Sigma Software Roadmap

Here is a summary of the ongoing development of our Sigma energy management software.

This page will be updated regularly and in line with software releases as they take place.

2020

Potential highlights to include:

Q1

In this quarter we plan to deliver the following updates:

Release 12.12 (January) – live

This release delivers enhancements that simplify bill validation processes.

These features provide:

Release 12.13 (February) – live

Our latest release enables comprehensive report integration and distribution from Sigma Energy intelligence (EI); within Sigma and in third party locations.

Sigma EI is a flexible and configurable framework that creates content that creates customisable reports and dashboards for compelling stakeholder engagement, improving employee awareness, supporting positive behaviour change, and promoting good energy performance.

This release’s new functionality allows you to:

Included in this release are a number of general bug fixes and system availability improvements.

Release 12.14 (March) – live

This latest release comprises a number of non-functional changes that improve Sigma’s reliability and performance.

We have also been working to put foundations in place for npower billing changes and will be in touch with affected customers in due course.

Q2

In this quarter we plan to deliver the following updates:

Release 12.15 (April) – live

This release ensures Sigma continues to meet our customers’ energy management needs with changes to ensure reliability and performance.

Release 12.16 (May) – live

The latest release provides developments that extend Sigma’s security, reliability and performance. Plus, validation performance improvements and changes that boost database quality and consistency.

Release 12.17 (June) – live

This release provides changes that ensure Sigma’s reliability and performance. There have been several improvements that enhance data accuracy, cost assurance and energy estate transparency.

Q3

In this quarter we plan to deliver the following updates:

Q4

In this quarter we plan to deliver the following updates:

There will be further updates, support and training information throughout the year. In the meantime, if you have any questions please contact your Key Account Manager.

2019

Q1

Highlights include:

  • Data importing/integration enhancements – Modbus and near real-time data
  • Tenant Billing enhancements and launch
  • Many bug fixes and performance improvements

Release 12.2 (January) – live

This release includes enhancements to the Closed Site Bill Validator to support multiple accounts for a site and allows bills to be entered before an account closed.

Release 12.3 (February) – live

Data Importing enhancements include:

  • Email Importing: Changes have been made to improve the resilience and speed of data importing from email accounts
  • MODBUS Connectivity: A new interface available for users to load data from devices using the MODBUS protocol

General performance enhancements have been made to speed up report generation and make Sigma more resilient. Also included in this release are updates to Energy Viewer to facilitate data exporting, a new online user manual and ongoing bug fixes.

Release 12.4 (March) – live

This release includes the ability to support integration with a number of new EDI suppliers, as well as general performance enhancements and ongoing bug fixes.

Sigma Tenant Billing – live

Our next generation Sigma Tenant Billing solution enables the accurate and efficient apportionment of utility costs between tenants, cost centres or departments.

High level features include:

  • End-to-end tenant billing and energy management, enabling users to manage both on one platform
  • Flexible charging methodologies, allowing users to define their own utility tariffs
  • Efficient tenancy management to ensure accurate and timely billing, and that final bills are issued quickly when a tenant leaves
  • Bill validation checks to highlight potential issues with tenant bills before they are issued, including highlighting where consumption data is missing
  • Calorific value conversion, ensuring greater transparency when billing volumetric consumption

For more information about Sigma Tenant Billing software, click here.

Q2

Planned highlights to include:

  • Tenant Billing enhancements
  • Automated loading of EDI data
  • Core Monitoring & Targeting (M&T) improvements to provide additional insights to your energy data
  • Data importing improvements

Release 12.5 (April) – live

This release includes:

  • EDI Billing file management
    Automated EDI loading (email and FTP): removing manual intervention allowing users to focus on exceptions and facilitate cost assurances.
  • M&T enhancements
    Regression and CuSUM Analysis improvements to provide dynamic tools that help you save money and improve sustainability
  • Bill management and bill validation improvements
    Providing automation to reduce manual input errors, improvements to query management and the introduction of a new validator to provide extra clarity around cumulative consumption data
  • Improved navigation to Online User Manual pages
    Giving users better access to Sigma guidance and support

Release 12.6 (May) – live

This release includes:

  • Data importing improvements that speed up the loading of consumption data and supports additional interface formats
  • Industry standard FTPS now available to provide enhanced security when importing data

Also in this release are several improvements to bill management. This includes a modification to the “New Bill Entry” screen to display a monthly overview of maximum demand and excess capacity, a feature that helps to provide a complete audit trail for the manual passing of bills which have failed validation, improved bill validation to highlight estimated readings that are linked to an AMR meter, and refined supply point display.

Evolution of Sigma Tenant Billing has delivered enhancements that provide Non-Half Hourly (NHH) meter read estimations. This helps users pass on more accurate consumption calculations and provide billing transparency to their tenants.

Release 12.7 (June) – live

This release presents further bill management functional enhancements:

  • New Bill Entry user interface that provides the option for you to initiate the bill query procedure at account or bill level
  • Alerting for when next action dates for queries falls on a non-working day
  • User notification identifying EDI file duplicates before the file processing takes place

There have been several technical modifications linked to resilience and performance plus ongoing bug fixes.

Q3

Planned highlights to include:

  • Data quality management
  • Consumption trend analysis and exception alerting
  • Greater data transparency in estate management

Release 12.8 (July) – live

This release includes:

  • A brand-new suite of Data Monitoring tools
    This framework promotes proactive energy management with robust, quality and auditable data; alleviating inaccurate reporting, flawed compliance submissions and failed energy efficiency projects. The tools allow users to:

    • Find and resolve problems in data ensuring quality through completeness and timeliness
    • Configure a monitoring strategy to complete data sets without manual intervention
    • Review an auditable trail of anomalies with a simple workflow
    • Access data monitoring information in Energy Intelligence and create data rich reports and dashboards.
  • Bill management enhancements that provide a full history of query summaries, and intelligent VAT validation to ensure the charging of confirms to UK legislation.

Release 12.9 (August/September) – live

This release includes:

  • Enhancements as an extension to the new suite of Data Monitoring tools delivered in July. The framework now benefits from:
    • Email alerting for each of your enabled monitoring strategies
    • Fixed or flexible contexts to enable smarter identification of the channels linked to the monitoring strategy
    • Flexible trend analysis to highlight potential issues in utility usage; for proactive and effective energy management
    • Visualiser app that clearly highlights the issues in the context of the surrounding data
  • Bill management improvements that deliver a new validator that supports the ability to validate against associated data items and wider range of data scenarios.

There have been technical modifications linked to reporting performance, system availability and ongoing bug fixes.

Release 12.10 (September/October) – live

This release provides enhancements that assemble your energy data logically and intuitively, giving you greater energy estate visibility.

Benefits include:

  • An improved view of all energy estate related data
  • Upgraded and intuitive navigation features to help you create better energy insights
  • Streamlined user interface making your estate management and reporting more efficient
  • New features that allow key information to be accessed and managed with one-click

There have been technical modifications linked to reporting performance, system availability and ongoing bug fixes.

Q4

Potential highlights to include:

  • Further data importing improvements
  • Enhancements to meet your analysis and reporting needs
  • Tenant billing enhancements

Release 12.11 – November/December – live

This release delivers various improvements around email importing security and data import visibility. Plus, tenant billing enhancements that provide extended flexibility around charging and data reporting.

Importing improvement benefits :

  • Added data import security with support for “Secure POP3”
  • Enhanced visibility for import schedules for better insights around data imports
  • Enhanced exception information to help identify and resolve import problems
  • Improved data load audit history

Tenant Billing improvement benefits

  • Improved usability when creating tenant bills
  • Enhanced VAT configuration for easier VAT billing
  • New functionality for ad-hoc and versatile tenant billing
  • Energy Intelligence reporting enhancements for Tenant Contracts and Tariffs

Included in this release are a number of general bug fixes and system availability improvements.

2018

You can view a full summary of Sigma’s evolutionary journey in 2018 here.
Release 10 – Live

The fully integrated Sigma EI module comes with a spectrum of new features. Click on the titles below for more detail on the capabilities within this module:

Self-serve reportingBring your energy data to life with interactive visualisations – the perfect report is just a click away. Using Sigma EI’s responsive and easy to use drag and drop report builder, you can build your own reports in seconds for all your energy related data (meter consumption, utility bills, query information and more). Create unlimited reports and modify them as and when you need to give you ultimate energy management agility. You can customise your outputs with annotations and logos, helping you create engaging reports before sharing with your stakeholders.
Advanced analytics
Allowing you to get to the “why” faster, adding greater value to understanding your energy data and how it is being used. Out-the-box, Sigma’s multi-dimensional analysis will support proactive energy management, allowing you to take control of your data, removing any hidden surprises.
Predictive analysis
Make informed decisions and recommendations about managing your energy estate in the future. Let Sigma tell you what might happen using machine learning alongside your decision making. With intelligent answers available at your fingertips, identify the best energy saving projects to invest in.
Graphs & charts
Sigma EI’s library of over 50 graph and chart types can be used to support all your reporting needs; giving you the flexibility to meet the requirements of all your stakeholders in the business. The enhanced graphical techniques provide bright colours and large images allowing you to engage with and communicate complex information clearly and effectively. Once you have written the report, you choose a chart and enhance the display to suit your needs.
Calculated fields
Reports can be enhanced with mathematical calculations to sit over your data sets. Simple mathematical calculations or more complex structured query language (SQL) statements can be configured within the self-serve reporting function to supplement your existing outputs and dynamically derive values based on the source data; providing greater drill down capability and interrogation of your data.
Data column filtering
Sigma EI will allow you the ability to sort and filter the data in your charts and graphs to suit your needs.
Export formats
If you need to export a hard copy of the data outside the system at any point – Sigma EI will let you do this in a format to best suit you, Sigma EI supports CSV, DOC, PDF and XLS file types.
KPI tracking
Ultimate flexibility for staying on track by categorising and grouping your energy data to suit your needs, within set time periods. Instantly review results against your business objectives, quantifying the savings you have achieved.
Customisable dashboards
Interactive dashboards to visually display a range of information you wish to share with the business and general public. Summarise your key energy information to help you analyse your businesses energy performance, realise opportunities and prevent potential threats. Dashboards could include reports and charts, KPIs, Twitter feeds, tips and hints for saving energy, and communication from the Energy team. They are easy to design, create and are fully configurable with your business needs. Publish your dashboards outside of Sigma through your intranet or on the internet to disseminate information and increase stakeholder engagement.
WYSIWYG report design
Sigma EI has been designed to be intuitive and easy to use, allowing you to do what you need quickly – What You See is What You Get! Readily adapt to your changing business and energy management needs – evolve your dashboards and reports with ease as requirements change.
Mapping & location intelligence
Using the self-serve reporting capability, you can add a geographical context to your energy data, giving you that extra layer of analytics to allow discovery of location-based insights and correlations between your energy data and spatially relevant third-party data (demographics, geographic information systems). As well as giving you the geographical angle on your energy assets, this is a great tool to assist in business planning where location is a key factor, for example creating maintenance team schedules or meter reading visits.
Presentation/storyboards
Share compelling stories with your energy data – Sigma EI’s storyboard feature is a presentation layer allowing you to create slide shows of your reports with added features such as text, images and videos. Create live and fully immersive and data-rich presentations to share with others around the business – gone are the days of creating your end of month report or business case in PowerPoint!
Distribution & collaboration

Improve your operational efficiency and let Sigma EI manage your report delivery, distribution and collaboration for you. Attach reports or dashboards to in-application discussions and share links to give people access to your insights – accessible from anywhere. Use Sigma EI as your end-to-end energy collaboration platform. With the information you publish, stakeholders can start up a conversation related to any piece of content within the system – adding content with annotations, attachments, links and comments. Focus on your key energy data and collectively decide the best course of action.
Broadcasting
Take away the responsibility for manually generating reports on certain dates for different departments within the business. The broadcasting feature has the ability to automate and schedule management reports for distribution to Stakeholders on defined dates. This will save you time and provide a full audit trail, alleviating the need to manually generate your reports.
Alerting
The Sigma EI tool can be configured to make you aware when certain events happen. From an energy perspective, this is crucial for identifying missing data, monitoring discrepancies in consumption, notifying of excess tolerances quickly. Sigma EI will deliver instant notifications the moment key metrics fall outside predefined thresholds. This supports proactive energy management, reducing surprises and allowing you to take preventative action quicker.

Following the deployment of Sigma 10, incorporating Sigma Energy Intelligence, ongoing development is taking place to ensure technical capabilities meet the business needs of Sigma software users. These developments and enhancements will also future proof the functionality of Sigma and create foundations on which further roadmap developments will take place.

Release 10.2 – Live
  • Enhancements to the Scheduling and Importing functions. We have made a number of changes to improve the way schedules are setup and managed, to ensure they run consistently and more efficiently
      Specifically, on the Schedule Management activity screen we have:
    Updated the schedule name field so that it is pre-populated with the details of the importer, user and current date and time
    Updated the Recurrence Pattern section to help make it more intuitive when configuring how often schedules should run
    Updated the schedule list to show the schedule frequency (Schedule Type column) and when the schedule will end and also             provided the ability to filter the list
    Added a running schedules section to show any schedules that are currently in progress
  • Improvements to the EDI Batch Management and EDI Account Management screens, improving performance by up to 90%. On the batch management screen, we have also added some additional information to help users with the processing of utility bills, showing a count of transactions at each bill status and adding two new columns to display bill validator results
  • Modifications and revisions to the Energy Intelligence overall functionality, ensuring it continues to meet energy management needs
  • General bug fixes
Release 11 – Live

Getting your energy data into Sigma efficiently and reliably is critical, and we know how this data can come from a diverse range of different locations, systems, and formats.

This has been the focus of Sigma’s release 11. The Sigma Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) interface capability has been re-vamped and a new framework introduced, to make the integration of Sigma with external data sources, including BEMS, more robust and reliable. This streamlining has provided the foundation for us to be able to continually extend our BEMS integration capabilities going forwards, making sure we can meet all our Customer’s needs for data collection and integration.

Alongside this, other key improvements include:

  • Enhanced Scheduler activity for data imports and reports to help you see future activities
  • An upgrade to the new Bill Entry screen – to be able to capture ‘Rateable Values’ and ‘Declared VAT values’
  • Introduction of new validation messages to give transparency when using the importing capability within the Data Edit Spreadsheet and for processing EDI files
  • Capability to raise queries against individual bills in the EDI Batch Management feature
  • Capability to load in EDI files from Welsh Water
  • Ongoing general bug fixes – information can be found in our release notes here

We have made significant headway in our software roadmap and are pleased to announce that this release also includes the core tenant billing framework. This provides a great foundation for all future developments working towards an advanced tenant billing capability.

Further developments of the tenant billing software will be delivered throughout Autumn.

Release 11.1 – Live

Primarily, this update includes:

  • An optimised and more resilient FTP energy data importing capability for faster and more dependable data processing
  • Enhanced Bill Validation to stop creating invalid queries
  • Bill Validation improvements for processing failed bills
  • An updated Bill Validation process to ensure that validators are only run against the appropriate utility bill to increase system performance and reduce exceptions reported
  • In the case of duplicate queries, the system capability has been enhanced to enable a subsequent validation failure to be added to an existing query; therefore, reducing the number of queries outstanding requiring user attention
  • Improvements to the processing of EDI files to boost system reliability and performance
  • Ongoing general bug fixes – more information can be found in our release notes here
Release 11.2 – Live

Primarily, this update includes:

  • Support for a wider range of EDI billing file formats from different Water Suppliers – Sigma can now process files received from Anglian Water Business (Wave) and Advanced Demand Side Management (ADSM)
  • Enhancements to the bill validation process to ensure transparency and efficiency, this includes:
    a. Capability to distribute queries to multiple email addresses – reducing your workload by only having to complete the action once
    b. In the case of bills being accepted for payment following failed validation, manual override reasons have been added to give improved visibility in bill management.
  • Ongoing general bug fixes to improve system reliability and performance – more information can be found in our release notes here

Please see the release notes for more information.

Release 12.0 – Live

As part of our on-going Sigma improvement programme, our October maintenance release, Sigma 12.0, is now live.

Primarily, this update provides a number of bug fixes in our ongoing commitment to improve the functionality and performance offered by Sigma. There are also a couple of bill processing related improvements to note:

  • Bill entry process has been enhanced to ensure that only authorised users can delete bills; a visible audit history will provide assurance and control over bill management
  • Bill processing improvements to allow daily excess capacity charges to be captured and validated, including a modification to the Scottish Power EDI interface to support these charges

For more detailed information on the changes, please see the release notes here.

Release 12.1 – Live

To keep the Sigma software great, we’re dedicated to ongoing evolution and advancement of the system.

This major release delivers enhancements to Sigma’s Energy Intelligence and the features in Bill Processing.

Sigma EI

To help you access and consolidate the wealth of energy related data held in Sigma, we have introduced 2 new default dashboards. This provides a starting point for you to explore your data in an insightful and meaningful way.

The Energy Management Dashboard provides a strategic summary level overview of your estate. This enables you 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 allows you to interact with the data. In this dashboard you can change the commodity, site and time period and access metered consumption information including High Frequency periodic channel data. Here you will be able to browse usage and identify trends.

Other Sigma EI enhancements include:

  • Detail Bill Charge Data: more than 55 million pieces of data have been added to Sigma to provide a broad scope of individual utility bill charges. This provides the basis for more detailed utility charge analysis and simplifies data grouping for revenue assurance reporting
  • Extended High Frequency Data: the previous 14 months of high frequency consumption data from your periodic channels is now available. This extra data enables time period analysis of the previous year, month or week enabling you to identify trends or issues in your energy estate
  • Additional Bill Validation Information: a “Validation Message Detail” has been added providing additional details of validation failures to the core validation messages. This provides better understanding around bill query investigations
  • Additional Bill Related Data: an “Interim Actual Read Flag” has been added to help differentiate between bills that are entirely or partially based on actual consumption; or entirely on estimated consumption. Additionally, a “Bill Exported Date” flag has been added to help identify when bills were exported to support accounting processes
Bill Processing Improvements

Several enhancements have been made to improve the efficiency of bill management processing. These include:

  • Updates to the Data Input screen to display the “Supply Point for a Site”. This reduces the time taken to manually enter meter readings (particularly useful when receiving MPAN readings)
  • Inclusion of the invoice number and EDI batch number in the summary field of a query to help identify originating invoices when managing the query through its lifecycle
  • Added capability to re-validate bills that are associated to an account which will automatically repeat the validation checks for the selected bills which may be based on updated information since the bill was first loaded

Also included in release 12.1 are general bug fixes and an ongoing stream of non-functional changes to improve Sigma’s reliability and performance.

For more detailed information on the changes, please see the release notes here.

Future releases

Further updates, support and training information will follow as we move closer towards future release dates. If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact your Key Account Manager.