December 2, 2015

Smart energy business decisions through analytics

Data and analytics are hot industry buzzwords. Every single company in business today could benefit from utilising the appropriate data and analyses to improve their operations and better serve their customers. What are the most important things to consider when analysing data to bring knowledge to energy business decisions?

In this blog post I will guide you through the five most important steps to the process of applying data analysis to a business case or problem.

1. Recognise the business issue. The first element when improving your business performance is recognising the most critical unresolved business issue or issues. This is the most significant and most difficult part. Solutions can emerge rapidly and easily after the business case has been recognised—if you have a technological solution or platform for gathering and storing data as well as the required analytical capabilities.

2. Define that business issuewith data. When the key business issue has been recognised, you usually discover that solving that problem requires additional information—which is precisely where data and analytics come in. Analytics can connect your data to your goal.

3. Create a strategy for gathering data. This step requires focusing on the right way to get the right data to resolve the specific issue. In other words, the objective is to extract everything relevant from the data. It is crucial to understand the business problem in as much depth as possible, which, in practise, means harvesting as much data as possible about your problem area. In the beginning, this may mean that you collect excessive data.

4. Consider your capabilities and tools. It is important to consider ways to get the most out of the data available. In other words, what kind of capabilities and tools are necessary to extract all that is needed from the available data? Not all analytic tools are suitable for solving all problems. It is important to note though that all tools must have access to the data - in many cases even the exact same data. This needs to be taken into account in your strategy.

Data - your strategic business asset

It is important to recognise that the actual data is your main asset. If you own your data, it is unnecessary to build the analytical capability inside your organisation—rather, collaboration with a suitable data mining partner may efficiently find answer to your questions.

Acquiring this capability for your own company may be a substantial and risky investment if data analytics is not at the core of your business. In all other cases it is usually safer to find a suitable partner that already has these capabilities.

In our experience, a generic model that is agile, adaptable and scalable works best, rather than a heavy, resource-intensive solution. In practise this means that your analytics platform needs to be adaptable to verifying your use cases in a quick and agile way. If a strategy, practice or tool does not initially work like it is supposed to, it is possible to correct course without having made a bad investment initially. Combining this together with an agile way of using experts, that have the capabilities to create strategies and analyse your data in order to obtain meaningful and visible results for you business, limits your own risks in improving your business performance.

Read also my previous blog post on how to get started with analytics.

Stay up-to-date

Get all the latest blogs sent you now!