Earlier this week I attended the Edison Electric Institute’s (EEI) National Key Accounts Conference in Chicago.  The conference was a primarily a forum for key account managers of power producers and utilities to meet with some of their largest customers.  Fran Rolon, Sales Director of North American Markets at ZE, and I enjoyed meeting key account managers from a number of our clients.  We particularly appreciate the hospitality that our clients showed us throughout the conference.

This was ZE’s first time attending the EEI National Accounts Conference and it was an opportunity to learn more about the relationships between customers and utilities.  It was great to see the strong relationships that our clients had with their customers.

Fran and I also took the opportunity to speak with many power buyers from major retailers and grocers across North America in order to understand their data problems.  There were moments where we felt that we were speaking a different language then some of the power buyers.  Where they were talking about energy management systems, interval data recording and billing from utilities; we were talking about ISO data, power forward curves and weather data.

This all shifted on Tuesday when we attended a workshop titled Maximizing Enterprise Energy Management to Integrate and Execute your Energy Strategies. Panelists from JC Penney and Staples introduced the topic by presenting very clearly what their data problem is.  There was much agreement throughout the attendees  that they had great systems in particular areas, namely store level energy management and billing but had difficulty aggregating this data into a view in which strategic decisions could be made.

This data mess is similar to data issues we have seen in many other industries.  There are massive amount of data being generated but turning this data into usable information particularly at a macro level proves difficult.

We look forward to continuing our conversation with both our clients and large retailers in the coming month. We hope that we can continue to build relationships with both and determine if our flexible end-to-end data management solution can help solve their data issues.