How to Conquer Your Sustainability Data Woes

Urjanet Inc  |  July 20, 2016   |  Energy & Sustainability  


Running into issues with spotty data management? You’re not alone. Many sustainability professionals struggle with similar challenges that arise from unmanageable data.

These common pain points include:

  • Poor access to data from across the organization:

    The data required to fuel sustainability program activities lives all over the organization, from accounting to facilities and everywhere in between. As a result, leaving no stone unturned and ensuring you collect complete sets of data is easier said than done.

  • Inaccurate data:

    As you collect data from others from across the organization, how can you be sure it’s accurate? We’re all human, and that means errors like typos or reading the wrong information are bound to happen. However, when they do, they can send things into a tailspin since one inaccuracy can have a domino effect on related activities and calculations.

  • Complicated and unmanageable processes:

    Gathering and standardizing all of the necessary data is a hugely burdensome task. For many sustainability managers, this entire process can be complicated to the point of complete unmanageability due to all of the disparate sources involved. According to recent data from Urjanet, managing this process will be the biggest energy management challenge in 2016 for 50% of energy executives.

  • Lack of knowledge about the complex energy industry:

    Organizations in energy-intensive industries will often have goals to reduce energy consumption by a certain percentage by a certain year, thus making energy management a priority for these sustainability programs. The energy industry is quite complex, and that can make it difficult to fully understand what data you need, whether the data you have is entirely accurate, and what the relationship between different data points means if you’re not an industry expert.

  • Difficulty making sense of large volumes of data:

    Once you finally do gather and standardize all of the data you need, the hard work is far from over. There’s more data available today than ever before, and while that data has the potential to provide unprecedented insight, it’s only worthwhile if you can make sense of it (which becomes more difficult the greater volume and variety of data you have in play). Therefore, to derive actionable insight from large volumes of data, you need a tool that can help you slice and dice the data quickly and easily.

You know how that should go. These issues may seem like they’re beyond your control. But what you can control are the tools and processes you use to overcome them. By automating data collection and analysis, sustainability managers can reduce costs and increase visibility into project performance. Among other benefits, aggregated and standardized data can help ensure accuracy, simplify processes, increase efficiency, and enhance transparency.

According to Urjanet’s survey of nearly 200 U.S. energy executives, 40% of companies obtain paper utility bills from service providers, and 51% manually input data from utility bills into spreadsheets for analysis. It’s no wonder that leading executives are spending excessive amounts of time grappling with their data – they’re still relying on manual, labor-intensive processes for data collection and analysis. In order to solve all of these challenges at once, better data management is crucial.

Get ahead of the curve. Find out more about how automating data collection and analysis will help you attain your sustainability program objectives, with our new eBook: The Corporate Sustainability Professional’s Guide to Better Data Management

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About Urjanet Inc

Urjanet, the global leader in utility data aggregation, simplifies how organizations access and use utility data, enabling them to focus on their business. Our technology collects, processes, and delivers data from over 6,500 electric, natural gas, water, waste, telecom, and cable utilities worldwide.

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