Information Systems for Environmental Sustainability

IT, Resource Productivity, Environmental Preservation, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Verdantix: Software for Managing Corporate Energy Data – Focus and Scalability

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Verdantix suggests that successful energy management software vendors need to provide two features:

Firstly, software suppliers need to have deep, granular, proven knowledge of what we call “energy domains”. An energy domain, for instance a data centre or a commercial office, is a facility which has the same types of energy consuming assets and management technologies across multiple firms. Due to the complexity of integrating into dozens of different meters, controls and data aggregation devices energy software suppliers need to specialize on specific domains.

A typical global corporation may have many such energy domains: buildings, co-generation, data center, etc. A single vendor would apparently need expertise in all these domains to effectively serve its clients. This would appear contradictory to the “specialize on specific domains” advice.

Secondly, software providers need to demonstrate the scalability of their data management capabilities if they are targeting firms or cities with an energy management roadmap that will spew out massive volumes of interval data. Power utilities, oil and gas firms and chemicals firms generate these large data flows and will only select software that has the scalability to meet their needs. Few providers have built true enterprise-scale energy management software that can automate the collection and processing of large data sets. With the push towards private smart grids and on-site power generation, many more sectors, such as retail and telecoms, will need scalability not just site-level applications.

I agree with this reasoning in general. But I wonder what the data are that support the claim that “few providers have built true enterprise-scale energy management software.” The vendors with which I’m aware provide cloud offerings that appear to be scalable as needed, both in terms of users and data. It would be helpful to have some more insight on this scalability limitation that Verdantix apparently observes.


Author: nigelpm

Associate Professor of Information Systems, Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan - Helping organizations to navigate digital transformation.

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