Optimizing Workflow and Improving Energy Analysis by Avoiding Timely Mistakes on Excel Spreadsheets

By Andrew Porto

Excel is an essential tool for many industries, making it easy to rely on the program for tasks better suited for specialized software. Energy analytics is a time-sensitive, multi-step, in-depth process that can’t be efficiently or effectively completed in Excel. Here are a few ways to avoid common Excel inefficiencies and improve your energy analysis.

Identify Your Problems

Chances are, you’re familiar with:

  • Manual Entry: You can spend hours on a spreadsheet and have nothing to show for it if a single data point was entered incorrectly. Further time and effort are needed to correct the error and the risk of inaccurate data is a serious one that can result in severe over- or under-spending.
  • Data Delays: Analysts may create reports from old information. This leaves upper managers with a dated report, which will have to be redone, unnecessarily stretching out decision timelines and workflows.
  • Super Spreadsheets: Managers tend to create super spreadsheets with many complicated macros, which leads to the creation of many information silos – if the creator is sick, takes a vacation or leaves the company, an entire team’s workflow can be thrown for a loop. Furthermore, if the macro breaks, it can take several hours to fix.
  • Duplication of Effort: When there is no established central software system for collecting and analyzing data, multiple employees may create manual spreadsheets that are very similar in nature. This duplication of effort is a waste of time and resources. In addition, there can be several inconsistencies between these employees. As a result, Risk managers spend more time on menial tasks instead of spending that time effectively managing their risk.
  • Compatibility Issues: Windows-based applications don’t work nearly as well on Apple and Android devices. The modern workforce works across different devices and on multiple platforms, making Windows-based software inefficient.
  • Outdated Technology: Spreadsheets overall, have not changed in the last decade or so. For all of their complexity, the lack of improvements makes its flaws and limitations all the more obvious. If companies do not adapt to the moving trends in more advanced and efficient technologies, they might be doomed to suffer the same fate as many other tools that in their day were considered the gold standard of technology. 

Optimize Your Workflow

With Centralized SaaS-based systems, energy companies can eliminate most (if not all) of the above challenges using spreadsheets.

  • Collecting & Managing Data: Eliminate the need for manual data collection and leverage the power of automation. Cloud-based software systems help boost accuracy by allowing employees to add, edit, modify and refine the data in one central location.
  • Analyze and Report: Analyze information effectively and efficiently with more robust data calculation tools, where users can crunch numbers and add values. When numbers are finalized, the software can easily create and view reports essential to decision-making in an instant.
  • Visual Graphs / Charts: Viewing your data in a wide array of visual charts and graphs can help give more meaning to an otherwise sea of endless numbers. By viewing data in various ways, large gaps in your data can quickly be revealed at a glance, as opposed to tediously searching out data on a line-by-line basis.
  • Export and Share: Cloud-based software eliminates compatibility issues, which allows all users to view reports and source data seamlessly.
  • Scalability: Unlike spreadsheets, SaaS platforms can scale far beyond the limits of local client software which can crash once the data calculations begin to max out. In addition, your data can be kept safe by automated backup systems which keep your data secure.

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Andrew Porto is Vice President of Marketing at POWWR