|A project team led by the Environmental Council of the States convened to estimate the potential for returns on investments (ROI) in Exchange Network technologies. The team visited environmental agencies in Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington to analyze their business processes for exchanging data on air quality (AQS), water quality (eDMR and SDWIS), and hazardous materials (RCRAInfo and TRI).The analysis estimated each agency’s cost of doing business before and after the adoption of Network technologies. Taking into consideration new development and subsequent maintenance expenses, the project team found that investments in the Exchange Network can deliver a strong financial return along with a number of qualitative benefits.
Summary of Quantitative Benefits
In most cases, the project’s ROI model predicted a positive return from investing in Exchange Network technologies for a particular data exchange. When the results from all of the data exchanges were considered together, all four State agencies realized a positive financial return. For three of the four agencies, the model predicted annual operational savings of well over $500,000 and payback periods of less than two years.
Each State reported an ability to leverage their initial investment to implement additional exchanges beyond the scope of this study. This allows Network Partners to standardize their enterprise operations for either reporting or sharing data across all program areas while still managing to save money. The results also demonstrated that the implementation of Exchange Network technologies can produce particularly impressive savings when coupled with other business process improvements. For example, process reengineering and e-government technologies can be integrated with the Exchange Network to significantly reduce the cost of regulatory compliance requirements as was experienced with the discharge monitoring reporting flow.
Summary of Qualitative Benefits
The States also reported that the Exchange Network delivers far more than just financial returns. Automating the exchange of data allows Partners to dramatically improve the quality, timeliness, and availability of environmental information.