Energy Management Tips

Energy management is of interest to various stakeholders; be it heads of facilities, heads of procurement, heads of environment and sustainability, financial officers, renewable energy managers and heads of energy. Some of the energy management tips that can be used to achieve considerable energy savings are:

1) Purchasing energy supplies at the lowest possible price

2) Managing energy use at peak efficiency

3) Utilising the most appropriate technology

1. Purchasing energy supplies at the lowest possible price
Purchasing energy supplies at the lowest possible price could be the starting point to great savings of energy costs. This can be achieved through switching your energy supplier. It is always advisable for companies to always take time to compare the energy tariffs to ensure they are on the best tariff and make great savings.

2. Managing energy use at peak efficiency

(a) Free help

There are some online tools that offer energy-efficiency improvements. These could come in handy in helping someone find out where to make energy-efficiency improvements.

(b) Energy monitors

An energy monitor is a gadget that estimate in real time how much energy you’re using. This can help one see where to cut back on energy consumption.

(c) Turning down thermostats

Turning down radiators especially in rooms that are rarely used/empty rooms or programming the heating to turn off when no one is there can go a long way in saving energy and energy costs.

(d) Use energy saving bulbs

Use of energy-saving light bulbs can cut down on energy usage drastically. Replacing all the light bulbs with energy-saving ones could make significant savings on energy usage and replacement costs since energy saving bulbs also have a longer life.

(e) Switching off unnecessary lights

It is also important to switch off lights that are not in use and to use the best bulb for the size of room.

(f) Sealing all heat escape routes

It is recommended that all gaps should be sealed in order to stop heat from escaping. Some of the heat escape routes are: windows, doors, chimneys and fireplaces, floorboards and skirting and loft hatches. The ways through which this can be achieved are:

? Windows- use of draught-proofing strips around the frame, brush strips work better for sash windows

? Doors – use of draught-proofing strips for gaps around the edges and brush or hinged-flap draught excluders on the bottom of doors

? Chimney and fireplace – inflatable cushions can be used to block the chimney or fit a cap over the chimney pot on fireplaces that are not used often

? Floorboards and skirting – Using a flexible silicon-based filler to fill the gaps

? Loft hatches – the use of draught-proofing strips can help to prevent hot air escaping
It is also important to consider smaller holes of air such as keyholes and letterboxes.

3. Utilising the most appropriate technology
Utilisation of technology as an energy management tool can be by way of choosing more energy efficient gadgets and by way of running technological gadgets in an energy efficient manner.

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How CRM-eCommerce Integration can help you Win a Price War

There are a number of reasons why more people are buying stuff online. One of the biggest is price. You can afford to sell your goods at cheaper prices on the Internet because you’re free of the usual operating expenses like rent, electricity, and staff salaries. That should translate to some nice savings, right?

No savings in a price war

Sadly, there?s one more thing that can drive your prices even lower: a price war. Just like in the brick-and-mortar world, a good number of online retailers are now trying to undersell each other. So even if they are able to achieve reduced OPEX, they would still find it difficult to make substantial savings.

What you need to understand is that, while price is a big motivator for buying online, it is no longer the only factor experienced online shoppers consider when choosing between two online shops.

Customers who buy purely on the basis of price, are very fickle. They can easily jump ship as soon as they discover another online store offering better discount. If what you’re looking for are repeating, loyal customers, you can’t make low prices your key differentiator.

Winning customer loyalty

Just like in the brick-and-mortar world, buyers will keep coming back to you if they find in your website true value for their money. There certainly are people who don’t just look at price tags when buying products from the Web. These folks are looking for the total package.

But other than affordable prices, what factors can win customer loyalty? You’re probably thinking a fresh user interface, multiple payment options, a good return policy, prompt delivery, reviews and testimonials, product comparisons, and so on.

Well, those are important too and you certainly should have those features and characteristics in place.

Meeting customers? needs through CRM-eCommerce integration

But there?s more you can do to enhance the customer?s experience on your site. Offering exactly the products they’re looking for and providing all relevant information they need when they need it, will give them a sense of belonging.

Since different customers have different desires you obviously would have to know your customers first before you can attempt to fulfil those desires. And, honestly, the only way to do that with accuracy and precision, and the only way to collect a significant amount of relevant customer information and make sense of it all, is by integrating CRM with your e-commerce platform.

Increasing Sales and Savings from integrating CRM into e-Commerce

The main benefit of integrating CRM with e-commerce is that it will help you enhance the customer experience. That’s cool but what does that translate to monetarily? Well, for one, that can significantly increase customer retention. Higher customer retention can only lead to increased sales in the long run.

As with regards to savings, if you are able to deliver exactly what your customers want, you can significantly bring down refunds and charge-backs.

Very few businesses have the financial resources to meet their competitors head on in a price war. Chances are, you’re not one of those few. Still, whether you like it or not you’re already in the thick of it. By building customer relationships, you can win the price war without engaging in it.

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What Is Technical Debt? A Complete Guide

You buy the latest iPhone on credit. Turn to fast car loan services to get yourself those wheels you’ve been eyeing for a while. Take out a mortgage to realise your dream of being a homeowner. Regardless of the motive, the common denominator is going into financial debt to achieve something today, and pay it off in future, with interest. The final cost will be higher than the loan value that you took out in the first place. However, debt is not limited to the financial world.

Technical Debt Definition

Technical debt – which is also referred to as code debt, design debt or tech debt – is the result of the development team taking shortcuts in the code to release a product today, which will need to be fixed later on. The quality of the code takes a backseat to issues like market forces, such as when there’s pressure to get a product out there to beat a deadline, front-run the competition, or even calm jittery consumers. Creating perfect code would take time, so the team opts for a compromised version, which they will come back later to resolve. It’s basically using a speedy temporary fix instead of waiting for a more comprehensive solution whose development would be slower.

How rampant is it? 25% of the development time in large software organisations is actually spent dealing with tech debt, according to a multiple case study of 15 organizations. “Large” here means organizations with over 250 employees. It is estimated that global technical debt will cost companies $4 trillion by 2024.

Is there interest on technical debt?

When you take out a mortgage or service a car loan, the longer that it takes to clear it the higher the interest will be. A similar case applies to technical debt. In the rush to release the software, it comes with problems like bugs in the code, incompatibility with some applications that would need it, absent documentation, and other issues that pop up over time. This will affect the usability of the product, slow down operations – and even grind systems to a halt, costing your business. Here’s the catch: just like the financial loan, the longer that one takes before resolving the issues with rushed software, the greater the problems will pile up, and more it will take to rectify and implement changes. This additional rework that will be required in future is the interest on the technical debt.

Reasons For Getting Into Technical Debt

In the financial world, there are good and bad reasons for getting into debt. Taking a loan to boost your business cashflow or buy that piece of land where you will build your home – these are understandable. Buying an expensive umbrella on credit because ‘it will go with your outfit‘ won’t win you an award for prudent financial management. This also applies to technical debt.

There are situations where product delivery takes precedence over having completely clean code, such as for start-ups that need their operations to keep running for the brand to remain relevant, a fintech app that consumers rely on daily, or situations where user feedback is needed for modifications to be made to the software early. On the other hand, incurring technical debt because the design team chooses to focus on other products that are more interesting, thus neglecting the software and only releasing a “just-usable” version will be a bad reason.

Some of the common reasons for technical debt include:

  • Inadequate project definition at the start – Where failing to accurately define product requirements up-front leads to software development that will need to be reworked later
  • Business pressure – Here the business is under pressure to release a product, such as an app or upgrade quickly before the required changes to the code are completed.
  • Lacking a test suite – Without the environment to exhaustively check for bugs and apply fixes before the public release of a product, more resources will be required later to resolve them as they arise.
  • Poor collaboration – From inadequate communication amongst the different product development teams and across the business hierarchy, to junior developers not being mentored properly, these will contribute to technical debt with the products that are released.
  • Lack of documentation – Have you launched code without its supporting documentation? This is a debt that will need to be fulfilled.
  • Parallel development – This is seen when working on different sections of a product in isolation which will, later on, need to be merged into a single source. The greater the extent of modification on an individual branch – especially when it affects its compatibility with the rest of the code, the higher the technical debt.
  • Skipping industrial standards – If you fail to adhere to industry-standard features and technologies when developing the product, there will be technical debt because you will eventually need to rework the product to align with them for it to continue being relevant.
  • Last-minute product changes – Incorporating changes that hadn’t been planned for just before its release will affect the future development of the product due to the checks, documentation and modifications that will be required later on

Types of Technical Debt

There are various types of technical debt, and this will largely depend on how you look at it.

  • Intentional technical debt – which is the debt that is consciously taken on as a strategy in the business operations.
  • Unintentional technical debt – where the debt is non-strategic, usually the consequences of a poor job being done.

This is further expounded in the Technical Debt Quadrant” put forth by Martin Fowler, which attempts to categorise it based on the context and intent:

Technical Debt Quadrant

Source: MartinFowler.com

Final thoughts

Technical debt is common, and not inherently bad. Just like financial debt, it will depend on the purpose that it has been taken up, and plans to clear it. Start-ups battling with pressure to launch their products and get ahead, software companies that have cut-throat competition to deliver fast – development teams usually find themselves having to take on technical debt instead of waiting to launch the products later. In fact, nearly all of the software products in use today have some sort of technical debt.

But no one likes being in debt. Actually, technical staff often find themselves clashing with business executives as they try to emphasise the implications involved when pushing for product launch before the code is completely ready. From a business perspective, it’s all about weighing the trade-offs, when factoring in aspects such as the aspects market situation, competition and consumer needs. So, is technical debt good or bad? It will depend on the context. Look at it this way: just like financial debt, it is not a problem as long as it is manageable. When you exceed your limits and allow the debt to spiral out of control, it can grind your operations to a halt, with the ripple effects cascading through your business.

 

Still Looking For A Way To Consolidate Excel Spreadsheets?

We use Excel spreadsheets everyday. We use them to prepare budgets and reports. We even use them when drafting plans and forecasts. With this ubiquitous office application, entering data and carrying out on-the-spot computations and analysis is quick and easy. However, when it’s time to consolidate Excel data, I won’t be surprised if you wished there was an easy way.

In fact, you were probably looking for a solution before landing on this page, right?

Because budgeting, reporting, planning, and forecasting are normally done by a group of people and not just by one individual, spreadsheets bearing the necessary data can be scattered in different folders, desktops, offices, and, in the case of really large organisations, geographical locations.

How are these data brought together? Through email attachments or by sharing folders in a local area network. Each member of the working team sends out copies of their own spreadsheets to other members, who then review them, make necessary changes, then send back to the source. The files can go back and forth until everyone is satisfied.

With each sending, sharing, and edit, business critical data gets exposed to all sorts of spreadsheet risks. Copy-paste errors, omission of a negative sign, erroneous inputs, accidental deletions, and even fraudulent manipulations can take place. And because each member can end up with multiple versions of a single spreadsheet, the chance of working on the wrong version exists.

So when all the data gets consolidated and finalised, it is possible for the end product to contain significant errors. It may not happen all the time, but it certainly can happen.

But that’s not the only disadvantage of spreadsheets. The entire process of comparing cells and sheets, copy-pasting data, linking cells, writing formulas, and specifying ranges can be very tedious, not to mention time-consuming. With spreadsheets, beating deadlines is always an almost impossible exercise.

What you need is a solution that will no longer require you to consolidate Excel spreadsheets. One that is faster, more reliable, and significantly less error-prone. Denizon has a server-based solution that has all those capabilities and much more.

With a server-based solution, all your data is stored in one place. Everyone is working on the same data source, so consolidation is fast and easy. Everyone becomes synchronised and no one has to worry about working on the wrong version.

Read more about our server-based solution

 

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