“Partnering with Urjanet opened a lot more doors for us than would’ve been possible otherwise. We might not necessarily have had the capability to close business with some clients without the extensive service offering that Urjanet allows us to deliver.” – Janie Jefferies-Freer, President of eSight Energy
Established in the United Kingdom with US Headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, eSight Energy specializes in energy management software that helps organizations reduce energy consumption, cut costs and lower carbon emissions. Since its 1998 founding, eSight Energy has grown tremendously, extending its reach to clients in approximately 60 countries spanning a variety of industries from consulting to manufacturing.
Upon entering the US, eSight Energy soon realized a new set of challenges posed by market conditions. “Coming to the US market, which has such a multitude of utilities, supply formats and organizations and a complete lack of infrastructure in the energy market compared to some of the European countries that we’ve been dealing with, data aggregation was a huge challenge,” says Janie Jefferies-Freer, President of eSight Energy.
Beyond the lack of standardization and infrastructure, eSight Energy also identified challenges around the accuracy of and visibility into data. For example, in order to get bill data into its software, the eSight team would either have to manually type in clients’ bills or rely on clients to put their bill data into spreadsheets that would then be uploaded to the software.
As Jefferies-Freer explains, “That’s a two or three step process with checks and room for human error that basically just couldn’t be accommodated. And we’re not just talking about one or two meters [per client], we’re talking about hundreds, if not thousands, of data points.”
In terms of visibility, eSight Energy found that utility bills would often go directly to the accounting department for payment and nowhere else. “In a lot of cases, there were some real challenges with clients actually understanding what they can do to read the billing data and translate it into a usable format… so nothing practical was being done with the data. The bill was being paid, but no one knew if the data was good and sometimes facilities management wasn’t even seeing that information,” Jefferies-Freer adds.
To better serve its clients, eSight Energy began to look for a solution that could help bridge the gaps these challenges created for its US clients.
eSight Energy kicked off its search for a partner who could help strengthen its business and provide a competitive edge in the US market by evaluating services like Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).
However, eSight soon found that neither the OCR nor the EDI solution could provide the level of accuracy or standardization across utility providers that it needed. According to Jefferies-Freer, with these solutions, eSight Energy would have potentially needed a whole team of people just to validate data checks or rewrite data drivers on an ongoing basis to prevent problems with data flow.
“We needed someone who could span as many utilities as possible geographically [in the US] and provide quality data at an affordable price point. When we started looking at who was available on the market, it became apparent very quickly that there weren’t many companies that provided anything close to what we needed,” Jefferies-Freer shares.
The software provider did find the partner for which it was looking in Urjanet, though, whose Utility Data Service and Interval Data Service products checked off key boxes on eSight’s list.
“The most attractive things to us about Urjanet were the fact that so many different utilities spanned its service, the ease of integration and the quality and reliability of the data, which were absolutely critical. There were no other companies that came vaguely close to the level of service that we were looking at compared to Urjanet,” Jefferies-Freer adds.
Having found the right partner for its needs, eSight Energy moved forward with integrating Urjanet’s Utility Data Service and Interval Data Service into its software suite. Jefferies-Freer describes the implementation processes as “extremely simple and seamless” with “fantastic customer service.”
Thanks to the easy access to standardized and accurate utility and interval data that Urjanet provides, eSight Energy can focus on what it does best — providing clients with a complete software suite for energy management.
“Urjanet has made things a lot easier for us because we now have the ability to offer an energy management platform that captures cost data from the get-go. We also have the ability to get data extremely easily for clients in the US market, where sub-metering is lacking, no matter what their infrastructure, and that’s been absolutely critical,” Jefferies-Freer says.
Additionally, Urjanet has allowed eSight to provide its clients with awareness about their energy spend, which has made a world of difference in understanding exactly how to direct energy efforts and address any problems.
Jefferies-Freer also credits Urjanet’s ability to verify bill data and compare it directly to interval data as an “incredibly powerful tool.”
She continues: “Getting bill data in any usable form in any type of quantity is a challenge, and the Urjanet solution has made that completely possible for us. The ability to get data from virtually any utility company anywhere in the United States is huge, and the ability to get that data without us having to worry about the reliability of it is also absolutely key. Add that with the ability to stream in incoming interval data so that the two data sets are readily available within our energy management platform, and that’s a real game-changer.”
The feedback from eSight Energy’s clients has proven equally as positive. Jefferies-Freer cites one client who manages data for a portfolio of buildings who uses the combined power of eSight and Urjanet as the backbone of its services.
In general, eSight has found that Urjanet has opened a lot of doors for the company to close new business by allowing it to provide an extensive service offering that immediately makes data available for its clients in an affordable, non-labor intensive way.
Going forward, eSight Energy expects the value Urjanet brings to its software to continue to grow. Says Jefferies-Freer: “We’re aiming to become the standard energy management solution of choice in the market… and Urjanet is absolutely critical in that relationship because data acquisition is key to those efforts. We very much see a strengthening relationship [with Urjanet], and some of the things coming out of Urjanet’s Spark conference have been absolutely thrilling to see because we know that there’s a continued evolution, so we look forward to many years of working together.”
- Captured utility bill and interval data easily and reliably for customers throughout the United States despite lack of standardization across utility providers
- Provided customers with insight into energy usage, including the ability to compare bill and interval data, to better understand how to direct improvement efforts
- Improved software offering thanks to more extensive data, allowing for a competitive advantage when bringing in new business