The most exciting thing about technology is the difference it can make.
It is coming up quickly to a year since we founded UtilityClick, and as we look to the exciting outlook for year 2, it’s a good time to reflect on what I’ve learned as a new entrant into the bustling world of energy procurement.
With the availability of technology and the seemingly endless diversity of the modern day entrepreneur, the overriding assumption coming into a new industry such as the utilities sector is an expectation that software and tech will be in abundance. Now, we knew a gap in the market existed for cloud software in energy, but perhaps then most surprising thing I’ve learned this year is just how much of a glaring hole there is.
Perhaps ironically, the electricity powering the world’s data centres, possibly even those hosting some of our own software, is still largely purchased through archaic technology and software which is far from fit-for-purpose for the brokers working their socks off to make their money.
No, the challenge for us as a startup in the world of utilities has not been a lack of demand for new software, but quite the opposite. Brokers know what they want; and this is amplified by the general knowledge that solutions exist in other industries – so why don’t they exist in energy? Introduce the first part of a solution that automates and manages the procurement process and the excitement on the faces of long-suffering energy consultants and administrators is almost blinding.
I have written before about the sheer volume of ideas and feature requests our customers shower upon us on a daily basis. Dreaming of simple tools to improve a complicated process, brokers are full of innovative thoughts which inspire the development of our growing cloud solution.
This week we launched a step change improvement in our flagship Procure CRM product; now including as standard Activities management, detailed portfolio tools and of course multi-site pricing. Look back a year and many of the exciting tools we now provide to the market were sketches on paper and wireframe depictions.
One set of those wireframes has materialised through the needs of our customer service into our Analytics Product which is now almost complete; and I spent a good portion of the evening tapping away through our latest code and sitting in near bewilderment watching charts pop out of the web page in our testing environment.
This industry deserves better software, more innovative solutions and quite frankly needs to catch up with other sectors. We are doing our best to help it along, and we cannot wait to see what we can do in the next 12 months.