Solution suite for energy sustainability.

Business Need

The client, through their energy management services offering, had accumulated a wealth of data regarding their customers’ energy needs, usage and spends. They then wanted to convert all of the data into meaningful information, insight and services in the fast emerging Sustainability practices area. For this, they wanted several secure and scalable technology solutions to streamline data collection, analyse the vast amounts of data being collected, and securely disseminate the resulting information on periodic and on-demand basis to the respective clients as well as to automate reporting of the customers’ sustainability practices and progress to various governmental and non-governmental entities providing regulatory oversight in the space. They also wanted to develop automated solutions for their customers to capture their sustainability related goals, facilitate decision making regarding short and long-term initiatives that would help achieve those goals.

Challenges

We addressed the following challenges while creating the Sustainability solution suite.

  • Tremendous disparity in business practices, scale and sophistication of operations among our client’s customer base contributing to the complexity of the required solution.
  • Vastly different energy data collection processes by customers, ranging from manual entry to automated data feeds resulting in lack of data integrity in several cases, which in turn adversely affected the quality of data analysis and output.
  • Vast complexity of each customer’s organization hierarchy and user permission set up combined with the vast amounts of data resulting in virtually infinite combinations which the analysis had to account for, thus creating user experience challenges when analysed data had to be delivered on-demand.
  • Differing capabilities supported by different scientific research institutes for providing periodic guidance data in the space of converting energy and pollutant units to equivalent carbon footprint.
  • Aggressive schedule for implementing the solution based on client’s go-to market strategy.

Our Solution

Our team analysed the functional and system requirements for the solution and came up with overall solution architecture, design approaches for the various functionality groups and developed the solution based on Microsoft Technologies. The solution delivery was creatively structured into a program with several concurrent projects deftly managed and executed in close collaboration with the client team. The key components of the solution are described below.

  • Sustainability Planning:

    This solution was created to enable our client’s customers to create and track their quantitative and qualitative sustainability goals, merge them with historic energy usage trends, create energy usage forecasts and build out scenarios that result in maximum energy and cost savings. This was implemented using Microsoft .NET platform using feature rich 3rd party UI controls.

  • Data Aggregations:

    A solution consisting of offline & continuous aggregations of usage and cost information across many dimensions (time, energy/pollutant source, user role etc.) was created to analyse and create incisive insights into the customers’ carbon footprint and to provide on-demand delivery of analysed data. The solution was built using MS SQL Server components and in line with widely accepted ETL standards & best practices.

  • Emission Factors Library:

    This solution was created to address the maintenance and upkeep of scientific data used in carbon footprint calculations, accounting for diversity of data based on geography and energy source.

  • Dashboard:

    A rich, user customizable dashboard interface was created to present the results of the data analysis. Based on their role & permission level, each user had access to standard results as well as ability to personalize their views to include most relevant information using an expansive library of widgets tailored to show energy usage, cost and other metrics information. The solution provided drag and drop functionality for organizing the widgets within the dashboard. This was created using Microsoft .NET framework with 3rd party controls.

  • API Interfaces & Bulk Uploads:

    This solution was created to streamline customers’ energy data collection and make it more reliable. This solution achieved that by providing standards based methods by which customers’ and their utility bill managers (UBMs) could interact with our client in order to provide data on a repeatable basis. Technologies used were Microsoft .NET framework and XML.

  • Integration with regulatory entities:

    This solution brought together quantitative energy & pollutant data held in the system with qualitative data provided by users as required by regulatory entities in order to automate the reporting process. This solution utilized 3rd party survey modules to capture fine grained qualitative information regarding the customers’ energy and sustainability policies & practices etc.

  • Beneficiary Match:

    The claimants are identified as beneficiaries through an internal beneficiary verification, then an internal validation process and finally through an EDI exchange capability with CMS.

  • Mandatory Insurer Reporting (MIR) Module:

    The MIR module reports eligible claims to CMS after beneficiary check. It validates the claim data and generates the outbound files to CMS in the predefined flat file format. The CMS response files are processed by our system for further upstream reconciliation with data providers.

  • Response File Generations:

    The system sends an acknowledgement file when it receives the files from data providers. It also sends specific response files for all the updates from CMS

  • TPA (Third Party Reporting Agent) Files Processing:

    The system sends the files that are to be routed to other TPA’s in the flat file format at RRE level. If there is a change in the claim’s RRE; it generates a different file to the older TPA to stop reporting those claims to CMS. In the case of claims received from other TPAs, the system creates acknowledgement files and response files based on the information from CMS.

  • Status Tracking:

    Status tracking is done to track the entire changes and the field error information of the specific claim in detail. It helps the user to easily identify the error and rectify it. The tracking also involves the logging of all inbound and outbound file exchange details.

  • User Interface:

    The user interface dashboard has links to all claim transaction activities. Authentication is made against Windows Active Directory for better security. SSO facilitates smooth and secure switching for the users from one application to another based on their access rights. An additional layer of security is provided with secured URLs. The Telerik web UI controls are also utilized to meet the complex client usability requirements.

  • Data Provider Integration:

    It is an internal facing web interface for the client’s administrator users to manage and maintain the entire data provider related information.

Technologies Used

Microsoft.NET, ASP.NET, VB.NET, Angular JS, XML, SQL Server, jQuery, Telerik Web UI Controls

Benefits

The solution enabled the client to meet its strategic goals of being a major player in the Sustainability services industry by offering elite solutions that exceeded their customers’ expectations. Listed below are the tangible benefits of our solution:

  • Built using industry leading technologies, architected to be secure and to scale along with client’s business growth.
  • Data Aggregation feature significantly enhanced user experience by providing users with most relevant information based on their role, on demand.
  • Significantly enabled our client’s customers to make Sustainability practices a key business differentiator.
  • Users can have a detailed overview and can track the entire claim life cycle.
  • Increased revenue for the client through the addition of value added solutions and services.