The role of data and technology in supporting energy management

Energy management is challenging, especially for consultancies who require a whole host of energy technology solutions. It’s no secret that technology is the future of energy management and continued innovation in energy technology can help reduce the world’s carbon emissions.

But how can consultancies embrace technology to grow their businesses whilst helping their clients with their own energy management challenges?

Challenges in energy consultancy

The energy world can move very quickly, meaning, as a consultant, you’ll need to access the latest market data in an instant. Managing your clients energy can sometimes be more difficult than it needs to be, particularly when your energy technology and data aren’t up to date.

Outdated processes within your business can make running your operations to a highly efficient level difficult. This can be anything from having processes in place that are overly complicated or those with a lot of red tape, to having no official process in place at all with every person having their own way of doing things.

For overly complicated processes, this can lead to frustration and things taking longer than necessary; risking leaving the client unhappy. Whereas when you have no official process in place, there is no set standard that everyone should be working to.

Probably one of the largest barriers when it comes to energy management is technology. Outdated processes aren’t the only blocker to a slicker service. Using spreadsheets to record client data and other important information not only isn’t a safe and secure way to manage data, but it’s also inefficient and can cause greater problems later on.

Without the correct resources and support, software can also be difficult to maintain. Some specialist software requires maintenance that needs someone external to come in to complete and can be costly on top of the price of the software itself.

So, as a consultancy how can you overcome these challenges to provide the best service possible for your clients?

Technology and the future of energy management

Technology has been at the forefront of energy management for several years, with new innovative technologies being developed all the time to help tackle carbon reduction. But what sort of technology will help your consultancy overcome any challenges along the way.

Software

Software can make your business more robust and secure, as well as make it a more attractive business to work with and invest in. It makes the services you deliver more professional and valuable and can help you deliver large efficiencies. However successful implementation of software requires careful planning and business buy-in.

The temptation can be to build something of your own should you have some IT expertise inhouse and to help integrate into your existing systems. However, this is not only costly in the short term but becomes an ongoing expense to ensure your technology doesn’t quickly become obsolete and can stay up to date with industry and regulatory change. You also have the challenge of deciding what you want – something functional for what you think you require vs the utopian version that can conquer all – both have strong downside considerations.  If developing IT is not your core business you may wish to give considerable thought and carry out appropriate research before investing money in self-built software

Machine Learning / Artificial intelligence

Machine learning can help you identify patterns and insights in energy data, learning from experience or current usage patterns to provide early identification of unusual or unexpected usage. As this technology improves, we are likely to see this playing a more instrumental role in energy saving.

API’s & integrations

An API (Application Programming Interface) is a software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to one another. Your clients want to be able to manage their business energy from anywhere. From a desktop, to mobile, anytime and anywhere (with an internet connection).

For them, being able to manage their billing, monitor their consumption and control their usage at their fingertips will drastically improve their experience. As well as reduce costs through paperless billing, reduced average handling time and fewer field maintenance calls.

Remote metering and automatic data transfers

Remote metering is not cutting-edge technology by any means, this has been around many years. However, the ease and accessibility of the data has improved drastically. It is possible now to automate the collection and processing of metering data, transferred via SFTP, API or even an email. Other developments and devices which sit on top of old/non-smart meters and take periodic photos which can be converted to reads and transmitted. Especially useful for difficult to read water meters.

API’s coupled with integrations to your clients energy management software or one you provide for them can power up energy data and help your consultancy stand out from the competition. Whilst the energy industry is still in the early stages of digital transformation, investing and implementing future technologies will help you to further enhance customer experience and overcome challenges that many consultancies face.

To learn more about what technology and software solutions SystemsLink can support your consultancy with, email sales@systems-link.com.