What is Energy Intelligence Software?
Today, businesses face even more pressure—from investors demanding transparency, from the rising number of environmentally minded millennials in the workforce, from carbon emissions regulations posed by the government—to bring their energy management tools and processes into the 21st century.
Because when energy stakeholders look closely at how they track and report on energy, it gets complicated quickly: Are we paying too much or too little for energy? How do we know? How much energy are we using across our portfolio? Where/when could we use less? Where is the data I need for sustainability reporting? Who owns it and how do I get it? There can be a lot of questions, no clear or easy answers, and not much accountability.
It’s similar to the days before Salesforce helped businesses streamline customer relationship management, or all those hours we spent filling in and submitting spreadsheets before travel and expense platforms like Concur became the norm (remember how painful that was?).
Enter the new category of enterprise software that’s built to meet that challenge: energy intelligence software is a holistic business tool designed to help enterprises make more informed, intelligent decisions around energy management. For those who are less familiar, let’s break it down.
What Does Energy Intelligence Software Do?
It collects, analyzes, and displays different data streams in order to give you the information you need to meet your energy management goals. As a cloud-based tool, it helps energy stakeholders across the organization—from facility managers up to the C-suite—manage energy like other major expenses, identify opportunities for cost savings, and improve your overall productivity and operational efficiency.
How Does It Work?
Energy intelligence software collects information about a number of factors that impact overall energy costs (consumption, real-time pricing, production data, weather, etc.) through a variety of data streams (e.g., utility bills, smart meters, building automation/SCADA systems, etc.). The software manages and analyzes the data to surface actionable information across seven key areas of energy management: budgets and procurement, utility bill management, facility analysis and optimization, demand response, demand management, project tracking, and sustainability and reporting. This can include automated analytics, alerts and notifications for key energy consumption and cost inputs, and a central repository for energy contracts and utility bill data—among many other things.
Point solutions to address these needs have been around for decades—dashboards, automation systems, etc.—but can be challenging to manage and often fail to work in sync to get the full value out of your energy management efforts. Energy intelligence software is a single platform powerful enough to manage all aspects of energy holistically across the enterprise.
What Energy Intelligence Software Is Not
Just as helpful as understanding what energy intelligence software is capable of is knowing what it is not intended to do. Here is a quick rundown to clarify some common misconceptions:
- Another building automation system: Building automation systems (BAS) are great. They’re programmed to know when to turn things on and when to turn them off. They set temperatures in different parts of the building so you don’t have to run from room to room or floor to floor. They do a lot of things that make the occupants of your building happy and comfortable. Energy intelligence software isn’t a replacement for your building automation system; it’s a complementary tool that informs best practices for scheduling and optimizing a BAS for maximum cost savings. In fact, many organizations have used energy intelligence software to identify bugs in their BAS or other facility-level solutions that cause unnecessary and expensive energy consumption. Energy data can be an indicator of much larger operational problems and inefficiencies, and energy intelligence software can help ensure your automation tools are working the way you intended.
- A tool designed for just energy managers: Energy managers have it hard enough as it is—there’s only about one of them for every 360 buildings in the US. But on a broader scale, who “owns” energy within a given organization is often decentralized and disconnected. These silos create a lack of accountability between departments, ultimately making your organization more vulnerable to inefficiency and high costs. With all energy data available in one centralized platform—and features and tools designed for a more diverse set of users—everyone from the facility manager to the person responsible for delivering the latest forecast to the CFO is empowered to make smarter decisions.
- A solution that delivers value without effort: Ultimately, not everyone looking at energy data knows what to do with it. To have a real impact, you need to combine that data with software analytics in order to identify opportunities for eliminating waste and to calculate the opportunity based on actual financial impact. Then you need to assign an action to an individual to actually get it done. Simple energy dashboards don’t do all of that.
Intrigued? Get more details about this new category of enterprise software—including a deep-dive on capabilities and making the case for investment—in our eBook, The Definitive Guide to Energy Intelligence Software.