We recently received an Ask E Source question about how to evaluate and select a demand-side management (DSM) tracking system. Many utilities don’t know what system functionality is available, how customizable the offerings are, or what to ask vendors during the selection process.
As luck would have it, E Source knows!
What resources does E Source have on DSM tracking systems?
We have several resources that members of the E Source Demand-Side Management Service can use to understand the marketplace for commercially available DSM tracking systems and how to choose the most appropriate platform to meet their needs. The E Source Directory of DSM Tracking System Vendors and Offerings identifies eight leading DSM tracking system developers and describes the functionality of each product. All of these platforms are capable of meeting utilities’ requirements and can handle highly configurable inputs for cost-effectiveness calculations, automated communications, and workflow assignments.
Selecting the most appropriate DSM tracking system requires careful consideration of internal resources, current systems, and desired functionality.
Many utilities struggle to understand their specific needs around a new system and how that system should integrate with existing efficiency programs and processes. Our 2017 report DSM Tracking Systems: How to Succeed with Selection, Implementation, and Management (available to members of the E Source Demand-Side Management Service) provides a decision framework for utilities interested in selecting and implementing a new DSM tracking system. Ultimately, selecting the most appropriate solution requires careful consideration of internal resources, current systems, and desired functionality.
Which vendors offer DSM tracking systems, and what are their products?
We’ve seen several important vendors enter the commercial marketplace in recent years. They include:
- ANB Systems eTrack+
- ESG Simplicity
- Nexant iEnergy DSM Central
- Vision DSM
How do you choose the right DSM tracking system?
For our recent report, we interviewed more than a dozen utilities and leading system developers. While we found that most utilities track and report on their energy-efficiency programs in slightly different ways, there are some common challenges utilities face in selecting and implementing a DSM tracking system. Here are some best practices to follow as you go through the selection and implementation process.
Identify functional specifications and systems integrations early. Integrating a DSM tracking system with existing electronic systems was customers’ most common and widespread challenge. Before you choose a platform, you should determine how a new tracking system will function within your existing efficiency programs and processes, as well as how it will integrate with other electronic systems.
Before you choose a new DSM tracking system, work with your IT department to secure resources, promote effective communication, and identify technical barriers.
Set clear data management expectations with program implementers. Several utilities highlighted challenges in working with program implementers, such as ensuring that third-party data are secure, compatible, and mapped correctly while providing safe and efficient upload options for program-related information. Be sure to communicate clearly with vendors, provide consistent management, and set firm but realistic schedules.
Secure organizational buy-in from key decision-makers. Without the necessary buy-in from key decision-makers and executives, implementing a new DSM tracking system can be next to impossible. Make sure you get organizationwide commitment to the project and that you manage change effectively throughout the selection and implementation of a new tracking system.
Engage IT staff early and often. IT departments often have the final say on how to integrate a new DSM tracking system with existing utility systems. Before you choose a new DSM tracking system, work with your IT department to secure resources, promote effective communication, and identify technical barriers.