Defining Software of Added Value
Energy and Facility Intelligence
Enterscape, a leading provider of industrial utility monitoring and consulting services aimed at helping businesses save millions on energy costs, approached igNew because they needed a better way to onboard new clients and felt that could be accomplished with improved software. As a team, we developed a software specification that outlined Phase I of a multi-phase software rebuild, that would drive value for their customers. The document provided clear vision on what should be built, what it would cost, and when would it be delivered.
EnterScape came to us because they needed a quicker and more seamless way to onboard new clients. They already had software, but it did not provide clients with an easy way to get started or provide immediate value from day one.
EnterScape is a successful energy monitoring firm that uses both advanced proprietary data management software integrated with onsite industrial monitoring devices that are installed, maintained, and managed by EnterScape. The company uses the data collected onsite to help consult and advise their clients how to reduce utility costs, reduce carbon emissions, and run a more profitable business.
For a new client to connect to EnterScape’s proprietary software there was an initial upfront cost and a timeline that could take 2-3 months. While there was always a value-add for the client, this process was a hurdle for both EnterScape and the new client. EnterScape recognized that minimizing these barriers to entry could be a strong facilitator for growth of their company and improved service.
At the time of the initial engagement, EnterScape had already been working with a third party provider that could provide utility data without the onsite installation of any equipment. Working with EnterScape, we discussed how we could use this data to provide an immediate starting point for clients to drive value.
After spending several weeks together analyzing and discussing both what their customers valued and what was available via the initial easy-to grab data from the third party provider, a spec. was developed that outlined both what would be built and the key goals to be accomplished.
Fast forward to after the spec was developed, EnterScape engaged igNew to fully develop the product. We built the system as promised, on-time, and within budget. Currently EnterScape is successfully using the software as their new entry point to onboard new clients.
Discovery & Design
During the discovery process, we learned that potential customers of EnterScape could have many varying needs but a commonality between all was the desire to track and report on all of their disparate utility accounts in a central location.
This would be a huge value add as typical customers of EnterScape would oftentimes have 10-20 different utility accounts, each of which they would receive paper bills for, at varying intervals. Even just to say, “What did I spend on electric last month?” was extremely difficult. This was even before you could say “How did my expenditures last year compare to this year”?
Digging into EnterScape’s third party provider of utility bills was the next step. We spent time understanding what their data could offer and what were its limitations. We also analyzed if it was possible to set up automated integration so we could better determine how much we could reduce EnterScape’s time to onboard new clients.
Upon completion of our analysis, we were able to develop a specification that outlined a solution that would both meet EnterScape’s goals of reducing their onboarding time significantly while providing great value for their clients. In addition we delivered an accurate cost estimate.
After the design specification and estimate was developed, EnterScape was able to confidently weigh the cost of the proposed solution against the goals and budget of their business and use the information to make a substantially more informed decision as whether to move forward with the project.
In the end, they decided to go forward and selected igNew to do the work.
During development, a key hurdle was integrating the utility data from the third party provider with the rest of the app and devising a signup process that allowed customers to immediately “get in” and start playing with data.
Because the third party provider of utility data needed 3-5 days to sync up utility data with the application, a challenge was to “dummy up” some data for users who had signed up through the trial to play with while they waited for their actual data. To do so, we had to map realistic data on an ongoing basis so users could play with the data and watch it change over time as if it were their own.
In addition to mapping data and coming up with reports, the app called for integration with weather data so users could see how changing weather conditions affected their bills. To conquer this challenge, we hooked into another third party provider that gave us daily weather reports across the relevant client locations.
Other functionality developed was the ability for users to create goals on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis, the ability to view detailed expenditure reports, the ability to invite other users, and also an admin section for employees of EnterScape where they could log in as their clients to address customer support issues.
Lastly, the application needed to be accessible anywhere and work well on all forms of devices including tablets and smartphones. Special care was made to optimize the solution for all screen sizes.
After releasing the product towards the middle of 2015, EnterScape has been able to onboard new clients in a fraction of time and with virtually no upfront cost. Today, EnterScape is working with some of the new clients to gather feedback and determine the next steps. igNew remains a trusted advisor and software partner.