5. Does the Ctrm-Etrm software platform meet all of your requirements. This perhaps could be argued as the most important of the ten. I suppose I did not make this #1 for several reasons; yes, this is important, however, there is often too much of an emphasis placed on this and not enough on how the gaps are going to be closed. Why is this, because traditionally this is where the big bucks are spent because hard coded software takes coding to close gaps and that is an expensive and risky proposition.
If you find an off-the-shelf system that meets 80% of your needs your lucky and depending on the complexity of your business you may be lucky to get 60%. So why is that, well one major factor is the fact that everyone in the commodity trading business looks at the business differently and manages it differently. The more important question that should be ascertained is, “how easy is it for the C-Etrm system to rapidly close the gaps.” Will it take allot of customization and consulting to meet your needs. Suggestion, look for newer technologies that are designed to rapidly meet your requirements without the need for coding. These easily configurable technologies are template-based and formula-driven and architected to rapidly meet unique business requirements. If customization is needed seek a fixed price for the implementation to help lower the delivery risk.
6. Are you just another number to the vendor- Unfortunately, rapid growth for many Etrm vendors has lead to many clients feeling lost and left out in the cold when it comes to delivery satisfaction. Often vendors install, get the basics up and running, and move on to the next client leaving many customers feeling burned. Suggestion look for smaller vendors that are hungry and will bend over backwards to ensure you are happy with the results. Also seek clear expectations or requirements that can be derived and agreed upon in scoping sessions; good requirements help all understand the expectations.
7. Front-Middle and back-office Ctrm-Etrm features to consider. 1. Front-office considerations: how easy and quick is it to get deals in; look for template-driven deal capture systems that default much information so that traders just need to enter necessities like volume, counter-party and price. Also, look for easily customizable input variables (renaming, moving and hiding) capability for a more relevant & custom user experience. Middle-office Etrm features should include some basic yet useful decision support and advanced metrics like total potential exposure -TPE and potential future exposure- PFE for cash/margin management. Also, seek a vendor with embedded credit risk functionality like credit scoring and risk metrics like CVaR etc. The Back-office of many Ctrm-Etrm software systems is an afterthought; be sure that the system offers the ability settle and shadow complex structured deals and that it provides robust derivative hedge accounting capability and that it auto generates general ledger entries. Seek a work-flow driven system that has the ability to automate many Etrm processes.
8. Does the vendor support process automation. Look for a vendor that offers dynamic and/or programmable work-flow that can help manage and automate many Ctrm-Etrm process tasks. This will improve your organizations efficiency and lower your operational risk.
9. Reporting capability- Many vendors tout robust reporting capability however they rely on external tools like crystal reports etc. to do the job. Look for vendors that offer all web-based embedded report writing capability that does not require coding changes to generate reports. Template-based embedded reporting capability provides the business user with the ability to easily build reports.
10. Business intelligence -BI Ctrm-Etrm capability- Again, most vendors tout this however true business intelligence means the ability to perform Online analytical processing -OLAP or multi-dimensional analytical queries or Cube reporting capability. If you business requires 3 Dimensional analysis seek a vendor that offers true BI reporting and drill down reporting.
Bonus 11. A true enterprise Ctrm-Etrm software system and environmental mgmt. information system -Emis solution should offer the ability to easily configure to ever evolving business needs including regulatory requirements, business growth and/or M&A; for example the Dodd-Frank Swap Data Repository submission requirement, that will require modifications for most Etrm systems to provide this stringent reporting requirement. A true enterprise solution should not require allot of consulting to meet this need; a true enterprise solution should be easy-to-configure and it should provide and easy way to manage change without having to call the vendor for support or hire consultants to code the changes.
Also, a true enterprise Etrm solution should be able to easily consolidate disparate systems into a single version of the truth for your enterprise and it should offer more than just basic Ctrm-Etrm functionality, for instance, it should provide the ability to manage derivative hedge accounting, Renewable Energy Credit (RECs Mgmt.) and/or Emissions and Environmental mgmt and more. True enterprise Ctrm-Etrm systems should offer dynamic work-flow that will bring operational efficiencies to your enterprise, all on one, organically built (with no integration points) single database or single version of the truth! Find it hard to believe that this exists; well it does and that is what Pioneer Solutions is all about- for more information on our enterprise Ctrm-Etrm software system offering visit www.PioneerSolutionsGlobal.com and find out more on how we are changing the Ctrm-Etrm vendor space with our easy-to-configure, no coding needed, all web-based comprehensive enterprise Ctrm-Etrm software system!