SustaiNet: The Path to Better Public Consultation Software
The Challenge: Inadequate Options for Complex Requirements
We developed Staketracker® with clear objectives in mind. The software had to be easy to use, the process had to be simplified, all the data had to be captured in the correct place in the database, and the reporting process had to be simple and efficient, ensuring reports were easy to produce.
SustaiNet Software Solutions Inc. was formed in early 2004 as the exclusive Canadian distributor of a variety of environmental and community engagement software solutions from various global suppliers.
Our primary focus was to provide a software solution that efficiently managed the large amounts of environmental and community engagement data that needed reporting. We were dealing with companies that had years of data spread out in binders and spreadsheets across different offices and regions. Pulling things together for final reports was an expensive, time consuming task.
The old model of using spreadsheets or adapted management systems didn’t adequately manage the data, particularly when challenged by regulators or the courts.
The Realization: We Can Build A Better System!
StakeTracker emerged as a result of our experience selling stakeholder tracking software in Canada for a number of other vendors. We soon realized that these suppliers did not fully understand the Canadian stakeholder engagement environment – the nuances and complexities of which were not well represented in their software.
As SustaiNet began to learn more about the market it became increasingly clear that the products available had significant challenges when it came to processing the complex activities related to stakeholder data management and reporting. These shortcomings became evident with smaller projects and initiatives with shorter timelines and became compounded for larger long-term projects, costing organization time and money as projects and legal requirements grew in complexity.
Larger data sets are becoming the norm during the regulated approval processes that large projects face. New court rulings and legislative requirements can crop up long after your process is started. Meeting these requirements is essential to ensuring your employees and contractors get to work, and that your shareholders and investors are happy.
The Objective: Better Stakeholder Communications Tracking
This fresh approach gave the SustaiNet team considerable flexibility to create the right product from the onset, as opposed to just adopting another product.
Here are the things SustaiNet focused on when we developed our StakeTracker stakeholder management software :
- Easy to Use, Great Reporting Capabilities: In developing StakeTracker SustaiNet had clear objectives: The software had to be easy to use, the process had to be simplified, all the data had to be captured in the correct place in the database, and the reporting process had to be simple and efficient, ensuring reports were easy to produce.
- New Database Model: To create StakeTracker, we set up a whole new database model, built to be much more robust and to take into account and easily track the complex and changing relationships that public consultation professionals know so well. The SustaiNet team started from scratch. We discussed needs, challenges, and wishes with dozens of Public Consultation professionals, looking at what was, and was not working in the current solutions. This fresh approach gave the team considerable flexibility to create the right product, as opposed to just adopting another product.
- Usability: Usability, for everyone from the CEO to the data entry clerk and the database wizard, was key in developing StakeTracker, and has been a continuing mission. Through the Software-as-a-Service model, SustaiNet is able to ensure that improvements are constantly made, usability improves, and the right reports and data is readily available as new requirements are instituted.
- Managing Complex and Increasing Relationships, Communications and Commitments: SustaiNet focuses on the more complex stakeholder consultation, public participation and community engagement markets. We now provide appropriate software tools that have proved to be efficient in managing and tracking the input, communications, discussions, issues, concerns and interests of concerned stakeholders and citizens.