As we launch the 2019 roadmap for Sigma, now is a good time to reflect on the journey so far.
When EDW Technology acquired TEAM in 2017, they promised to make significant changes for our flagship energy management software, Sigma.
In spring 2018, a major architectural update delivered a brand-new look Sigma with an upgraded user interface and the capability for users to add their own branding to reports. Partnering with BI experts, Yellowfin, to include industry leading analytical software gave Sigma a high-performance reporting tool, Energy Intelligence (EI).
The fully integrated Sigma EI module delivered a spectrum of new features that turn traditional energy reporting on its head. Sigma EI was created to allow users to interact with the data – bringing energy data to life – and support proactive energy management. Sigma EI helps users quantify energy savings, share energy insights and display data with intuitive dashboards.
Key benefits of the Sigma EI module:
- Allows you to perform multi-dimensional analysis
- Builds unlimited, customisable reports for ultimate energy management agility
- Forecasts energy consumption using machine learning
- Identifies and controls costs for potential investment using predictive analysis
- Incorporates KPI tracking to help meet targets and benchmark performance
- Utilises location-based insights to help business planning
- Creates immersive and data-rich presentations at your fingertips.
Also known as release 10, this inaugural launch was followed by monthly updates. These ongoing developments ensure technical capabilities meet the business needs of Sigma software users. They also future proof the functionality of Sigma and create foundations on which further roadmap developments will take place.
After the first launch, we enhanced the functionality of the scheduling and importing. Specifically, The Schedule Management activity screen now pre-populates importer, user and time details, and updated recurrence patterns. Thus, making Sigma more intuitive when configuring and displaying schedules. Also, during this subsequent release, improvements to the EDI Batch Management and EDI Account Management screens were made, improving performance by up to 90%. Adjustments to provide additional information helped users with the processing of utility bills and provided a count of transactions at each bill status and two extra columns to display bill validator results.
We know that getting energy data into Sigma efficiently and reliably is critical, and we know that sources of data comes from diverse locations, systems, and in different formats. This was the focus of our development for release 11.
The Sigma Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) interface capability was re-vamped and, to make the integration of Sigma with external data sources more robust and reliable, a new framework was introduced. This streamlining lay the groundwork for us to continually extend our BEMS integration capabilities in the future to ensure we meet all our customer’s needs for data collection and integration.
Alongside this, other key improvements included an enhanced scheduler to help users see future activities, various upgrades to the new Bill Entry screen, introduction of validation messages to help transparency when importing within data edit spreadsheets and processing EDI files.
During release 11 we made significant headway in the development of a core tenant billing framework. Progressing an advanced tenant billing capability in Sigma is big on the agenda for the 2019 roadmap.
At the heart of Sigma and energy management is data. This release delivered an optimised and more resilient FTP energy data importing capability for faster and more dependable data processing. Improvements to the processing of EDI files boosted system reliability and performance.
Bill Validation and Management
Multiple developments to the bill validation functionality throughout the year have been made. These set to improve cost recoveries for Sigma users and our Energy Bureau customers.
They have included:
- Enhanced bill validation to stop creating invalid queries
- Bill validation improvements for processing failed bills
- Improvements to the bill validation to increase system performance and reduce the number of exceptions reported
- Enhanced system capability to enable a subsequent validation failure to be added to existing queries; reducing the number of queries outstanding requiring user attention
- Capability to distribute queries to multiple email addresses – reducing your workload by only having to complete the action once
- Manual override reasons have been added to give clarity in bill management in the cases when bills get accepted for payment following failed validation
- Towards the end of 2018, updates gave users extra control and assurance with bill management and enabled daily excess capacity charges to be captured and validated
- Additional bill validation information was added to give our customers better understanding around bill query investigations. Extra bill related data was made available to support organisation’s accounting processes.
Sigma holds a wealth of energy related data. In this release, we created two new default dashboards to give users a solid starting point to explore data in an insightful and meaningful way.
The Energy Management Dashboard was created to give a strategic summary level overview of an energy estate. This enables users to delve into some of the following scenarios: year on year billing; usage by floor area; site performance; missing bills and their values; and much more.
The Site Analysis Dashboard promotes data interaction. This new dashboard allows users to amend commodity, site and time-period information, access metered consumption, browse usage and identify trends.
Other Sigma EI enhancements in this release included the addition of more than 55 million pieces of data to Sigma. This provided a broad scope of individual utility bill charges, a basis for a more detailed utility charge analysis and simplified data grouping for revenue assurance reporting. Additionally, to help users perform time period analysis, the high frequency data period was extended.
Every software release that was delivered by the 2018 roadmap came with ongoing bug fixes and throughout the course of the year, we have been able to extend the range of EDI billing formats.
Find out more about Sigma Energy Management software and the Sigma EI module, and take a look at the 2019 roadmap updates.