Converting Trackers from Annual Recordkeeping to Monthly


Benefits of Converting to More Frequent Recordkeeping

As our users become familiar with Scope 5, we find that many are reconfiguring trackers from annual recordkeeping to monthly recordkeeping. This is great! It has a minor incremental cost in that you'll need to update your data more frequently, but the benefits are significant:

  • It encourages you to put a system in place that helps you stay on top of your data
  • Avoids the 'annual scramble' to try and track down all that old data once a year
  • Gives you a deeper view of how you're using resources, helping you to identify seasonal fluctuations and opportunities for efficiencies
  • Lets you see how you're progressing toward your annual targets rather than looking back at year-end only to find that you've missed them

Editing a Tracker to Support Frequent Recordkeeping

Note: If you're a Sub-Account Admin, you wil only be able to edit trackers if your Account Admin has configured the application to allow you to do so.

If you want to try more frequent recordkeeping, you'll need to edit those trackers for which you want to do so. To do this, select Tracker Pages from the sidenav while you're in the Node Navigator context. If you've done so from a leaf or facility node, you'll have the option to edit the tracker directly by clicking on the edit icon in the far right column of the tracker listing. If you've done so from a higher level in the organization tree then you'll need to actually click on the tracker name, go to the tracker page, and then click on the Edit Tracker link in the tracker description bar.

You should now find yourself in the tracker configuration form. Look for the select box labeled Recording Interval at the bottom of the Basic area of the form. Select the appropriate new recording interval and scroll down to save the form. That's it!

The Fallout

One of the pitfalls of converting from annual to monthly recordkeeping is that as soon as you save the updated tracker, you'll get a lot of complaints from the application that you're missing data (in the form of alerts at the top of the tracker page). Your historic data includes only one record for each year and the application is now expecting twelve! There are a number of ways that you can deal with this problem, described below (regardless of which approach you choose, we recommend recording what you've done in the tracker's note field or in the notes fields for individual activity records).:

Get the Actual Historic Data

The best way to address the missing records is to go back and find the actual month-by-month data and to create the missing records for each year, with the corresponding data (use batch entry to make this easier). While this is ideal, many of you will not have access to the historic fine grain data. If you don't, consider one of the following options...

Allow the Application to Automatically Create Zero Usage Records

One or more of the alerts that show up at the top of the tracker page will give you the option to resolve the missing records by generating zero-uage placeholders. This is a quick and dirty way to get the tracker back on line. But it's not the best way to do so.  In particular, it will likely result in something that looks like this:


See the big spikes at the end of each year? The spikes represent the old annual record. The other 11 months of the year have zero usage records and so the chart, appropriately, shows zero activity for the rest of the year. Besides the fact that charts look wrong, this solution confuses extrapolation algorithms and all sorts of year-on-year and year-to-date comparisons. A much better approach is described below.

Edit Historic Activity Data to Distribute the Activity More Evenly Across Each Year

This approach is a bit laborious but will produce far better results. (Of course, if you want the better results but don't have the time to do the work required, you can ask us to do so administratively). In this approach, you manually create (use the batch entry to save time here) the missing activity records for each year (If you're going from annual to monthly, you'd need to create 11 additional records for each year. If you're going, for example, to quarterly, you'll only need to create 3 additional records for each year). Take the activity (and cost if appropriate) value from the pre-existing annual record for each year and divide it by the new number of records required for the year (in going from annual to monthly, you'd divide the activity and cost in the single pre-existing record by 12). Use this value for the activity and cost fields for each of the new records created for the year. You'll also need to edit the pre-existing record to hold the same values.

This approach will eliminate those spikes and instead, will show the activity distributed evenly across prior years.

Variations on this Approach

The approach described in the previous section employs a very simplistic approach to creating the missing activity data - specifically - it's based on the assumption that activity was evenly distributed across the year. While this may be appropriate for some activity data, it's not true for many types of activity (heating for example, usually shows seasonal fluctuations). So - an alternative to simply dividing annual activity by 12 is to observe current year patterns and to distribute prior year activity across months in a similar pattern. There are various ways to do this but they are beyond the scope of this article.

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