Today's blog introduces three new software features that are part of the 3.3.1 Release of EnergyCAP. This version just became available to EnergyCAP-hosted clients last night, and will be rolled out to all our clients in the coming weeks. We hope you find these features useful, and we look forward to your comments and suggestions for future innovations.
The Budget Worksheet module initiates a process that pulls data from the EnergyCAP database to produce an Excel spreadsheet that can be used to model and adjust a utility budget for each commodity and building. The budget can be adjusted by a percentage increase or decrease in weather load, floor area, and/or other factors. The sheet is calculated based on one year of previous utility billing data, with the end month of that baseline year specified by the user.
The Budgets Worksheet provides a powerful tool for budget creation using EnergyCAP's online software. By piggy-backing on a familiar and ubiquitous spreadsheet software (Excel®), we are hoping to add real value for our clients as they perform what can be a tedious annual process.
This new feature is a 'phase 1' approach to budgeting that will serve the less complex budgeting needs of many EnergyCAP clients, particularly those with portfolios of less than 100 buildings. A more full-featured budget module is planned for a future release.
On Demand Search
An On Demand search option in "Global Settings" allows clients to set the Global and Bill Entry search fields to require users to press the "Enter" key or to click the "Search" button to initiate each search. We discovered from client feedback that some users experienced performance issues when instant search was running all the time. When enabled, this new On Demand search option suspends the instant search feature for those fields. This new setting can be valuable for some Enterprise-level clients, since instant search can put an undesirable processing load on computers accessing a very large database with thousands of accounts. The user-configurable On Demand search option provides one method of addressing near-term performance issues.
PLEASE NOTE: During the first login after upgrading to 3.3.1, if your database has more than 5,000 accounts, the On Demand search setting will be automatically selected. Users desiring continuous instant search can update their Global Settings at any time.
Batch Close Permission
It's not too big a deal for most, but for those EnergyCAP Enterprise clients that rely heavily on the Workflow permissions to control bill entry and modification, they may have noted that some customized user roles permissions important to their processes behaved differently in EnergyCAP Online than in Enterprise. We've made some helpful changes, and the ability to close a bill batch is now dependent only on whether or not the user owns the batch. Previously the user also needed to have the ability to modify bills. No default EnergyCAP user roles (as listed in Help documentation) will be affected by this change.
We hope you enjoy these new features, and will look forward to your comments and suggestions in the future.