How Bouygues manages an Empire-Sized Footprint

Bouygues is into telecoms / media, and building and road construction. It also knows it has to watch its energy footprint closely. Owning 47% of energy giant Alstom keeps it constantly in the media spotlight. Shall we find out more about its facility management policies?

The journal Premises and Facilities Management interviewed MD Martin Bouygues on his personal opinions concerning managing energy consumption in facilities. He began by commenting that this was hardly a subject for the C-Suite in years gone by. Low-level clerks simply paid the bills following which the actual amounts were lost in the general expenses account. That of course has changed.

Early pressure came from soaring energy bills, which were pursued by a whole host of electricity-saving gadgets. However, it was only after the carbon crisis caught business by surprise that the link was forged to aerial pollution, and the social responsibilities of big business to help with the solution. The duty to have an energy strategy became an obligation eagerly policed by organisations such as Greenpeace.

Unsurprisingly, Martin Bouygues? advice begins with keeping energy consumption and its carbon footprint as high up on the agenda as health and safety. ?It needs bravery and a lot of hard work to get it there,? he says, ?so perseverance is the key?. 

The company has developed proprietary software that enables it to pull data from remote sensors in more than 80 countries every fifteen minutes. A single large building can contribute 50 million data items annually making data big business in the system. Every building has an allocated energy performance contract against which results are reported monthly, as a basis for reviewing progress.

The system is intelligent and able to incorporate low-occupancy periods such as weekends and public holidays. What is measured gets managed. We all know that, but how many of us apply the principle to our energy bills. With assistance from ecoVaro, the possible becomes real.

We offer a similar service to the Bouygues model with one notable exception. You don’t buy the software and you only pay when you use it. Our systems are simply designed for busy financial managers.

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Spreadsheet Woes – Burden in SOX Compliance and Other Regulations

End User Computing (EUC) or end User Developed Application (UDA) systems like spreadsheets used to be ideal ad-hoc solutions for data processing and financial reporting. But those days are long gone.

Today, due to regulations like the:

  • Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act,
  • Dodd-Frank Act,
  • IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards),
  • E.U. Data Protection Directive,
  • Basel II,
  • NAIC Model Audit Rules,
  • FAS 157,
  • yes, there?s more ? and counting

a company can be bogged down when it tries to comply with such regulations while maintaining spreadsheet-reliant financial and information systems.

In an age where regulatory compliance have become part of the norm, companies need to enforce more stringent control measures like version control, access control, testing, reconciliation, and many others, in order to pass audits and to ensure that their spreadsheets are giving them only accurate and reliable information.

Now, the problem is, these control measures aren’t exactly tailor-made for a spreadsheet environment. While yes, it is possible to set up a spreadsheet and EUC control environment that utilises best practices, this is a potentially expensive, laborious, and time-consuming exercise, and even then, the system will still not be as foolproof or efficient as the regulations call for.

Testing and reconciliation alone can cost a significant amount of time and money to be effective:

  1. It requires multiple testers who need to test spreadsheets down to the cell level.
  2. Testers will have to deal with terribly disorganized and complicated spreadsheet systems that typically involve single cells being fed information by other cells in other sheets, which in turn may be found in other workbooks, or in another folder.
  3. Each month, an organisation may have new spreadsheets with new links, new macros, new formulas, new locations, and hence new objects to test.
  4. Spreadsheets rarely come with any kind of supporting documentation and version control, further hampering the verification process.
  5. Because Windows won’t allow you to open two Excel files with the same name simultaneously and because a succession of monthly-revised spreadsheets separated by mere folders but still bearing the same name is common in spreadsheet systems, it would be difficult to compare one spreadsheet with any of its older versions.

But testing and reconciliation are just two of the many activities that make regulatory compliance terribly tedious for a spreadsheet-reliant organisation. Therefore, the sheer intricacy of spreadsheet systems make examining and maintaining them next to impossible.

On the other hand, you can’t afford not to take these regulations seriously. Non-compliance with regulatory mandates can have dire consequences, not the least of which is the loss of investor confidence. And when investors start to doubt the management’s capability, customers will start to walk away too. Now that is a loss your competitors will only be too happy to gain.

Learn more about our server application solutions and discover a better way to comply with regulations.

More Spreadsheet Blogs


Spreadsheet Risks in Banks


Top 10 Disadvantages of Spreadsheets


Disadvantages of Spreadsheets – obstacles to compliance in the Healthcare Industry


How Internal Auditors can win the War against Spreadsheet Fraud


Spreadsheet Reporting – No Room in your company in an age of Business Intelligence


Still looking for a Way to Consolidate Excel Spreadsheets?


Disadvantages of Spreadsheets


Spreadsheet woes – ill equipped for an Agile Business Environment


Spreadsheet Fraud


Spreadsheet Woes – Limited features for easy adoption of a control framework


Spreadsheet woes – Burden in SOX Compliance and other Regulations


Spreadsheet Risk Issues


Server Application Solutions – Don’t let Spreadsheets hold your Business back


Why Spreadsheets can send the pillars of Solvency II crashing down

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Telemetry and the Survival of the Human Species

Without moisture, plants die. Without fodder, the animal food chain collapses. This is why climate change is the greatest threat humankind faces. Crop management needs timely information regarding ambient conditions, and also in the soil itself. In dry areas, online knowledge of trends in rainfall, sunlight, wind speed, leaf moisture, air temperature, relative humidity and solar radiation are indicators of soil stress that can be deadly for plants, and everything that relies on them.

As climate change bites, the need to find solutions accelerates. Drones swoop across to monitor ambient conditions, while probes sunk into plants and the earth in which they grow transmit information to big data repositories for feedback to administrators. In Australia, a remarkable cattle farmer is applying the same approach to his herds.

Nuffield scholar Rob Cook has always been on the edgy side of things. He lost his mobility in a helicopter crash in 2008 patrolling farmland but that has not deterred him. If anything, it has freed his mind to explore the potential that telemetry offers farmers in Australia. He shared this potential with the young beef producers in Roma Australia recently, and here is a summary what he said.

Being wheelchair bound he had to shift from herding with cattle dogs to a more scientific approach. He bought a farm 230 miles / 370 kilometres inland from Brisbane in a warm, temperate climate with significant rainfall even in the driest months. He uses observant software that reports on critical issues like water levels indicating animal consumption, and supplementary water flows from a central irrigation channel.

He also monitors fodder sources for dryer months, and moisture levels in food stocks. Rob is committed to making every blade of grass count. ?We even have the ability to take a photo of the cattle when they are taking a drink of water,? he explains, and that provides valuable information regarding tick and fly infestation and overall condition.

None of this would be possible for Rob Cook without telemetry, which is the process of collecting data at remote points and transmitting it to receiving equipment for analysis. Independent farmers do not have equipment to fund these analytic resources on their own, and use big data resources in a cloud to obtain reports. ecoVaro is on top of current trends. Please speak to us when you need independent advice.

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Integrated eCommerce – The right way to do extend your business online

With more people spending more time on the Web, now is the perfect time to start selling your products and services online. And if you think those people are only busy posting status updates on Facebook and Twitter but avoid all other websites, think again. Many are actually buying stuff online. E-commerce has never been bigger. In the UK, it was already worth 100 Billion two years ago.

Buyers are finding it more convenient to buy products and services online because they can do so from practically anywhere; even in the comfort of their homes. What’s more, they could browse through more choices at a fraction of the time they?d have spent doing the same thing in brick and mortar establishments.

So if your potential buyers are already out there, what’s stopping you from opening your virtual doors to greet them?

Antiquated e-Commerce

Now, before you start getting excited in setting up your own idea of an eCommerce-ready website, you might want to be aware of what a sound e-commerce investment entails these days. If all you’re thinking is a site that accepts orders and have someone enter those orders in your accounting system, then you’ve got it all wrong.

You’re never going to get good returns on your investment that way. While you’re opening doors for new income streams, you’re also introducing additional costs and sophistication for processes that are highly susceptible to errors, inconsistencies, delays, and, eventually, client dissatisfaction.

Doing it right with integrated e-Commerce

To compete with others who are also offering the same products and services as yours, you need to ensure complete customer satisfaction. The best way to achieve this is to employ integrated e-commerce. This is an e-commerce system that combines your payment system, accounting, ERP, CRM, inventory management, analytics, and others into a cohesive, synchronised environment.

The idea is to do away with majority of your manual tasks in order to achieve fast, efficient, accurate, and secure transactions and other related processes.

eCommerce integration will allow you to do business 24/7 without requiring any of your staff to render the same number of hours. That means, your company continues to operate and earn even while all of you are fast sleep.

Then when you’re up, you can view reports telling you what transpired overnight, over the weekend or over any specified period of time. The information you obtain can help you make well-informed decisions and act on issues much quicker.

And because your business is on the Web, you can serve customers and obtain new ones from geographical locations far from where your office or store is actually located. If you want, you can even gain customers from halfway around the world.

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