What do energy managers want?
David Ulmer, our Vice President of Implementation Solutions and Product Owner here at EnergyCAP, was extensively quoted in a recent article in EnergyManagerToday.com with an answer to that question.
At the core of the discussion was the technological reality that more and more energy data is becoming available, and that data needs to be effectively managed to achieve the twin goals of increased efficiency and energy savings.
You can read more in the article, but today’s blog is a summary of what David has learned in hundreds of conversations with clients and contacts in the energy business.
Energy Managers want time.
Energy Managers are busy people, and if there are ways to reduce the time spent on more mundane tasks such as data entry, this frees them up to engage in more productive activities such as analysis, reporting, and troubleshooting.
Put another way, they'd like to spend more time actually studying data, and less time generating it, copying it, or figuring out ways to move it around. That's part of the reason why EnergyCAP's Bill CAPture service has been so popular with our clients.
Energy Managers want details.
As more and more data is becoming available, the real challenge is in filtering it and displaying it in useful and actionable ways. Building and energy managers are increasingly investing in data collection infrastructure and 15-minute interval data. According to David, the granular view of a facility is important. “A lot people are interested in sub-metering and the ability to import interval data into their systems and correlate that data with utility bills,” he said.
Energy Managers want visuals.
Data presentation can help or hinder understanding. In a world where there is more and more data available, energy managers want ways of deciphering the data more quickly. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a chart is worth a thousand table rows, and can often make sense of the data that table contains. Energy management often focuses on trends and comparisons; both of which lend themselves to graphical presentation.
“People want to see dashboards of data that are attractive to a broad audience and understood by people who in the past were not particularly interested in energy management,” said Ulmer. “The easier you can explain the story, the better the story is to tell.”
Energy Managers want to be free.
Accessible data needs to be portable data for today’s energy manager. He or she will access that data from a smartphone or tablet, not just a desktop. Data needs to be taken “on the road” for presentation in places that may not even have access to a charging station. Energy managers also want the capability to export charts, graphs and other data and relocate it. “There are requests to embed energy data into other websites,” Ulmer said. “Take the dashboard and data and make it publishable on intranets or integrate it with other data. It really goes hand in hand with making data more visible and easier to understand.”
Energy Managers want data served their way(s).
Finally, Ulmer says that the people with whom he speaks want to be able to customize data presentation. They want the ability to customize reports that will answer the questions of the diverse audiences to whom they are responsible. They don’t want to wait on IT or the next software release to deliver targeted information to appropriate stakeholders. For some, that means high-level summary data. For others, that means granular, highly detailed and focused information.
EnergyCAP’s new Report Designer is the perfect tool to address this desire. It’s an Excel Add-in that provides all the power of Excel for data display and customization, with a secure method for authentication and access to the most current data from a client’s EnergyCAP database.
In a world overflowing with data, energy managers are looking for new ways to make that data accessible, relevant, usable, and intelligent. And David is working hard to make sure that EnergyCAP delivers.