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Data: Get Accurate? Or Get On With It?

Two people looking at a computer togetherIn the fast-paced world of corporate energy and sustainability program management, a familiar dilemma often rears its head: the relentless pursuit of data accuracy versus the urgent need for action. As companies grapple with the complexities of navigating energy, sustainability, and ESG initiatives, the question arises: do we wait for total data completeness before taking action, or do we forge ahead despite imperfect information? 

Analysis paralysis looms large in boardrooms and conference rooms alike, as decision-makers grapple with the tension between precision and expediency. On one hand, the allure of comprehensive data beckons, promising insights that are robust and reliable. On the other hand, the ever-ticking clock of climate change and evolving disclosure requirements demand swift and decisive action. 

But here's the rub: waiting for perfection may well be the enemy of progress. The relentless pursuit of data accuracy can morph into a never-ending quest, an uphill race where the finish line remains forever out of reach. Meanwhile, opportunities for meaningful impact and compliance deadlines pass by, and the urgency of addressing pressing issues fades into the background. 

Yet, embracing action without accurate data is not without its perils. Ill-informed decisions can lead to wasted resources, missed opportunities, and unintended consequences. Without a clear understanding of their environmental footprint and ESG risks, companies risk veering off course, potentially harming both their bottom line and their reputation. 

So, where does the truth lie? Somewhere in the delicate balance between "getting accurate" and "getting on with it." The pursuit of data completeness should never end; indeed, it is a journey rather than a destination. However, waiting for perfection before acting is a luxury few can afford in today's rapidly evolving landscape. Jeff Floyd, Vice President for Global Data Operations add that, “Many companies who choose to wait for data perfection are often the last to make meaningful progress on their enterprise energy and sustainability journey.”  

Instead, companies must adopt a pragmatic approach, grounded in the principles of risk management, common sense and continuous improvement. Start with the data you have - or the data that is easily accessible - recognizing its limitations and uncertainties. Use it as a foundation for action but remain vigilant in seeking out additional insights and refining your understanding over time.  Find a data management software or services provider that can help seamlessly ingest the data you do have and partner with you on the journey towards completeness.  

In doing so, companies can navigate the treacherous waters of sustainability with confidence and agility. They can seize opportunities for innovation, mitigate risks, and drive meaningful change—all while recognizing that perfection may be elusive, but progress is within reach. 
In the end, it's not about choosing between accuracy and action; it's about finding the courage to embrace both.   Jessica Kipper, Senior Director of Product Management can empathize when the road ahead - cluttered with new regulations, investor demands, and audit probes - seems daunting. She encourages leaders on their data-collecting journey, emphasizing that “Every data point, no matter how imperfect, is a catalyst for progress.”  

So, let's get accurate, but let's also get on with it.  

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Jessica Kipper, Sr. Director Software Product Management

Jeff Floyd, Vice President Global Data Operations