Uncover hidden opportunities with energy data analytics

What springs to mind when you hear the words energy data analytics? To me, I feel like energy data analytics is not my thing. Energy data analytics, however, is of great importance to any organisation or business that wants to run more efficiently, reduce costs, and increase productivity. Energy efficiency is one of the best ways to accomplish these goals.

Energy efficiency is not about investment in expensive equipment and internal reorganization. Enormous energy saving opportunities is hidden in already existing energy data. Given that nowadays, energy data can be recorded from almost any device, a lot of data is captured regularly and therefore a lot of data is readily available.

Organisations can use this data to convert their buildings’ operations from being a cost centre to a revenue centre through reduction of energy-related spending which has a significant impact on the profitability of many businesses. All this is possible through analysis and interpretation of data to predict future events with greater accuracy. Energy data analytics therefore is about using very detailed data for further analysis, and is as a consequence, a crucial aspect of any data-driven energy management plan.

The application of Data and IT could drive significant cost savings in company-owned buildings and vehicle fleets. Virtual energy audits can be performed by combining energy meter data with other basic data about a building e.g. location, to analyse and identify potential energy savings opportunities. Investment in energy dashboards can further enable companies to have an ongoing look at where energy is being consumed in their buildings, and thus predict ways to reduce usage, not to mention that energy data analytics unlock savings opportunities and help companies to understand their everyday practices and operating requirements in a much more comprehensive manner.

Using energy data analytics can enable an organisation to: determine discrepancies between baseline and actual energy data; benchmark and compare previous performance with actual energy usage. Energy data analytics also help businesses and organisations determine whether or not their Building Management System (BMS) is operating efficiently and hitting the targeted energy usage goals. They can then use this data to investigate areas for improvement or energy efficient upgrades. When energy data analytics are closely monitored, companies tend to operate more efficiently and with better control over relevant BMS data.

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Introduction to Matrix Management

A leader is responsible to empower his people and get the best out of them. Yet an organisational structure can either help or hamper performance. Worst, it can make or break success.

Looking at the fast-changing world of the global economy, whatsoever slows up and obstructs decision-making is a challenge. Hierarchical management is rather unattractive and functional silos are unlikable. Instead, employees desire to create teams equipped with flexibility, cooperation and coordination.

Recognising that companies have both vertical and horizontal chains of command, the matrix model is created. The concept of this principle lies in the ability to manage the collaboration of people across various functions and achieve strategic objectives through key projects.

Consider this scenario:

Ian is a sales executive of a company. His role is to sell a new product under the supervision of a product manager. The manager is expert about the product and she is accountable to coordinate the people across the organisation, making sure the product is achieved.

Moreover, Ian also reports to the sales manager who oversees his overall performance, monitors his pay and benefits and guides his personal development.

Complicated it may seem but this set-up is common to companies that seek to maximise the effect of expert product managers, without compromising the function of the staffing overhead in control of the organisation. This is a successful approach to management known as Matrix Management.

Matrix Management Defined

Matrix management is a type of organisational management wherein employees of similar skills are shared for work assignments. Simply stated, it is a structure in which the workforce reports to multiple managers of different roles.

For example, a team of engineers work under the supervision of their department head, which is the engineering manager. However, the same people from the engineering department may be assigned to other projects where they report to the project manager. Thus, while working on a designated project, each engineer has to work under various managers to accomplish the job.

Historical Background

Although some critics say that matrix management was first adopted in the Second World War, its origins can be traced more reliably to the US space programme of the 1960’s when President Kennedy has drawn his vision of putting a man on the moon. In order to accomplish the objective, NASA revolutionised its approach on the project leading to the consequent birth of ?matrix organisation?. This strategic method facilitated the energy, creativity and decision-making to triumph the grand vision.

In the 1970’s, matrix organisation received huge attention as the only new form of organisation in the twentieth century. In fact it was applied by Digital Equipment, Xerox, and Citibank. Despite its initial success, the enthusiasm of corporations with regards to matrix organisation declined in the 1980’s, largely because it was complex.

Furthermore, the drive for motivating people to work creatively and flexibly has only strengthened. And by the 1990’s, the evolution of matrix management geared towards creation and empowerment of virtual teams that focused on customer service and speedy delivery.

Although all forms of matrix has loopholes and flaws, research says that until today, matrix management is still the leading approach used by companies to achieve organisational goals.

Business Turnaround Tip for a Successful MBO Turned Awry

When you acquire a company through an MBO, your hopes are always high. You know the business more than anyone else and you’ve got too much at stake to do a sloppy job. So how could things go wrong? Well sometimes they do. And if you don’t make a quick business turnaround, you could end up losing more than just your company.

If that management buyout was financed by a bank, then chances are you were required to invest a sizeable amount from your own pockets. I won’t be surprised if you even remortgaged your house for it.

Regardless of your source of funding, whether it was a bank, a venture capitalist or through a deferred consideration, the mere thought of losing your job and getting buried in enormous debt at the same time might be too much to bear. If you get too overwhelmed by your emotions and can’t think clearly, you’ll have to step out of the driver?s seat and have someone take over.

That someone can’t be a member of the management team that took part in the management buyout. Like you, he/she might be in panic mode as well. You need someone from the outside who has no emotional attachments to the company and hence can view the crisis from a clear perspective.

Here’s what’s needed:

Review and Plan

Take a closer look at all factors affecting your business: governance and organisational structures, employees, suppliers, systems and procedures, roles and responsibilities, etc. Identify potential risks and assess the likelihood of them affecting your business.

This will give a clearer picture of cause-and-effect relationships as well as the specific tasks on hand.

Thus, when it is time to draft a plan, you can do so from a well-informed standpoint. This will enable you to target specific areas of improvement and avoid pointless activities.

Assure all stakeholders

Once a watertight plan has been formulated, you will have to approach your stakeholders. They?ll need to know what your directions are. Once they’re all sold on the plan, you could implement our strategies unimpeded.

This is a very crucial part because a sceptical stakeholder can serve as a major stumbling block in our efforts to improve the situation. You need to convince your banks, sponsors, and investors in order to avoid additional financial obstacles. You need to convince your suppliers too. If they cut off or limit supply, you won’t be able to continue doing business.

Most of all, you need to persuade your staff and employees that the proposed major changes have to be carried out in order for the company to survive. You can’t run your operations without them on board.

Redesign and set up new systems and procedures

Any company requiring a turnaround will certainly have systems and procedures that are no longer working well in the current conditions and hence would require either major changes in key areas or a total revamp. You need to study personnel roles and responsibilities as well as systems and processes, including financial and IT systems, and supervise the implementation of necessary changes.

You will need to evaluate your existing IT architecture and determine how you can best maximise what you already have and propose what you think will work more efficiently for our proposed systems and procedures. Every piece of hardware or software recommended will take into consideration your present resources. There are many solutions out there, you just need to find the best fit.

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Energy Cooperation Mechanisms in the EU

While the original mission of the European Union was to bring countries together to prevent future wars, this has spun out into a variety of other cooperative mechanisms its founders may never have dreamed of. Take energy for example, where the European Energy Directive puts energy cooperation mechanisms in place to help member states achieve the collective goal.

This inter-connectivity is essential because countries have different opportunities. For example, some may easily meet their renewable targets with an abundance of suitable rivers, while others may have a more regular supply of sunshine. To capitalise on these opportunities the EU created an internal energy market to make it easier for countries to work together and achieve their goals in cost-effective ways. The three major mechanisms are

  • Joint Projects
  • Statistical Transfers
  • Joint Support Schemes

Joint Projects

The simplest form is where two member states co-fund a power generation, heating or cooling scheme and share the benefits. This could be anything from a hydro project on their common border to co-developing bio-fuel technology. They do not necessarily share the benefits, but they do share the renewable energy credits that flow from it.

An EU country may also enter into a joint project with a non-EU nation, and claim a portion of the credit, provided the project generates electricity and this physically flows into the union.

Statistical Transfers

A statistical transfer occurs when one member state has an abundance of renewable energy opportunities such that it can readily meet its targets, and has surplus credits it wishes to exchange for cash. It ?sells? these through the EU accounting system to a country willing to pay for the assistance.

This aspect of the cooperative mechanism provides an incentive for member states to exceed their targets. It also controls costs, because the receiver has the opportunity to avoid more expensive capital outlays.

Joint Support Schemes

In the case of joint support schemes, two or more member countries combine efforts to encourage renewable energy / heating / cooling systems in their respective territories. This concept is not yet fully explored. It might for example include common feed-in tariffs / premiums or common certificate trading and quota systems.

Conclusion

A common thread runs through these three cooperative mechanisms and there are close interlinks. The question in ecoVaro?s mind is the extent to which the system will evolve from statistical support systems, towards full open engagement.

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