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Is Your Technology System Working for You or Against You?

Big data management. Security. Accuracy. Agility. Mobility. Program implementation software is a necessity to serve our clients and their customers in today’s climate. Client programs are ever-changing and -growing. Majority of customers are accustomed to paperless processes and some require it for participation. But it’s more than that.

We use software solutions to report on savings, track customer and project leads, schedule appointments, process applications, and manage the day-to-day program operations. Every implementation company these days has some sort of solution or a full suite, but not all are created equal. As the technology product manager at Franklin Energy, I provide demonstrations and have discussions with utility programs across the United States. It’s been a valuable, revealing journey. I’ve learned a lot – program pain points, what clients need to know, what customers want access to, what they aren’t getting from their software solutions.

Data You Need. How You Need It.
Probably one of the biggest ways a technology system can work against you is by not allowing you easy access to data when you need it and in the form you need it. Databases by their nature are really good at storing information. However, if you don’t have quick and flexible tools that let you create custom reports and dashboards, you are spending too much time crunching data and not enough time acting on it. Data should help influence your program, help identify measure opportunities, ways that you can influence the market. Data should work for you.

And speaking of data, it’s important that a system capture it all. Data isn’t only important when a customer or trade ally submits a project to get their check. A technology system should track opportunities, from assessment recommendations to customer touches to marketing campaigns. Having a comprehensive database allows you to extend your pipeline further into the future, make more informed program design decisions and drive down program costs. It’s surprising how many systems out there don’t combine data streams that help users connect the dots.

Access Your Customers Need. How They Want It.
Another way your system can work against you is by alienating your customers. Customers and contractors need easy access to information whether it’s the status of a rebate, the name of a qualified contractor, or easy application to your program. Your software should also help you track and manage customer satisfaction metrics. An engaged customer or contractor can rapidly turn into an advocate for or against your program. Your technology suite could be driving away hard won participants if you aren’t focused on their needs as well as program savings.

Afterthoughts Don’t Pan Out. 
I’ve also seen technology systems that are built on a piecemeal approach. Sometimes systems bolt on additions to meet the needs of a program, rather than having a comprehensive approach to program delivery. Need a CRM? We can get that. Need a field tool? We can get that too. Need them to talk to each other? We can get that if you want, but it will cost you extra. Sure all of these systems can be forced to be “compatible” but they will never be as comprehensive and efficient as a system designed and built by the same team with the same goals in mind. A system that’s built to work together makes all the difference. And a system built by energy experts as a key component of the technology development team makes it even better.

Want to know more? Click here to download our Five Fundamentals for Energy Efficiency Technology guide.

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Eric Wall
Written by Eric Wall

Technology Product Manager
Eric Wall possesses a unique balance of visionary thinking and pragmatic rationalism. This nature has made him the go-to technical guru for both his team and clients. He supports utility programs’ goals and upholds customer satisfaction by building and managing critical technologies and strategies. He is always searching for more efficient ways to streamline processes and alleviate end-user pain points. Eric holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and has earned certifications in energy management, demand side management and engineering.


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