Renewable energy is the fastest-growing energy sector in the United States and is often associated with innovative science and technological breakthroughs. However, when we take a look at some of the technology that’s currently in use across the sector, it’s a bit of a different story.

From established legacy software to energy-sector niche business needs, the renewable energy industry is prime for digital transformation. But how does an ERP solution actually help those in renewables? Let’s take a look at the current state of the energy industry, what technologies are currently used across the field, and how the renewables sector can benefit from implementing ERP software.

The State of Energy

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), 17% of US electricity was sourced from renewables in 2018, with hydro, wind, and biomass making up the majority of that figure. What’s more, that number is expected to rise to 24% by 2030 and continue to grow through 2050. This means a few things. First, the renewable energy field is young and full of potential. Second, organizations will need to build new infrastructure in order to meet the increase in demand. This push for renewable energy is bound to create new companies and thousands of new jobs across the country. However, without the right digital tools, renewable energy organizations could face a few problems of their own making down the road.

The Renewables Niche

Over time, ERP solutions have adapted to fit niche markets. Today, you can find an ERP tailored for any industry, helping fields like renewable energy alleviate the pressure of project management, data collection, and centralization.

Every industry has unique business challenges that set it apart from others. In the renewable energy sector, organizations tend to be very location-dependent, which makes sense if you think about it. Solar panels work best in sunny places. Wind turbines are placed where ideal conditions are met. This factor means that renewables tend to oversee vast networks of software that are technologically diverse and geographically spread out. The task of digitally connecting all of those moving parts is critical to the success of a renewable energy organization.

Another distinct aspect of the renewable energy sector is its reliance on providing good customer service. As it currently stands, renewable energy is still considered to be the alternative. That means that customers can always go back to traditional energy sources if their needs aren’t met. This puts pressure on renewable energy companies to provide an excellent customer experience at all times, whether that’s ensuring projects stay on-budget or consistently delivering services on time.

As software continues to expand into new niches, there are more opportunities for industries to access the latest technology like ERP solutions. Today, renewable energy organizations can get their hands on sophisticated platforms capable of integrating hardware, managing assets, and automating complex business processes.

The Legacy of Legacy Software

Like any emerging industry, the first organizations to make it onto the scene were the ones responsible for laying the foundation for future organizations. They chose technologies to solve their problems and developed best practices to push the industry forward. At some point, old technologies prevailed over new ones, leaving the industry tethered to outdated legacy software as its reputation for innovation continued to grow.

Today, many renewable energy organizations are missing out on the benefits of technologies that were developed within the last thirty years. ERP software is the perfect example. Renewable energy companies are missing the benefits of this kind of software tool, which allows them to connect and manage a complex network of information and equipment with ease. It can also help organizations minimize business disruption and tackle the perpetual challenges of data management, centralization, and managing project complexity.

Renewable Energy’s Most Wanted

An ERP solution can make a big difference in a niche market like renewable energy. Let’s take a look at some of the most sought-after benefits of implementing this kind of digital transformation project.

Data Management

Like many organizations in other sectors, renewable energy organizations are swimming in data. While many companies have adopted tools to help them capture this data, organizations are slower to adopt secondary software that helps them visualize, manage, and track data in real-time. The use of ERP allows organizations to execute tasks faster by getting information to data to departments and decision-makers way faster, keeping things running smoothly and on time.

Minimizing Waste

The energy sector deals with power, which is one of the most critical resources for all commercial and profitable entities in our society. That puts the burden on the renewable energy industry to limit waste as much as possible. ERP systems enable the most effective use of critical resources by minimizing wastage through proper planning management, task execution, and workflow oversight to achieve profitability. Whether you’re measuring time, money, or energy, an ERP implementation can help the renewables sector save more of its most valuable resources.

Renewable Energy and the Future

As a result of the current climate change landscape, renewable energy has reinvigorated support through both legislative and financial backing. With legislation like the Green New Deal and other global warming-focused initiatives, this industry has experienced an elevated awareness and motivation to create a successful business model, which requires data and systems infrastructure through ERP systems.

Are you in the renewable energy sector and interested in solving some of your largest business challenges? Have you already started a digital transformation project and need some advice? My team and I at Third Stage Consulting are always ready to help. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the resources on our website. You can also reach out directly if you like.

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