16 Jan 10 Questions to Compare Energy Management Software [Checklist]
Have you seen our latest guide on selecting the right energy management software?
If you’re trying to decide on the best solution for your ESCO or attempting to compare energy management software vendors in a rush, we summed up the main questions you need to ask your potential provider in a handy and printable checklist.
10 Essential Questions to Compare Energy Management Software Providers
In our latest guide to energy management software procurement, you will find a compilation of in-depth articles to help you compare energy management software platforms and hopefully narrow down a list of potential vendors that fit you best.
Once you’ve read the guide and armed yourself with information, it will be time to have a more in-depth conversation with your potential energy analytics provider.
If you already have an aM&T software system in place, ask these essential questions to your current EMS provider. Still searching for your perfect match? Create a shortlist with these 10 questions to help you benchmark different providers.
To make it even easier for you, we created a handy and printable checklist. Download it for free below, and start collecting your answers to evaluate the different solutions on the market.
1. What are my branding options?
Differentiation is a pain point for many energy services companies (ESCOs) or utilities, so branding is one way to align your “look and feel” to give your clients a superior experience.
2. Can I create my own reports?
Many energy management providers offer reports as a part of their solutions. But, how flexible and customisable are these reports? Can you automate report creation and sending?
3. How secure is my data?
Cloud solutions for energy management are evolving at breakneck speed and it’s time to forget old security woes of SaaS solutions. Still, it’s important to work with a trustworthy provider who has a realistic contingency plan for security breaches or server issues.
To take a deeper dive into this vast and complex topic, check this post.
4. How fast is your platform?
If load time is long in your energy management tool, you will be losing much more time than you can afford on each client, building or account.
Because remember: time is money. So don’t forget to get a clear idea of how fast their software is!
5. Can I verify energy savings?
Essential features in this area include:
- Project overview tools: Your all-in-one dashboard enabling you to see the different lines of work in each project and how each team is progressing
- Savings percentage achieved versus goal
- Set up tools for verification
Finally, keep in mind that measurement and verification tools for energy management can be a requirement for certain projects, especially when applying for public tenders. Don’t forget to ask your EMS provider is M&V-enabled!
6. How many users can I have?
The key question here is not cost per user or per project. If you set up a new account for a new client, can you have different users with different roles?
7. What is your hardware approach?
Basically there are two kinds of energy management software:
- Hardware-neutral: With these, almost any hardware on the market is already integrated (or, thanks to the neutral approach of this kind of vendor, it’s really easy to integrate).
- Hardware-closed: Here you will need to pay energy consultants to integrate any new source of data, which it will impact the entire platform in terms of complexity and cost.
Ideally, you would like to choose an energy software vendor from the first category. If the hardware that you’re currently working with is not available in the platform this will mean an extra cost. So be sure to ask your potential energy software provider about hardware support.
8. Do you work with open APIs?
If you choose a closed, on-premise energy management platform without possibilities of integration, new features will require extra development – probably by your energy software provider.
This doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to create your own apps, but it should raise a flag that you’re probably in for some higher costs.
The main takeaway here is that if you end up working with an open and flexible energy efficiency platform, you will be able to add value and services more easily (and cheaply) for your clients. For more details, see this article.
9. What kind of support will I get?
Don’t forget to ask what kind of support your energy management software provider offers, as well as the service level you can expect depending on the plan or license that you buy.
10. How much do you invest in R&D?
If the am&T software company you choose does not re-invest resources into evolving their product, then you need to understand that the EMS software that you are buying is the one that you will be stuck with for a long, long time.
While not necessarily a bad thing, it could cost you more if you decide you want or need new features or updates.
So don’t forget to ask what their research and development plans are, and inquire about innovation roadmaps. It’s always good to know the product vision, and whether it fits well with your business growth goals.
Did you find the printable checklist useful? Or still have doubts?