The Power of Excel Spreadsheets in Energy Retail
In every business, strategic planning is essential and required to collect information which leads to better decision making. Many industries and businesses rely upon excel as a popular tool, including energy brokers, aggregators & suppliers to collect the sales, pricing, accounting, commission, and back office data. Yet there are some major limitations which are major obstacles to business growth
Some of the basic level or no-code customisations –
- Manual processes – consume lots of effort & time.
- Higher employee dissatisfaction – employees spend half their time inputting data, searching for data or dealing with minor calculation errors.
- No CRM automation – no alerts, notifications or automation for communication (internal and external). It serves as a poor CRM tool.
- Difficulty in collaborating across multiple teams – even with share point and tools designed to have two people in a spreadsheet at the same time – data could accidentally be deleted or changed. Depending on the operating system being used, excel can often cause unnecessary errors.
- Loss of historical data – in something as simple as a copy/paste of a file, sometimes those files get lost. Backups are not something most brokerage firms have built into their processes. This could lead to compliance, supplier auditing or customer complaint resolution issues, not to mention a risk of a large GDPR fine.
- Information in disparate places – spreadsheets aren’t designed to hold unlimited data, so often, to keep the size of files manageable, data gets stored in different places. This makes it difficult to generate valuable insights into your business.
- Lack of security – excel is not designed for security. Anyone with access to a computer can download all your information with a single stroke.
- Prone to human error – excel does not have built in processes to catch trivial human errors. Something as simple as a missed calculation sign or mis-aligned row, can damage owner/investor confidence or cause a considerable loss of opportunity that could result in material losses.
The quicker you let go of spreadsheets, the sooner you can gain more confidence and control of your business. To make the business process more user – friendly and comprehensive, energy brokers are choosing software solutions, and dramatically reducing the need for spreadsheets and offline processes that increase their headcount costs and adversely impact bottom-line profits.
Sparkplug is an end – to – end business management solution for energy brokers and consultants. It is a progressive tool that infuses automation throughout the complete energy brokering process, starting from lead-to-quote-to-contract, online energy deals / renewal management and monthly commission reconciliation processes.
Choosing the right tools for inputting, tracking, analysing and storing data always help business owners and managers to make the best choices for their business. Some brokers doubt whether they can afford energy software solutions tailored around their needs but now with the age of cloud computing, solutions are available as Software as a Service’(SAAS) with affordable & cost-effective monthly subscriptions Click here to schedule an online demo to see how Sparkplug can transform your energy broker business.