How will big data change the world?
We outline the SusMS technology developed by the EnergyElephant's engineers to help businesses manage their sustainability footprint and reporting requirements. Step 1 is to break the task into manageable chunks and understanding where to focus. Before spending significant time on data collection and measurement, it is best to start by estimating which areas are likely to be the biggest contributors. Focusing on these areas avoids wasting time and effort on immaterial activities and helps identify the biggest reduction opportunities.
The challenges of data volume, structure and version control are all interrelated. To address these it is vital to find a comprehensive solution to centralise and optimise all sources of data.
When data is centralised then regardless of where it comes from, it can be stored in one location. This is especially important as different areas within a single organisation will have access to different data, or different views of the same data, all of which needs to be maintained.
A good example is as follows, procurement will have information on all purchased items, finance on business travel, and human resources on employee commuting. The key is collecting this data into one system, and processing it efficiently. The more this process can be automated the easier it becomes.
When it comes to the data challenges of a large scale supplier engagement program then it is best to set up an automated system that can generate feedback surveys, notify responses, and effectively capture and organise large volumes of unstructured data in real time. This involves giving context to data that is received and relating it to the environmental indicators in which the user/manager is interested.
When that data is optimised then it can be presented in easy-to-understand charts and tables to analyse and interpret the data. A transparent trail of version changes will be available and multiple users can update data without causing conflict. Data can also be stored securely in the cloud and properly backed up for disaster recovery.
Taking hold of Big Data is the first step to measuring the complex web of interdependencies between the economy, society and the environment. If you can’t measure effectively it is certainly true that you can’t manage it effectively. Leading businesses are starting to blaze a trail, dragging their suppliers behind them, and where these pioneers lead others will follow. This will help to drive the transformations needed for businesses to survive and thrive in the coming decades.