EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP)
EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) is facing a fundamental issue: the number of employees in OCSPP has decreased over time while the Office’s work has increased to protect human health and the environment from the risks of chemicals, pesticides and other toxins. OCSPP’s aging custom-built information systems no longer meet the current needs. To enable its valued scientists, researchers and support personnel to keep up with demand, OCSPP must deliver a complete digital transformation. The OCSPP Digital Transformation is focused on improving the experience of the employee.
Innovate planned, designed, tested, and implemented a large-scale digital transformation project for the EPA Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) Pesticide Registration Information System (PRISM) workflow. OPP’s pesticide registration request process previously was a system of siloed spreadsheets, back-and-forth email communications, and legacy systems, resulting in an inefficient workflow for OPP staff.
Innovate customized the Salesforce platform to provide a structured workflow to process requests for pesticide registration and approval through a single, comprehensive view of the pesticide application request process. The platform uses MuleSoft to connect with legacy systems and make registration documents available electronically. As a result, the new PRISM workflow reduces OPP staff time spent on each pesticide request, reduces time between request receipt and approval, increases data quality, and allows all relevant information for pesticide registration requests to be available on one electronic platform. Additionally, we leveraged Salesforce to visualize workflow progress through reports and dashboards that, based on specific metrics gathered from stakeholders, allow for streamlined tracking, reporting, and analytics. Innovate navigated through complex legacy environments while coordinating with OPP technical staff, EPA contractors, our subcontractors, and EPA’s National Computer Center (NCC) to implement Mulesoft, obtain the first Authority to Operate (ATO), create secure tunnels through EPA existing infrastructure, and integrate multiple environments including Salesforce, Oracle, and Documentum. Three OPP divisions are now operating in production with the new OPP PRISM Workflow, and we are preparing to bring the Pesticide Reevaluation Division (PRD) and Registration Division (RD) into the workflow platform in the next phase of the digital transformation.
Innovate also implemented artificial intelligence (AI) search for PRISM, created the OCSPP Innovation Lab to explore AI-based analytics, machine learning (ML), and RPA (robotics process automation) technologies. We tested AI and ML models through Salesforce Einstein to help EPA understand patterns in their pesticide and pollution data and expanded the model to incorporate programmatic data, which provides insights for automating reviews with experts based on skill set, availability and workload to make reviews more efficient.
This Digital Transformation started in OPP through the replacement of two 15-year-old systems (PRISM and OPP’s Oracle database OPPIN) and a partially paper-based review process with a fully digital Cloud Platform-based solution—and it is already improving the lives of the scientists, researchers and support personnel who are using it. Innovate designed, piloted and implemented PRISM for three organizations in OCSPP: OPP, Biopesticides and Pollution Prevention Division (BPPD) and Antimicrobials Division (AD). As the current OPP employee-focused digital transformation advances, OCSPP will include other stakeholders (like industry, states and the public) and will include the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) and other OCSPP offices.
We used Mulesoft’s Cloud Hub technology to efficiently integrate data between OPP’s legacy systems and the new PRISM Workflow on Salesforce Cloud. The integration services we developed allow new PRISM users to find and upload documents from the EPA’s document repository (Documentum) as well as to read and write key data elements maintained in OPPIN. Our “interface first” approach to developing microservices offers reliability, scalability and flexibility in the creation of new features and access points to external data.
Innovate performed business process reengineering, strategic planning, governance development, program management, Agile project management, change management, financial management, process improvement, and performance measures services to continue modernizing the Agency’s pesticide registration system, improve the compliance of pesticide registrations with the Endangered Species Act, strengthen internal processes to better protect human health and environmental data from cybersecurity threats, and support compliance with the FISMA. Our expanded deployment of the OPP PRISM Workflow to additional divisions supports the increase in registrations related to COVID-19. We supported process enhancement and document curation activities focused on digitizing paper jackets. We implemented analytics to track key performance metrics and created dashboards for leaders to manage workload. We implemented artificial intelligence (AI) search for PRISM Workflow, created the OCSPP Innovation Lab to explore AI-based analytics, machine learning (ML), and RPA (robotics process automation) technologies. We also re-engineered multiple processes to modernize paper, Excel, and Lotus Notes-based applications to utilize cloud-based applications all on the Salesforce platform.
- Obtained Authority to Operate for Salesforce and MuleSoft and opened EPA’s first-ever secure network to cloud technology.
- Each of OCSPP’s 150 scientists now saves an average of 300 hours/year. That is 45,000 hours/year or an equivalent gain of 21 FTE worth of effort additional that will go to studying the actual science vs. doing administrative tasks. Across the OCSPP workforce when this is fully implemented that will be more than 180,000 hours/year given to study the science and make improved decisions!
- PRISM’s implementation reduced the quantity of administrative updates by 83%, from an average of 18 times/day to 3 times/day.
- Implemented a cloud platform (Salesforce Cloud) that talks to legacy platforms (Documentum, Oracle) via a cloud platform (Mulesoft Cloud Hub)
- Established an enterprise service bus (ESB) in Mulesoft to deliver an avenue for a 360-degree view of industry and business data, transforming the registration process workflow into a flexible, scalable system that provides visibility across OPPIN and Documentum.