Supplier inconsistency needn’t be a problem with matrix file processing
I like spreadsheets. And in my career working as an analyst, I became familiar with the highs and lows of working with thousands of cells of data. Cells which are magically glued together with a layer of logic, yet inevitably create havoc at least three times each day when one too many vlookup functions becomes just that bit too much for your ageing workstation.
Spreadsheets by their very nature don’t have to be complicated. They allow even fledgling users to perform basic calculations in real-time, manipulate data and solve problems that would otherwise require a deep knowledge of coding and a great deal of time and patience.
But not all spreadsheets are created equal. Just like the “numbers game” of Countdown fame, there is almost always more than one way to solve a problem. In a similar fashion, the parsing and calculation of data is multi-faceted. Give ten analysts a problem to solve, a copy of Excel and a fair wind, and you can guarantee that every solution will look and function quite differently. They’re all aiming for the same result, sure, but there’s more than a few ways to skin a cat.
SME energy procurement is a classic example of this phenomenon.
Suppliers provide matrix (or ‘flat’) files, updated regularly in line with market fluctuation, allowing brokers to correctly price for business electricity and gas tenders. All energy suppliers start off with the same objective; to provide a comprehensive pricing book. For a moment, we will overlook the fact that accuracy and consistency within a supplier varies quite frequently. More importantly to an open market reliant on third party brokers, consistency between energy suppliers is non existent altogether.
Suppliers aren’t trying to make pricing complicated; in fact that approach would be considerably detrimental to their business models. But slight variations in pricing methodology and analytical approach has resulted in a plethora of wildly different formats, complexities and definitions. In trying to provide an easy pricing mechanism, energy suppliers can be defined by the brainpower needed to decipher their matrix files – leading to a reluctance by some brokers to quote for all suppliers.
What a truly unbiased industry needs is consistency. Consistency in pricing output, consistency in usability. Suppliers are improving, but the process is slow. And as one supplier adopts a better pricing structure, another moves further away from simplicity.
At UtilityClick, we deal with pricing files every day. Our customers need never suffer the anguish of complex formulae, product name headaches and consumption bandings. No more do they need to deal with contract renewal date lookups, variations in regional definitions and standing charge types.
The UtilityClick platform does it for you. We process and validate matrix files, and our system does the rest. A multi-site portfolio takes seconds to quote for. It accesses the right prices, from all suppliers, all products, and it does it instantly.
In the time it has taken you to read this article, you could have refreshed your entire portfolio. Harness the power of the cloud, and the power of UtilityClick for your business.
Ask us for a demo, and never price with a matrix file ever, ever again.