The SDWIS NextGen Update

In the interest of keeping everyone informed about the ongoing SDWIS Next Gen development process, future issues of the Weekly Update will include information about project status and alerts to opportunity for state involvement.

Probably the biggest news lately is the evolution of the “extra governance” process that will be the mechanism for identifying the “business needs” for the new system. This extra governance process includes new focus groups on which many state staff serve as subject matter experts (SME’s). The business needs, in turn, should be supported by work flows and functional requirements that need to be described so the final data system can be developed. These business needs should be driven by how the states actually operate as they implement the Safe Drinking Water Act requirements and not necessarily by the way the states’ data systems currently operate. In other words, there may well be opportunities to improve the way data systems support the program.

The new process, being managed primarily outside the established governance structure (since it’s a relatively short term, focused effort), was first proposed at the Data Management Users Conference in St Louis in May. There was general acceptance there by SDWIS users and others involved in the development process. It has been rather challenging to “stand up” and coordinate this special extra governance process – and, to be sure that it considers both existing and future SDWIS/State business needs.

After discussions with the Next Gen Steering Committee, EPA managers, ASDWA, the new Extra Governance Stewards, and others, some course corrections have been made to be sure that the effort stays true to the objectives laid out at the DMUC. (This is why a webinar for the SDWIS Community to explain the process was recently postponed.) Once a newly revised Next Gen Business Process and Requirements Analysis Plan is ready to share, new webinars will be scheduled to inform interested parties about the revised process.