If Cash is King, Data is God

Money to Burn

You could be sitting on a fortune but how do you get at it?

Let us introduce you to DaaS, Data as a Service, and the potential it has to transform your business. You’ll be aware of SaaS, Software as a Service. It emerged from the realisation that businesses didn’t need the massive infrastructure that powers today’s knowledge economy but the output from it.

In the same way SaaS allowed firms to use computing on a grand scale, DaaS will enable and empower you to do three simple but crucial things:

  1. curate your data & keep it in one place
  2. keep it current – which is critical
  3. use it to make money saving or money creating decisions

From our experience, we know that firms fall into two categories; those that don’t have data or those that have it but the data is fragmented, partial, or in silos and as a result is unusable.

Data = Cash – so why are you wasting it?

Think of data as cash, we do. You wouldn’t leave piles of cash locked up in till draws or worse, not know where it was. But if you have utility data locked up in your Building Management System (BMS) and in different supplier accounts, that’s what you are doing. So how can you use it to drive down costs or emissions? (Answer: You can’t)

Just like cash needs to go into your bank account so that it is visible and can be used or redeployed as you need, so data needs to be normalised, curated and stored in one place. One place is important and non-negotiable. Two places is 100% too many if you want to use your data as a valuable resource.

The reason why is simple but often overlooked. Data isn’t a static thing that once you’ve sorted remains in top quality. It degrades over time because of numerous things:

  • buildings are reconfigured
  • suppliers change
  • reporting formats change
  • the estate gains or loses buildings

Any changes have to be reflected in the data that you are storing or the data no longer represents the true situation and it becomes unreliable. If you fail to do this, you’ll end up making decisions based on bad data, or you’ll suddenly need to find information only to discover the data is bad, which puts all downstream decision making on hold. The most frequent reason we hear for not doing something that all agree should be done is that, ‘The data is rubbish, there’s no point doing anything until we get that sorted.’

Which is why DaaS is much more than just storage. It’s the constant checking of data integrity and consistent flagging of any anomaly that suddenly presents itself so that it can be checked and corrected where need be, to ensure that the knowledge derived from it is always good. This must be an ‘always-on’ activity. Letting data quality go unchecked for even a month and then attempting to correct it in one fell swoop is unworkable, just as allowing the accounts to go unchecked for that period would be. DaaS is a 24/7 process that needs a piece of technology to automate it or the labour hours it swallows will wipe out the benefit (and probably the people too).

Make DaaS work for you – Get your systems providing usable data

Here’s our simple checklist to do this.

Step 1: Get good data – we’re talking about energy and utility data here. That means data loggers from your fiscal meter or direct from your supplier. Maybe data loggers on sub meters if you have them and a data feed from your BMS, not exhaustive, maybe many more sources.

Step 2: Normalise it and get it into one place. Get the data into a format where it can be compared from all sources and then keep it on a platform that can automatically upload these disparate streams, add others as and when they come along and keep them current. It’s a platform and a bit of technology you’ll need so that keeping your data all joined up becomes a largely work free and automated task.

Step 3: Get yourself a good DaaS contract. Do this and your now good data stays that way.

Step 4: Turn data into information and information into knowledge. Think tomatoes. Data would tell you how many tomatoes you had and give you a product code. A PLU. Information would tell you how many you need per serving and that tomatoes are actually a fruit not a vegetable. Knowledge would ensure that even though you knew tomatoes were a fruit you didn’t serve them with custard! Happy tomato customers. To do this you need an automated analytics tool that takes your data and turns it into information and knowledge and keeps it there. That’s a piece of AI computing called EMMA AI from Optimal Monitoring. Only AI can transform data into knowledge.

The value of good data cannot be overstated. Look at the biggest companies in the world right now and what their stock in trade is, Alphabet (Google) – data; Meta (facebook) – data; Netflix – data; Uber – data; Airbnb – data.

In fact, Google’s advertising algorithm that they found more or less by accident was referred to at the outset as ‘digital exhaust’. Data they were dumping out the back of the search engine which suddenly, someone saw the value in. Lightbulb moment. Don’t let your energy and utility data become digital exhaust. The new frontier for any knowledge and information-based organisation is data.

At Optimal Monitoring we’ve been helping our clients get on top of their data for 20 years and now have a cutting edge Artificial Intelligence tool (EMMA AI) to make the process easier and more valuable.

Click here for our FREE guide on how to get your energy and utility data into tip top shape and keep it there without any capital investment or increased headcount.