Blog Jan 10, 2017

Choosing a data services platform that’s right for you

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Nobody likes to track down, aggregate and manually input monthly utility data. (Well, maybe somebody does, but we’re pretty sure that person is squirreled away in a cavernous room, busily clacking away on a keyboard unsure if it’s day or night, so this blog probably doesn’t apply.) For the rest of us who live in a world where there’s an app for practically everything, antiquated, low tech solutions simply won’t cut it. Luckily, state of the art, cloud-based data services platforms do exist and the best ones are highly intuitive and frictionless. In fact, once your system is first set up, it basically runs in the background, with little or no monthly oversight, administrative burden or cost—virtually paying for itself within the first year of operation or even faster.

Here’s some questions you should ask when looking for potential data services providers…

Can you generate customizable monthly reports?
Who standardizes and normalizes your monthly utility data? Anyone? Or do you try to guesstimate and approximate with the raw data that you have? Energy consumption and building performance can fluctuate greatly, depending on air temperatures and other weather conditions. Robust data services platforms can weather-normalize and standardize your data, allowing you to make easier, more accurate, “apples to apples” comparisons. This alone adds tremendous value.

How is the data visualized?
How often are you actually seeing your building’s utility data and performance? While there are many different types of data services platforms out there today, make sure you select one that can also present your data in meaningful ways (or make sure you know how you’re going to do this yourself). You’ll want a solution that can visually display building trends using simple, standardized metrics that your clients can easily understand.
What utilities will you work with?
Utility companies and the bills they send are not created equal. And neither are their procedures for working with third parties. Make sure your data services provider works with the utility companies in your specific market or region, and that they have a process in place to get the data on an ongoing basis without burdening you or your clients.

How much time are you wasting manually entering utility data? Learn more in this whitepaper:
Top 5 Hidden Costs of Do-It-Yourself Data Entry.