Thursday, 12 January 2012

5 Ways to Make Sense of the Energy Management Software Market

More companies are purchasing Energy Management Software (EMS) to support energy and GHG reporting to top customers and investors and to reduce energy costs. The market for EMS products is tremendously varied and confusing. By prioritizing their needs against five common use cases, corporate managers can avoid the bewilderment caused when confronted with the hundreds of EMS offerings available today.

We define an EMS as a database of energy use and cost data that helps companies track and reduce energy use. Data can be historical -- like that obtained from utility bills -- or real-time from physical monitors for a single energy load, single facility or multiple sites. An EMS can be a stand-alone product or a module of an operations, maintenance, sustainability, or environmental suite of products.

A Confusing EMS Market

As part of an upcoming report titled A Corporate Buyer's Guide to Energy Management System - A Guide to Develop a Short List of Vendors, our research confirmed that corporate managers are experiencing significant confusion about the differences among the over 100 EMS offerings (here is the full list).

There are many reasons for this problem. The EMS category is a largely amorphous product space in which vendor offerings widely differ. Product approaches vary from software-only to hardware-only to hybrid software and hardware products; pricing and business models differ in shared savings, to software subscription, to blended models; and the breadth of solutions fluctuates between energy tracking-centric to control-centric to maintenance-centric.

Even more frustrating, terms like EMS, enterprise energy management energy intelligence, intelligent buildings and many others are defined differently and even used interchangeably. Moreover, vendors' strengths vary by industry (such as retailing or manufacturing) and by facility type, where the top underlying energy loads differ greatly.

Adding to the confusion are the blurring lines between traditional vendor offerings. EHS vendors now offer carbon and energy management modules, and firms that started as carbon specialists have morphed into EMS providers. Utility bill management vendors added carbon offerings, while demand response providers now sell enterprise-wide energy management software suites, and Building Management Systems (BMS) providers are extending their offerings with more robust EMS capabilities.
Not surprisingly, all this leads to a very perplexing, kaleidoscope-like EMS vendor market.

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