As always when we enter a new year, business and technology trends are announced of what is expected to be next, that will shape the industry, and the industry may need to get ready for. What is in the cards on the technology side ranges from digital transformation, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and 3D printing and much more. This is further influenced by world and/or market affairs that may impact the business and prompt change. While not all applicable to the commodity trading and risk management industry, let’s consider: TRENDS in 2017 that also apply to C/ETRM
In a world where the only constant is change, this certainly applies to the energy and commodities market. For market participants, ADAPTABILITY is crucial to success. Contemporary businesses succeed when they adapt to industry and marketplace shifts, and deploy the latest technology to enable making the necessary changes. It is therefore vital that C/ETRM systems be adaptable and extendable so they can evolve with the business and ensure continued usage and keeping operations up-to-date.
Recognized in past years as an important IT trend was the impact of what was called consumerization – the reorientation of products designed to focus on the end user. For 2017, the USER’S EXPERIENCE is considered a trend. When C/ETRM systems are developed using best practices in user experience design, it better recognizes how users interact with software in their daily work as they do in their private lives with intuitive screens, fast data entry, easy outputs and report-writing. It also offers flexible functionality that can be tailored as well as support deployment options like the cloud or mobile devices. Companies are no democracy but user-friendly software has a huge impact on keeping the crowd satisfied while meeting the set corporate goals: C/ETRM projects fail due to poor user adoption.
In a market that is constantly evolving, proactive INNOVATION is a recipe to stay competitive. High-configurable C/ETRM systems provide market participants the flexibility to implement new offerings and strategies, with shorter time-to-market and time-to-value. A next-generation C/ETRM system provides a user-configurable environment that allows for customizable templates, user-defined custom formula entry, and notifications for operational risk management. Together with a flexible hierarchical book structure that the user can change, it will accommodate structured deals to be easily modelled without having to bring the vendor in. The faster a new creative idea can be implemented, the more a company can differentiate from the competition and pursue new opportunities. Adaptability, as discussed above, plays a major role here as well to set the company up for future success.
With internet-connection widely available, supported by sufficient bandwidth, and more powerful smartphones, companies need to respond to the rise of a REMOTE WORKFORCE. Whether the employee is working from home or is on the go, both the company and the employee benefit from being able to access the trading & risk management systems. Modern C/ETRM systems that are web-based can easily be deployed in the cloud to provide anytime, anywhere access, while mobile accessibility provides on-the-go usability for various C/ETRM functions to not only monitor information in real time, but also to act on that information.
Real-time position information and insight, has long been a holy grail for the trading & risk management, as it involves different data sources. APPLICATION PROGRAM INTERFACEs (API) are therefore still front and centre in 2017. While front-to-back C/ETRM systems offer a true enterprise trading and risk solution, they still depend on external sources to realize Straight-Through-Processing. API web-services are playing a big part to making this possible, and are a prerequisite when considering a C/ETRM solution. Alternatively, C/ETRM vendors with modular solutions that have embedded web-services capability will be well positioned for opportunities where only a selected functional area can be replaced with a best-of-breed solution.
As we enter an era of greater economic uncertainty, it’s time for businesses to re-consider the bottom-line, and look at ways they can reduce unnecessary spending and improve productivity. The TRENDS above are just a selection but are applicable to the trading & risk management organization and the systems that support them. Transformation is for many no longer an option to build an organization that can rapidly update its operations and supporting systems. A flexible C/ETRM system will be core to not only surviving in the time of business disruption, but also allowing it to be agile, adaptable and designed to succeed in the future where change is the only constant. Pioneer Solutions is ready to accompany you in that journey.