If you’re an owner or operator of renewable energy assets, knowing the right time to invest in enterprise class software solutions can make or break the future success of your asset portfolio.
These days, most renewable energy assets are managed using ‘conventional tools’ like excel, outlook, email and phone conversations. These platforms, although being essentially unlinked and independent of one another, can be an effective and sufficient way to manage renewable energy assets. When a complication arises, however, a number of shortcomings in this system can be felt by companies - often when it’s too late.
One of the most common questions we get at 3megawatt is: “When is it the right time to implement a software solution to take care of all areas of your asset portfolio?” The short answer is: “before it’s too late!” As vague as this sounds, there are a number of ways to avoid reaching a ‘disaster’ point that could impact on your asset management results.
So, what do we mean by disaster striking? Well we could go on forever about the ways in which complications arise in the asset management space, but for now we will provide you with a few examples of what unwanted complications or even disaster can look like.
- Staff Turnover
Losing a staff member who is closely involved in the asset management side of the business can create serious issues for a business, particularly as assets management processes must be continuously maintained and monitored. If, for example, the analyst who was reporting all of the information on the performance of a particular energy plant has left the company, a lack of integrated software can lead to a very difficult transition of duties to the incoming replacement employee.
Simple excel spreadsheets allow for a wide variety of formats and structures, making one person’s logic seem like a foreign language to another. Expensive resources will be required to amend a situation like this, ones that many companies do not have, both in financial and time related ways.
- Unmonitored Essential Company Processes
There are many extremely important requirements for a company to meet in order to manage assets smoothly and protect them against potential harm within the market. A robust and up-to-date insurance policy may seem like an obvious step to take, but you would be surprised the number of companies who fail to maintain essential overheads of their businesses. Asset management software can control even these standard processes so staff can concentrate on more important and strategic parts of their work.
So, now that we’ve identified potential complications to avoid when managing your solar assets, how do you know if asset management software is right for you, and if so when is the right time to invest? It depends on the following factors:
Firstly, if you’re just managing two or three assets, there’s probably no point in getting enterprise class software. Small numbers of assets with straightforward requirements in terms of investor expectations are able to being fairly easily managed with the ‘conventional tools’ mentioned earlier. The moment when a software management system becomes essential is when requirements relating to your assets become more complex and the size of your portfolio increases significantly. So the first factor to consider is your portfolio size. This brings us to the second point to consider - complexity
Complexity in asset management arises when you have anything from multiple assets, assets in multiple countries, professional investors who set a high bar when it comes to reporting requirements or bank debt with a lot of compliance obligations. For example, there’s no point in using software to track your assets performance and compliance if all your bank asks of you is to catch up for coffee once a year to check if you’re simply doing well. There is definitely reason to consider software solutions if your auditors are asking you to sign off a whole list of compliance to positive and negative covenants of all of your loans. If this is already the case, then you have already passed the point of needing a software solution. It’s never too late, so ask us some questions today!
3. Company Structure
The final important question to ask yourself is, what does your asset management business look like? If you have many different teams in many different countries, or a lot of external vendors, such as multiple O&M providers that you want to keep tabs on, software management solutions will be worth their weight in gold in terms of the efficiency delivered to your company. If your company has a number of stakeholders to manage, you will want to track progress and work orders on one single platform. This will save you time and money as well as producing positive relationships with all of your business partners.
All in all, the most important thing to keep in mind when considering the points mentioned above is what outcomes you want from your asset management process. Pressures on asset management margins are often increasing for a variety of reasons.
Asset managers can often be faced with sudden reductions in asset management budgets, while still being required to deliver the same results. Finding a solution that solves efficiency while accommodating a tighter budget is vital, and it comes in the form of streamlined software programs that manage everything on one platform.
So, if any of this information has panicked you, not to worry, it’s never too late. A regular and detailed analysis of your company’s structure, processes and staff performance is a vital tool in knowing what you require in terms of asset management software. Keep your finger on the pulse, ask us some questions and you’ll be on your way to a streamlined and efficient solution that suits your business.