21 Feb 2011 03:02:46
Beyond energy management by spreadsheet
The average organization does not realize that its energy use poses a threat to its very existence. This powerful concept can impact spend considerably and warrants further analysis. Most organizations treat their use of energy as a necessary evil as merely the cost of doing business. They look at energy usage as a pure liability and pay little regard to related efficiencies.
Energy represents almost one third of a company's entire operating costs and, according to the Department of Energy, these costs are projected to keep rising by approximately 30% per year, ad infinitum. So there is a clear benefit to looking at energy data and finding areas for improved efficiency.
"Significant and difficult business decisions must be made based on the highest quality and most substantial data available. Modern-day alternatives to the spreadsheet must be considered as a consequence."
Many of the representative threats are socioeconomic or political and companies believe they are beyond their control. On the contrary, aspects of energy management are certainly controllable and to reduce costs companies should certainly place energy analysis as a top priority.
One of the major drawbacks with spreadsheets is the data output, which presents forecasts or results without revealing coherence. In other words, you can only see the numbers, not the functions that produced them. To find correlations and rank importance, one must manually dig into the worksheet and its interrelated functions, which is both difficult and time-consuming especially if you are removed from the actual data input stage.
You could say that the result is like a mirage, with respect to the actual concept itself. With spreadsheet data management, there is the danger that one could concentrate on the numbers themselves without a fundamental understanding of the relationships between projections and business decisions.