Here Comes Webware

08/07/2007
By Used with permission from the Lowell Sun Online.

By LYNN WORTHY, Sun Correspondent

LOWELL -- The University of Massachusetts Lowell is officially in the software business.

Last week, officials announced the launch of EMS Webware, the first software developed primarily for on-campus use that will be sold on the open market by the university.

The program helps organizations build and implement an environmental management system (EMS) to enhance environmental performance.

University developers from the offices of Environment Health and Safety and Commerical Ventures and Intellectual Property office worked together to create EMS WebWare.

“It provides the tools required from beginning an EMS, to building teams, tracking documents, creating documents, providing links, to providing the security and IT support,” explained Rich Lemoine, director of the Environment Health and Safety office.

EMS programs were introduced by the EPA to promote evironmental policy at universities and other public agencies. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) recommends a model for environmental performance called ISO 14001, which is used by large corporations and from which EMS Webware is modeled.

Conservative business projections have the software bringing in some $750,000 to the university over five years, according to Susu Wong, UMass Lowell's licensing associate and chief marketer of software. Customers would likely include other universities, as well as municipalities and EMS training providers.

UMass Lowell says Beta testers included the city of Lowell, the University of Rhode Island and the Toxics Use Reduction Institute.

“It had to be user-friendly. It had to adapt to any organization,” said Lemoine. “Basically what the system does is say, ‘Here are 17 templates and you can bring in any documents.'”

UMass started working on Webware in 2001 after finding difficulties implementing its own EMS on campus.

“The other systems out there, they weren't flexible, and they weren't going to meet the needs of our insititution,” Lemoine said.

UMass Lowell provides all technical support for the software package and its server will host and retain all information organizations might need for future audits or agendas, he said.

The software will streamline the process of developing and implementing an EMS by up to 35 percent, said Lemoine.

“We're very excited about this software being a tool to assist so many institutions,” said Lemoine. “This is just one more tool the university has to help local communities and the nation at large.”