What You Need in an MS4 Management System
What You Need in an MS4 Management System
As an MS4, when you decide you need an MS4 Management System, your first instinct may be to get your own IT department or someone in-house to do it. Many municipalities have found that doesn't work very well, so let’s go through some points as to why that is the case.
1. Doing it right is thousands of dollars with thousands of man-hours
Getting a good MS4 Management System is a much larger undertaking than it may appear at the outset and usually consumes months, if not years, of time as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars, and hundreds of thousands of man-hours to do it correctly. At NPDESPro, we have those hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in creating the application. Every time we get to a point where it feels like it's doing the job, we find there are more and more features we can add to it.
Currently, our application is very well developed and has a lot of features that any MS4 would be hard-pressed to get an internal IT department to create. We have years of development in the application with hundreds of thousands of dollars spent to get the application to where it is today. The investment an MS4 would have to make to get a functional system shouldn't be taken lightly.
2. Technology moves extremely quickly
Just because you created a system today doesn't mean that tomorrow it's going to be that usable. As technology changes, you've got to continually update those applications. Staying on top of updates and current technology is outside the purview of most IT departments, but it is “where we live” at NPDESPro.
We make it our job to constantly be on top of the newest technology, platforms, and applications.
3. Bridging stormwater AND technology expertise
IT professionals have a lot of other responsibilities within their municipality and developing a system like this takes dedication. It takes absolute commitment with 40+ hours a week for multiple weeks in a row, and often the IT departments just don't have that kind of time to give.
Many times, IT people don't have enough knowledge of stormwater to create the features that water quality departments need. One of the benefits NPDESPro brings to the table is that we have knowledge of both technology and stormwater. Of course, as stormwater people know, stormwater has its own vocabulary. That vocabulary has to be incorporated into the application. For that to happen, stormwater needs to be understood by the people that are developing the application.
No matter how many meetings you have with your IT group, there will be many times where they would have to make their own decisions regarding stormwater issues in the process of developing the software. If they don't understand the process, the resulting application is going to show it.
4. Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance
Even if the system gets created, it takes maintenance to keep it moving. Often, IT departments are too busy with their main duties to maintain a system. They have to maintain desktops and laptops and other systems within the municipality in order to keep all systems running. But as we've heard over and over again from MS4s who have had their IT department create their MS4 software, whether or not it was good at the beginning, it isn’t good now.
5. Changes in stormwater regulations
Stormwater regulations change regularly. Not only does the computer system and the application need to be updated, but also the stormwater regulations need to be updated. This causes people to continually go to the IT departments to ask them to update the application to conform to new stormwater regulations. That's really asking an IT department to step way out of its wheelhouse. When the software isn’t updated, it becomes a huge headache to use.
A private company like NPDESPro has a huge incentive to make sure we are on top of the technology and the regulations. We are in the business of making sure we're delivering the best MS4 Management Application on the market. And if we don’t do that, you're simply going to cancel your subscription., We need to be out in front, always making sure the client’s application is up to date with current stormwater requirements and up to date with current technology.
How can we be of service to you? Contact us today or call 800.204.1598 to schedule a virtual custom demo.