Don’t let your database run away with you. It’s easy to put off updating data and basic admin database tasks that you can do later. But a database needs a new breath of life every so often. It’s important to step back and look at what you’ve got, and how and where you’re adding to your database. Missing data, inconsistencies in data entry, and incorrect settings can hamper all of your hard work. To save yourself time and money you must keep your database shipshape.
I have previously written a blog on the importance of data accuracy and the tools to help achieve it – but, what about actually tackling it. You can have a great piece of software, a system in place for entering utility invoice data but the database won’t maintain itself. So many external influences can impact on your database, it will need to evolve. The invoice data going into the software may be completely correct in terms of usage, but as we all find out eventually the complex nature of an organisation’s portfolio, from maintenance to upgrades can change everything.
In the Energy Bureau at TEAM we spend time making sure that our database configurations are kept up to date and accurate. For example, a site may show low consumption, we find out it has been emptied for sale purposes, the customer is still responsible for the energy consumption but the tolerances within the database for flagging anomalies can be modified to save time. We spend some of our time helping our customers ensure they have up to date lists of active and closed sites. Invoices can still continue to be sent through and entered if the closed site isn’t identified in the software.
It is common for unfamiliar meter numbers to appear on bills, alerting you to the fact that that a meter exchange has taken place. Perhaps a mandatory upgrade to AMR or simply a faulty meter initially. Or even the times when an account just hasn’t had an invoice generated for a period of time due to supplier fault.
These nuggets of information are often known by one or a handful of people in any organisation but might not be successfully communicated. The relevance to the database might not always be fully understood, or there could be a delay in the information share of the new meter number. The outcome of any of these scenarios where the database becomes outdated is that the accuracy of the database suffers, if records are not updated.
We know that accuracy is such a key driver to customers – whether it is for regular monthly reporting or for compliance requirements, the accuracy of the data should always be of upmost importance. With CRC phase 2 looming, we see that customers are becoming more adept and flexible to the seemingly ever changing legislation.
So what can be done to get started on giving your database a bit of a boost?
Obvious problems or complex issues, you must look for holes in your dataset and start investigating.
These are just a small number of places to start to identify some quick wins. By making sure that you have up-to-date information about the portfolio you are managing and that the utility bill accuracy is as you would expect it to be, the job of energy management becomes easier. There are of course more in depth checks that can be carried out on your data set and some that may take longer than others.
If time is a rare commodity then don’t forget that TEAM are able to offer a Data Processing Service to help your organisation tackle any specific areas of your Sigma database, such as inputting invoices, database configuration or tackling queries on your behalf through a flexible package.