Aiding the RRB Project
The Forest Service Engineering Director identified the opportunity and need to support the field through reducing effort and streamlining work associated with reporting for engineering staff in the field. The Reduced Reporting Burden (RRB) project was an opportunity to conduct reviews and assessments of current reporting requirements. Also, challenges associated with the reporting process needed to record and track accomplishments. Finally, they would report this information on an annual basis for Forests and Regions as well as the national level.
Helping to Reduce Reporting Burdens in the Field
The Reduced Reporting Burden project learned the level of effort required by the field to conduct work, capture accomplishments, and shared these accomplishments within the agency. This was a follow-on project in response to the original project. The original project looked at the findings from the review and assessment of the agency’s methods and processes used to accomplish this work. The second phase involved the review of the agency’s manuals and handbooks. These pertained to the direction and process required to perform and complete engineering and transportation work in the field. In addition to reviewing these materials, Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) held a series of workshops. These reviewed current processes and workflows for a variety of areas. They were related to transportation engineers including maintenance, construction, project management, planning, contracting, and reporting.
Through the review of requirements and regulations materials combined with the input from SME’s the current processes were validated and new processes identified. These findings led to recommendations. Then they were used to evaluate different solutions. Also, they evaluated the costs associated with making these changes versus maintaining present systems and traditional workflows. Furthermore, this assessment detailed the burden and challenges this reporting had on the field. Then it produced the information and identified any losses from data and information which is not service oriented. This included evaluation of the following platform and solutions:
- Natural Resource Managers (NRM) INFRA database
- Existing and potential mobile technologies
- Evaluation and assessment of field and program staff’s use of existing workflows
Xentity’s review and analysis of these different areas identified data gaps and inefficiencies with user workflows. Xentity evaluated current technologies and information systems for use by the roads and transportation program in the Forest Service from these findings. Furthermore, this report included solutions based on implementation of data standards and improvements to processes and workflows. The findings also touched on the resulting impacts associated with data for the following management, integrity, process improvement, accuracy, sharing, and accomplishment reporting.
Making an Impact
The RRB project provided the first step to the Forest Service for identifying the path forward to addressing a programmatic approach to these issues. These findings allowed for the evaluation and cost benefits associated with a new solution focused on user defined requirements. At Xentity, we specialize in focusing on projects related to transformation, efficiency, and innovation for a program or agency like the Forest Service. Consequently, these projects allow us to have a large impact on organizations. To accomplish this, we use data and information to recommend solutions that improve productivity while being cost-efficient.
At Xentity, one of our goals we strive towards is greater efficiency. The other being successful transformations and innovations in organizations. We believe that through these efforts, the USFS’s RRB program will see a reduction in costs of data management, integrity checking, and sharing and transformation.