The Era of ETRM in the Cloud

The Era of ETRM in the Cloud

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Commodity Technology Advisory (ComTech) has been tracking the rise of ETRM solutions delivered in the cloud over many years. While the potential benefits and cost savings associated with ETRM in the cloud have always appeared to be robust, uptake across the industry has proven to be quite slow until relatively recently. Although many other industries migrated to the cost efficiencies of the cloud, the energy industry lagged behind. The key concern quoted by the industry was usually data security, despite companies often having back-up and recovery procedures in place that result in trade and position data being stored off-site. Then, commodity prices collapsed generally, led by energy, and costs began to rise inexorably as new regulations progressively came into force. Margins were squeezed and structural changes have occurred across the industry so that profitable trades are a good deal harder to find.

While ETRM and other IT initiatives were put on hold or scaled back to reduce costs, rapid market changes necessitated ETRM functional changes – compelling energy companies to seek more cost effective ways to procure the right ETRM platform. As their ETRM and related solutions have quickly become outdated, these systems are effectively deadweight - holding those businesses back from responding to change and streamlining business processes. In this environment, ETRM in the cloud has become a popular alternative to “traditional” on-premises software given its low cost of entry, potential lower total cost of ownership and promise of cheaper maintenance and upgrades. Confirming this trend, a recent survey conducted by ComTech looking at trends in a lower energy price environment found that around 30% of surveyed European energy traders had an increased urgency to upgrade or replace their current ETRM, and that almost 50% would consider ETRM in the cloud as a way forward.

Latest Publications

New Business Models and Consumer Focused Digital Transformations

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ComTech visits with Amir Soufizadeh, Head of Commodities & Utilities Practice at BJSS. Founded in 1993, BJSS operates across the UK and USA, providing consultancy and services for the delivery of enterprise-scale IT solutions. The company’s clients include some of the world’s largest organisations including investment and retail banks, government departments, retailers and commodity traders.

ComTechAdvisory: How is business for BJSS at the moment and what is driving it?

Amir Soufizadeh: (AS) Business is great! BJSS has grown organically since 1993 but last 12 months have been extremely busy, with rapid growth in each of our four industry verticals - Financial Services, Commodities & Utilities, Public Sector and Retail & Media. Digital transformation has been the key driver, led by Cloud, AI and machine learning initiatives.

Kynetix explains Distributed Ledger Technologies and its future

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ComTechAdvisory: What is Kynetix’ interest in Blockchain technologies?

Scott Riley: There are three primary drivers to Kynetix’s interest in DLT:

1. Our mission at Kynetix is to bring total trust to the commodity markets. Given the claims that DLTs are a 'trust machine' we thought we better explore the assertion. Having been at the forefront of technology in our field for over 20 years, technology is in our DNA. Blockchain or DLT technologies are currently attracting huge interest across financial and physical market players. Our experience has taught us that the best way to understand new technologies is to experiment with them and test their capabilities and functionalities; which is what we’ve been doing with our partners for the last 2 years.

2. Sentinel, our best of breed market infrastructure platform, sits between the physical economy and the financial markets. As such we need to ensure we can interface with any platform in the commodity transaction value chain. We believe DLT will revolutionise aspects of the commodities transaction value chain and therefore we need to continue leading initiatives on this topic.

3. Innovation is a constant in our industry. All our customers, including the likes of LME, ICE, SDiX all demand that we continue to offer them innovative solutions so that they can in turn offer their clients new, market leading services. We are proud of our legacy of collaboration with key clients and we always aim to deliver our clients the latest innovations to help unlock value in the physical markets for their customers.

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’.

ComTech Analyst Briefing Note – EKA Update 2017

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Eka recently announced their 2016 year end results, providing the opportunity to review the company’s progress in developing and marketing its Commodity Analytics Cloud, a new product announced in 2015. Additionally we will also review the company’s overall performance since our last full update, released in November of 2014.

For a more complete coverage of Eka, see our analyst briefing note released in July 2015 for detailed review of the company’s Commodity Analytics Cloud. Also see our ComTech Analyst Briefing Note released in November 2014, for a complete corporate overview, strategy discussion and products overview by ComTech analysts.