM. See how project managers use it to coordinate and manage complex programs.

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David Smith is a department manager for Burns & McDonnell. He helps clients develop systems that take advantage of technologies to enable seamlessly operations from the desktop to the field.