4 Things to Look for in Your Energy Management Software

Asia Casey  |  January 29, 2019   |  Energy & Sustainability  

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Energy is expensive. Unfortunately, tracking energy data to reduce energy use can also be a little pricey. Therefore, your energy management software needs to be top-notch. To make sure you’re getting the most out of your energy management system, check for these four factors.

Before we get into them, though, let’s clarify what energy management software is.  The idea behind any energy management system is to analyze and gather insights into where you can better optimize your energy usage. These insights will drive spending behavior, forecasts on usage, and strategic initiatives to support cost savings and energy efficiency. As such, the software behind the curtain has to be powerful and effective enough to handle this type of data analysis.

Energy management software is critical

You can’t rely on just any energy management system. Finding the right one for your organization is critical to helping you not only normalize and manage your energy data, but also avoid costly expenses and communicate progress toward your business goals.

According to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, businesses can cut down on their energy use by up to 20 percent with the right energy management system in place. Energy efficiency is also one of the most cost-effective – and often under-utilized – ways to reduce global emissions.

Knowing that a productive energy management system can tackle these critical goals, let’s explore the top four qualities your energy management software should have to make the magic happen.

Data quality

An energy management system needs accurate inputs to produce reliable outputs. As Forbes thought leader Hugo Moreno says, “the better the data quality, the more confidence users will have in the outputs they produce, lowering risk in the outcomes and increasing efficiency.”

 

Related: 5 Ways to Audit Your Data Quality for Reporting >>

 

When it comes to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting, poor data quality results in very real costs. For instance, if your energy management software is collecting data manually or through OCR, it can result in at least one error on every energy bill entered. Can you really trust the output if you can’t trust the inputs?

To make sure your analyses on based on accurate, reliable data, talk to your energy management software provider and confirm its data sources. Automated data-as-a-service will take human error out of the equation, adding on internal checks to ensure data quality.

Security

Security likely isn’t the first thing you think of when it comes to energy management software. But any kind of data is vulnerable to a breach these days, and you don’t want the state of your company’s sensitive data to be anything but secure.

Pay close attention to how an energy management system stores and secures customer data. Only authorized personnel should have access to your data, with stringent network security and authentication requirements in place. Smart meters and other on-site energy management solutions provide plenty of convenience, but they can also raise security risks and vulnerabilities in infrastructure at the same time.

Visibility

You want your energy management software to go where you go – and track what you consume – no matter where in the world it is. The ideal software offers global utility coverage, so that as your business scales and acquires new divisions or locations, your software can scale with it. Learn how to access energy data from thousands of utility providers worldwide here.

Full visibility requires not only geographic coverage, but also data coverage. Does your energy management system give you insights into not only monthly utility usage, but also whole building interval data, or real-time smart meter data? Determine what level of granularity you need in your energy analysis (and what you can afford), and then use that to evaluate software or service providers.  

Actionable Insights

Last but not least: you need actionable insights. If you’re still spending time manually entering data into your software system, you’re not spending your time wisely. An actionable energy management system can collect and visualize your data automatically, so you can hit the ground running and choose what you want to report and how you want to act on the results.

Effective energy management software can visualize cost and consumption data across a number of buildings and locations, with variability to include different energy sources, historical data, and forecasted values, as a high-level overview or zoomed in to a specific site or time period. With a well-generated report, you can easily compare energy usage and spend against predetermined targets in monthly, daily, hourly, or even minute-by-minute intervals. With the right application, you can avoid simply bringing energy data to your execs: you can tell them what it means and what to do about it.

Power your energy management system with actionable data

Choosing an energy management system shouldn’t be taken lightly. While cost and affordability will always play a role, it’s important to remember the other factors that you need: reliable data quality, security, visibility, and actionable visualization. If you’re still looking for guidance, feel free to reach out to one of our energy data experts.

 

Interested in learning more about what makes a successful energy management software provider? Check out the four key practices we’ve seen among industry leaders that drive a competitive advantage and scalable customer growth.

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About Asia Casey

Asia Casey is a Marketing Intern at Urjanet who has a passion for communication and writing. When she's not at Urjanet, she can be found studying public relations at the University of Georgia.


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