CTRM/CM as an Architecture – An Approach to A 20-year old Conundrum

CTRM as an Architecture

CTRM/CM as an Architecture – An Approach to A 20-year old Conundrum

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Wholesale commodity trading and risk management can encompass any number of business processes and strategies, from brokered trades in which the buyer purchases some quantity of commodity and then immediately resells it at the same point for (hopefully) a profit – to multi-commodity transactions involving global supply chains, transformations, and complex financial hedging strategies. Vendor provided software to service this wide-ranging market, commonly known as Commodity Trading and Risk Management or CTRM software, will similarly vary in possible functional coverage, with some CTRM solutions addressing specific functional components (such as deal capture or risk analysis for a specific commodity), while others will attempt to model and provide wide-ranging functional coverage for all possible commodity classes and the unique physical operations associated with each and every possible combination in between.

Given this, the Commodity Trading and Risk Management (CTRM) software category is very difficult to define except in the broadest of terms. When the term “CTRM” was first coined, it was essentially used to expand the breadth of the software category known as Energy Trading and Risk Management (ETRM). Both terms broadly mean the same thing, with ETRM reflecting software solutions that address the capture, position management and accounting for any wholesale energy trade; and CTRM reflecting a wider reach (including energy in some cases) and encompassing other commodity categories including ags, softs, and metals. In the last few years, CTRM has been increasingly regarded as a component of an even larger software category called Commodity Management (CM), further muddying the classification of the types of software that address the needs of the wholesale commodity marketplace. Commodity Management solutions are most commonly utilized in the mid- and downstream commodity markets, including food processing and packaging companies, agricultural merchants, and manufacturers. Additionally, there are a number of terms used to describe different aspects of Commodity Management such as ‘ERP for Commodities’.

Latest Publications

2016 – 2021 CTRM Market Outlook

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Commodity Technology Advisory LLC (ComTech), the leading analyst firm covering commodity trading and risk management (CTRM) technology markets, has recently completed its biannual in-depth review of the CTRM software market space in order to compile an estimate of the size of the global CTRM technology market and prepare an outlook for growth across the various component submarkets that comprise it.

Readers of this report should be aware that in the development of this data, as in past years, we must delineate boundaries for the companies and applications reflected in the scope of the analysis.

Purchase the full version 2016 – 2021 CTRM Market Outlook

Risk Monitoring & Management Trends in Commodities

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Commodity producers, traders, and industrial consumers are all facing a barrage of risks such as price exposure and cyber vulnerability, as well as legal, credit, operational and market risks. The risks associated with buying, selling, and moving commodities only seem to be increasing exponentially with greater regulatory oversight and a broadening of supply chain operational issues like traceability. Many of these risks can be business killers – the actions of rogue traders or the impact of counterparty business failures, for example – and lead to fatal damage such as an inability to access capital or damage to brands (via issues around sourcing commodities or producing substandard end-products). Other risks, such as ineffective price risk management, inefficient scheduling of transportation, or regulatory non-compliance can erode profitability and damage the company’s ability to execute on strategic plans and growth initiatives.

Of course, often where there is risk, there is also an opportunity to profit - but only when those risks are recognized, effectively managed, and properly mitigated. The rise in stakeholder scrutiny and regulatory oversight also means that being able to demonstrate effective risk management across the organization is certainly more important today than ever before.

Commodity Technology Advisory LLC (ComTech), with the support of study sponsor Allegro Development Corp., undertook a snapshot survey of the industry to find out more about the types of risks faced by trading companies and to gain an indication of how and where those risks were being managed.

Sourcebook 2017

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The 2017 Commodity Technology Advisory LLC (ComTech) CTRM Software Sourcebook is designed to be a useful and usable resource to help those seeking information as to the capabilities and coverage of products within the CTRM software category. It is a starting point in the product selection process - a mid-level guide to allow the reader to develop a long list of vendors that have high potential capabilities in terms of functional and commodity coverage meet the specific needs of CTRM market participants.

It is NOT intended to be a replacement for a formal selection process - CTRM software is simply too complex to be selected properly without utilizing a programmatic selection process.

Our intention in developing the CTRM Sourcebook is to inform the reader of the wide universe of vendors and products, and allow companies seeking a new system to compile a list of vendors that may include some that might not have otherwise been considered, or that they may not have even previously been aware of.

Trends in Technology

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ComTechAdvisory: What is Contigo seeing in terms of uptake of the ETRM in cloud and what are the benefits of such an approach?

Adrian Bullock: We are seeing strong interest in implementing in the cloud from both small and bigger players. Over 80% of our contracts signed in the last 18 months are implemented in the cloud, we have also migrated a number of our deployed clients to the cloud in the last year.

ComTechAdvisory: What does Contigo see as the main pros and cons of a single tenanted versus multi tenanted approach for ETRM software?

Adrian Bullock: The flexibility we can offer our clients with a single tenanted model greatly outweighs the operational advantages of a multi tenanted architecture. Using a shared infrastructure with a high level of automation of releases and upgrades gives us many of the advantages of a multi tenanted architecture whilst still maintaining the ability to have a high level of customization for each of our clients and ensuring data segregation. We have never had an actual or potential client insist on a multi tenanted model.