Reporting on the progress of energy management projects is hard, we know. But there are energy managers out there who are using three very dangerous tools that can potentially destroy your good work. Do you want to know what they are and why they are so dangerous? Keep reading!
1 – Why you should NOT use Excel for your Energy Management Reports
Maybe you still think that Excel has been your best friend and ally in the creation of energy management reports. You export the data, give them some shape, colours, borders in the columns and… voila! You send the report to your client or to your colleagues.
“After three months working with a chain of shopping malls on their energy management project, it was time for us to meet to discuss the performance of the quarter and next steps. After four slides of my presentation, the client’s financial manager, very angry, interrupted me to ask me where I was getting those numbers and conclusions. We had been sending what I thought was a perfect report of readings, consumptions, costs… in Excel every fortnight to all the client’s stakeholders. This particular contact – who is a high executive – had looked at the first of the reports, and when he saw so many numbers and technical quantities, he stopped opening the following reports when he understood that they were not conveying relevant information for him”.
This is a true story of the experience of one of our partners before they started working with DEXMA. They assumed that an Excel with technical data was sufficient for all the stakeholders of their client to understand how the project was going.
Apart from this error, which is very common when working with Excel, there is the possibility of human error. Anyone can modify an Excel file and forward it with incorrect or confusing data, errors in formulas…
2 – Why Word is NOT a Good Energy Management Reporting Tool
“I don’t need reporting software, I already have Word templates”. If I got a euro for every time I heard this phrase…
Word, however, can load your good work as an energy manager. Firstly, it takes a lot of time to modify the data and graphics, tables, etc. in each template to update each energy management report. This can take hours per report.
If it’s easy to make mistakes with Excel, making these kinds of copy-paste errors in Word templates can be even worse. And, in addition, there is the possibility that you forget to change the names, logos or colours of the corporate branding of the report, looking bad in front of your customers.
Not to mention the “Word aesthetics” that can be a mile away and in many cases produces a layout that seems unprofessional.
3 – Business Intelligence Platforms
Do you have a Business Intelligence (BI) platform, or does your client have one? On the one hand, it’s great, because these tools can dig deep into the data, yes, but … they are mainly aimed at analysing business data.
In other words, don’t expect a BI to work with energy price formulas, calculate a baseline or the equivalent in greenhouse gas emissions to energy consumption.
Another way that BI can ruin your work is with importing data. Instead of simplifying your reporting task, you may be wasting even more time re-entering data on more than one platform.
Unless, of course, you have DEXMA, which you can integrate with other tools thanks to our open API.
Which Energy Management Reporting Tool Should You Use?
Obviously, if you are using any of the above, this is the key question. Ideally, your energy analysis platform should allow you to:
- Generate unlimited reports, on-demand or automatic, as you prefer.
- Customise reports without limits and with a couple of clicks.
- Download the reports in the format you want, or send them by email to whoever you want.
Why look for a reporting tool within an energy analysis platform? There are two main reasons. Firstly, having all your work tools centralised saves you time.
Secondly, because data is the key. If tomorrow, you’re faced with the same questions as our partner we mentioned above, and you are asked where the data or conclusions you present come from, it is as simple as opening the platform, going to a report, clicking on another tab and being able to show where the data you present comes from.
In our free DEMO account, you can try how reports are generated with DEXMA. And if you need to know more about energy management reporting tools, I invite you to join our online training on this topic.