The following article was written by guest blogger John Gobins. John is a co-founder of LogitEasy, which is a free, web-based boring log software. LogitEasy can be used in the field on iPads for logging soil borings and on desktops for transferring field notes. Once data is entered digitally, logs can be instantly produced in a variety of templates. LogitEasy also provides premium services for those users that require more advanced logging functionality, or logs in gINT or LogPlot templates. More info about LogitEasy can be found on their website: https://logiteasy.com/
Previously happy with the traditional licensed software model
Until recently, the environmental consulting industry—like so many other professional services industries—has deployed software solutions for managing various aspects of its business according to the traditional licensed software model. These software deployments could be characterized by their high upfront costs and risk to customers, deployment complexity, and corporate-level purchasing process. Once purchased, these solutions were added to company overhead, thus making it more difficult to quantify the value that they brought to a process that up until then had been conducted manually or with not fit-for-purpose tools. Organizational units continued to carry the cost of these solutions in their overhead regardless of whether or not the solution was deployed on a given project, the core unit of work in the industry.
But cloud computing changed everything
With the advent of cloud computing, all of that is changing as new solutions for industry-specific processes are being developed and offered in a format that breaks with the traditional software deployment model. These solutions are characterized by their no/low upfront cost and risk to customers, deployment simplicity, and project-level purchasing process. Since the use of these solutions is billed as a project-level expense (free or pay-as-you-go), it becomes much easier to quantify the value that they bring to a process. Project Managers are empowered to calculate the cost-benefit of deploying these solutions on a project-by-project basis and to deploy them on only those projects where a benefit is anticipated.
One could argue that these free and pay-as-you-go solutions are possible for isolated processes that are easy to segregate from a workflow. However, I would argue that closer examination of the end products generated in the course of these workflows reveals that licensed software solutions traditionally deployed by the environmental consulting industry can be reconfigured to deliver end products on a free or pay-as-you-go basis. Data tables, maps, trend charts, and exceedance reports are all examples of end products that, if not delivered by manual means, have been delivered through environmental data management software sold on the traditional license-based model. Cloud computing now makes it possible for environmental consulting firms to transfer the responsibility for “cooking the environmental data soup pot” to the solution provider and purchasing “cups” or “bowls” of soup from the provider on an as-needed basis. This is in contrast to the current burden assumed by environmental consulting firms to hire “chefs” to work their on-site “soup pots” so that other employees can have general access to “soup.”
The pay-as-you-go business model is nothing new to our industry
The demand for pay-as-you-go (unit-priced) environmental data deliverables is not something new. As early as the 1990s, petroleum companies began purchasing environmental consulting services for their retail petroleum sites on a unit-priced basis. This included unit prices for tables, maps, and figures. In the 20-year time period since then, environmental assessment and remediation project reports continue to be assembled with these components, but due to the market prices for these components, it has generally been more cost effective—on a total cost of ownership basis—to produce them manually using not fit-for-purpose tools than to produce them by licensed, specialty software.
The new generation of consumer-type software solutions for the environmental consulting industry will be on display at the upcoming EnviroTech Summit, and includes:
- LogitEasy – Boring log software (free and pay-as-you-go, per log)
- EnviroChain – Chain-of-Custody form software (pay-as-you-go, per CoC)
- cStat – Phase I software (pay-as-you-go, per assessment)
LogitEasy’s Free Logs online service represents a first in the environmental consulting industry to bring a free, fit-for-purpose solution to those consultants that, due to financial or other constraints, traditionally have had to rely on not fit-for-purpose tools to create logs. The cloud-based platform allows the solution to be easily deployed from the single user to the company level, and spares users of the risk, and maintenance and upgrade process and fees, associated with licensed software solutions. The data entry interface, known as the LogitEasy Field Form, is unique to the industry in that it mimics traditional field forms, thus allowing users to view the log while they are entering data in the field or office. It also contains features designed to facilitate quicker data entry, which is especially important in the field when conducting intrusive soil investigations.
For those users requiring more advanced functionality than is included in Free Logs, LogitEasy offers the following more advanced functionality on a single log or project basis for an additional cost:
- Nested Well Functionality
- Munsell Color Calculator (see image)
- Rock Classification
- Fracture Description
- Frozen Soil Classification
- Import Data from Other Logs
LogitEasy believes that every consulting firm has its own performance objectives and aspirations for geological logging and boring log preparation; however, our solution is designed to help firms meet all of the following:
- Consistency – Data entry and delivered logs are consistent from user to user and project to project
- Efficiency – Data entry is highly efficient, does not require specialized skills, and logs are delivered instantly (LogitEasy), or on fixed turnaround times (gINT and LogPlot)
- Cost-effectiveness – Besides Free Logs, our Premium Logs services are priced on a fixed-fee basis, regardless of depth, which makes it possible to benchmark our service against your current costs
- Assurance – Data entry for soil and rock classification is modeled after industry-recognized standards and helps drive user conformance to standards
More about this at the EnviroTech Summit
We look forward to hearing about your current challenges and aspirations with respect to geological logging and boring log preparation, either in person at the upcoming EnviroTech Summit, or if you can’t make it, then through our website.
The environmental consulting industry is entering a time of exciting transformation that will empower you in new ways with respect to the software you use for your work! Get your ticket to this unique event.