STORM – Sustainable Online Reporting Model at the University of Oldenburg
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ISSN der Zeitschrift
EnviroInfo Dessau 2012, Part 2: Open Data and Industrial Ecological Management
Sustainability and Environmental (Performance) Indicators
Sustainability reporting combines economic, environmental and social reporting in one place. Commonly known as “Sustainability Report”, such a report was presented as book or booklet in printed form, which held all information available. Typically, a stakeholder still had to gather information important to him by himself, even from an online available report. The potential offered by “Web 2.0” can vastly improve such information gathering, since it can be presented in a much more individual way. This is the approach of the SusTainability Online Reporting Model (STORM), which is a CMS specialized for individual and stakeholder-oriented sustainability reporting. It offers planning, implementation and publication of reports as well as target-group-specific personalization of reports and dialogue with and among stakeholders. STORM supports the use of GRI indicators and the validation of indicators by a structured scheme. Creating reports, integration of media elements and publication is done within one integrated editor, which greatly simplifies the whole reporting process. The scheme for a report can both be created by companies itself and reused for on-going reporting. Also, an existing scheme can be imported, which could be based on GRI’s reporting guidelines. The personalization of reports are achieved through an information system that allows reordering and picking of certain articles from any report, either on a per user basis or editorially for known stakeholder-groups. These personalized reports can be further distributed, discussed and analysed. STORM archives all reports online and supports distribution via newsletter, e-mail and social networks, making it possible to integrate stakeholders in evaluation, analysing and discussion of reports. Especially machine readable reports support a deep analysis and comparison. STORM was developed by a student project group at the University of Oldenburg in 2009 – 2010 using only open source software, implemented using the Model-View-Control pattern and additionally divided into several independent modules, which makes it easy to integrate STORM in existing software environments, develop new modules or migrate existing ones to another version or language. The database can be any ODBC compliant database, accessed either locally or remotely; other external systems such as SAP or StudIP (a university’s students organization system) can be accessed, too. Currently STORM needs a J2EE webserver container for operational processing. In this paper, we describe an approach to migrate STORM (as a J2EE Application) to Microsoft’s ASP.NET. This migration will make it possible to run STORM using different technologies, either as independent instances or in a parallel collaborating mode. A long term goal is to fully support (e.g. for import and export) Microsoft’s Office environment and server structures, as those are found in the majority of Small and Medium Enterprises. The main challenge during that migration is to operate at both platforms simultaneously. To achieve this task, a software-bridge will be implemented, which accumulates gateways between those platforms and manages access. This way functionality is directed at the appropriate target platform, the user interface is kept consistent and the databases are synchronized.