Data may be the answer – but do you know the question?

Data may be the answer

“Without data you’re just another person with an opinion.”

W. Edwards Deming

You’re probably sick of hearing about just how important data is to the world of business. But sometimes these things are reinforced for a reason. In today’s world, not using the information you as a business have at your disposal can mean you’re quickly left behind. Successfully interpreting data, on the other hand, can offer everything from marginal to business-defining gains. All that said, a problem for many businesses comes way before this stage.

“We have companies of all sizes coming to us and saying ‘we have a huge amount of data, we just don’t know where to start’,” Cavin Pietzsch, E.ON’s Vice President for Energy Efficiency, says.

It’s a common problem – you know you have data that can be used to your benefit, but even at a basic level the data is in so many different places and formats, it’s hard to organise it, let alone gain insight from it.

Optimising the journey

Understanding this problem is why E.ON entered into a partnership with Sight Machine at the beginning of 2018. 

The software startup has created a digital manufacturing platform that uses artificial intelligence, machine learning and advanced analytics to give manufacturers an unprecedented ability to use data to help evaluate their productivity, quality and profitability.

“Sight Machine can structure data so you can make it available more quickly and interpret it in a way you couldn’t do before,” Pietzsch said.

It’s then you can really make an impact. To take Deming’s quote a step further, whilst without data you’re just another person with an opinion, without an opinion you’re just another person with data.

Turning insight into action

That’s where the power of creative energy comes in. It’s why it’s important to think differently. To have experts who understand energy, understand the market a business works in and who can work together closely with those in a company to analyse the data, look at pain points within the business and identify new steps to sort it.

With this approach, that can often mean finding solutions that go way beyond simply lowering energy costs. For manufacturers, for example, it can improve machine uptime through predictive maintenance. Production bottlenecks, quality issues and energy optimisations can be identified by pulling and analysing available data from across manufacturing facilities too.

“That’s why we started working with Sight Machine,” Pietzsch explains. “We wanted to give a bigger impact to a business overall. You can make your energy and your production line more efficient. Using the data you have in a smarter way can optimise the whole business process. That still means optimising your energy bill - it just means that you can be delivering a wider impact that could ultimately save several million too.”

Future thinking