XSdetect and its compact sibling XSD Nano are affordable Excel-based tools that provide all the basic functionality of regression analysis, cusum charting and the overspend league table that I have covered at length in this series. They have been the mainstay of my monitoring and targeting services for many years. They can be used by consultants, project by project, for such tasks as detecting anomalies prior to physical surveys, establishing performance targets, and verifying energy savings; and they are also used by end users for routine energy management, particularly exception reporting and diagnosing excess consumption.
The two products have slightly different architectures but both can accept data as manual input, copy-and-paste, or any of the many other ways that Excel can be linked to external applications. I’ve even had assignments where XSdetect has been connected to, and deployed alongside, mainstream M&T products which lack basic forensic capability. The XSdetect scheme underpins the turnkey packages of M&T training and mentoring that we offer to small consultancies and end users respectively.
On a historical note: XSdetect’s origins go back to the dawn of the personal computer in the mid-1980s when, as an early adopter of PCs for energy management, I wrote a book on the subject and set up as an energy consultant specialising in computer training. One of my early clients asked for help computerising his manual M&T scheme including adding cusum analysis which, in a manual environment, had not really been practicable. Avoiding the temptation to build a huge monolithic spreadsheet, I designed a scheme in which all the client’s data were held in external files and imported on demand. This made it possible to upgrade the software and fix bugs without driving to site to laboriously edit a file that was too big to send on floppy disc through the post (no internet at that time). I could just send the new version. Better still, the user could extend the scheme’s coverage himself, and from my point of view the scheme could be easily deployed on new assignments for other clients.
What might have been a one-off system became a generic product, and as it was a scheme for detecting excess consumption, I called it ‘XSdetect’. Readers of a certain age will understand the preference for an eight-character name.