Finding the right CTRM Solution for your business

Choosing the right software for your organization can be a difficult assignment, particularly in regards to CTRM software. The requirements can be different and might be as unique as the business itself. An ideal software should  meet the needs and prepare the organization to take advantage of the opportunities in the complex and ever-changing energy markets.

The solution you carry out should follow a holistic approach and has to be dynamic in nature. It should be able to engage front, middle, and back offices in requirements gathering and should provide end-to-end solutions.

Common misconceptions about CTRM software selection process and how to avoid them

Prior to getting down to the prescribed procedures, It is very important to know what has to be avoided. The following are normal misconceptions about choosing the right CTRM software that is suitable for your business model. 

Misconception #1

What worked for others might work for you as well. 

Each business and business process is unique. This is the actual reason why businesses and management spend more time on “Differentiating their strategy”. Since every business strategy  is unique, system implementation should also be different. It means a lot to maintain the attention on your requirement while assessing CTRM software.

Misconception #2

CTRM software selection is all about evaluating the technical and functional aspects of the software. 

While it is very important to select a solution that meets your technical and functional requirements. It is also critical to look at the flexibility and ease of use that places functionality in the hands of your business users. 

Any solution that that is flexible and can be used for future business requirements offers more prominent long-term value to your business or business users.

Misconception #3

Demos and very nice presentations are proof of good software. 

Generally, demos/presentations are good ways to get introduced to the software. It is when you would need to dive deeper into the evaluation process and analyze what best suits your business needs. Having a good and detailed business scenarios that covers your business is an essential for a good demo.

 

Useful hints to assist you with your software vendor evaluation and RFP Process

Tip #1

It could appear evident yet getting a clear understanding of the business, and how it makes sense to add value for the stakeholders now and in the future, and inside the organization’s related governance structures is basic for choosing the right trading and risk solution(s).

The requirements of an energy marketer that is advancing to consolidate a hedging program and a small bunch of trading methodologies are totally different from a complex trading house looking to venture into new commodities, new business sectors, outlandish instruments, or carefully empowering their trading and risk arrangement system. A tailored solution to the present companies might be rapidly growing without an insightful perspective on needs five to seven years down the line. It needs to be beneficial for your business today, but also  aligned to your business strategy ready to support the future state of your business. 

Tip #2

CTRM applications are niche in the market. Software vendors and software integrators are the ones who have an impeccable source of information about these products from their extensive offerings and experience. Before you start your selection process, you will need to spend time on the latest trends, CTRM market, Options available and so on, to ensure the potential fit for your business.

Ask your vendors “what is important?” 

You might know what is exactly important or required for your company, however, ask for this. It is very important to talk to your vendors ahead of the tender process and build up knowledge before you go for the tender process.

Tip #3

 Any software vendor typically can build and deliver the functionality more than you ask about. It is all about how the functionality is implemented in your software or your process for your future needs too. You just need to challenge your vendors. 

The manner in that you challenge your vendors is to give them tasks. For example: Describe how the functionality is implemented or define your implementation process and scope of your software in the future. Ask them for a guide/document so that you can understand the business model, and whether you can implement this in your organization.

Tip #4

Nowadays, for business and IT pioneers, the event of an extraordinary framework implementation like another ERP, CTRM, or other enterprise solution might be the rare opportunity to step back, look at the innovation, technology landscaping, and, possibly take new steps in building a new architecture. Is the IT department wanting to advance in a cloud or digital native direction in terms of application strategy?  Is the basic postmodern ERP approach that tries to use broad API-based integration among the reasons fabricated, leading tools? This kind of task can give the impulse and resources to digitalize the process. 

 We know that you or the vendors need high-level details while implementing CTRM software, but most of the times stake holders are not really ready to disclose those details. That’s where vendors try to lock the projects in the design phase to fix the design. So, once the design is fixed, you cannot make any changes because they will be building the data warehouse based on the fixed design. 

What we understood is that you’re not ready to give them all the details. Since it will change constantly – Application Management – Strategy Management & Application performance management – is about change. Along these lines, don’t go into this trap of agreeing “I locked the designing phase of the project, I locked the planning stage,” since, in such a case that you do that, they will give a change request constantly, for each time you are changing the scope.

Tip #5

It’s not just about the good demos and nice PowerPoint presentations. What you need is evidence. You will need to ask your vendors about evidence to create and show you the KPI’s and KRI’s of the application or how to create the KPI’s & KRI’s of the process. This gives a comfort that you need. Asking more and more questions to your vendors on their business cases might help you to relate your business process and build up more knowledge.

Tip #6

We think CTRM solution is not just a software or a project, it is an ongoing process. It should continue even after vendor leaves you, need the consultants to work on the application support and manage the application from multiple factors. 

The important questions that should come to your mind are “who will be managing your CTRM while or after implementing your software?” “Has the implementation team delivered you enough documentation?” Have they shared you enough knowledge, so that you are able to operate by yourself on daily basis?”. Also, you need to add these your tender documents.

A brilliant method for separating vendors is to request a POC. In the event that the software is adaptable and simple to use, it ought to be simple for the vendor to set up a POC in light of your prerequisites. Making this solicitation a piece of your merchant determination cycle will help an objective evaluation of the solutions.

Critically, it is very important to think about the traditional CTRM Software selection and procurement process and tailor them to deliver that is best lined up with your plan of action and business model, Software capabilities, technology strategy and needs. digitalization is troublesome commonly and applying to many years old selection, Procurement, and implementation techniques to these sorts of undertakings are probably not going to yield significant advancement.

Value Creed will assist you in choosing the right software, that is a best fit for your resources and capabilities.

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Reasons for Upgrading Your Endur Platform

Companies typically evaluate upgrading their ETRM software platforms when the quality or value of the product needs the adoption of new processes or technology; which requires them to adapt to markets, products, economic conditions, and business opportunities, or to comply with policies keeping them up to date on the latest software. 

Endur upgrades are essential when the company needs improved quality results around business changes, function, and technical requirements. The decision to upgrade Endur platform is influenced by various technical and business benefits.

Technical Benefits:

Business Benefits:

JVS advanced scripting language enables integration of downstream and upstream applications of any system

Previous versions are working on the servers whereas the upgraded versions of Endur operate on cloud

APM is the upgraded feature of Endur that analyses the risk exposure of position in the market

Purging of data for crucial events helps to easily maintain the DB

Supports multiple commodities Nomination and invoice generation, support for PPAs, and managing transportation and storage considerations

Provides Real-Time and Standard Reports, Configurable central workflow engine, Graphical UI

Features like Transaction security, Audit trails, Activity logs, User authentication, and Multi-step approval process help reduce the risk of data loss. The transition of the script engine to grid cluster/engine operations reinforces better performance stability

Improved Dynamic portfolios and cross-asset coverage help to evaluate prospective business opportunities

The scheduling interface for nomination creation and transport spread valuation is configured with segmented transportation

Endur Upgrade Strategies

Your upgrade strategy needs to be planned for the deployment of new Endur releases in accordance with the pre-defined goals. Whether it’s resolving a defined protocol or working on a broader variety of fixes or implementing a new release altogether, Value Creed offers solutions across all stages.

The Upgrade Process

The CUE Method – “Clean Up & Explore” 

The CUE method requires stale data Cleanup before the upgrade followed by Exploration of new features post the upgrade.

Clean Up helps to enhance the data quality, avoid blob failure, gather business requirements, and understand the processes. Exploration helps you to add functionality before & after the upgrade along with the use of JVS.

Parallel to the upgrade phases, we focus on Robust Program Management, Training Approach, and Infrastructure Assessment. 

 

This phase aims to establish governance, set objectives, and conduct various impact analyses to develop state infrastructure designs, confirm to-be processes and identify class events to be retired versus remediated

 

    • Stakeholder Assessment - Confirming user groups​ and Initiating impact & risk assessment
    • Communication Strategy - Defining baseline communication plan by stakeholders
    • Impact Assessment​ - Defining baseline processes and roles by process​, estimating the amount of change, and determining roles
    • Stakeholder Engagement​ - Involving key stakeholders in design sessions to confirm opportunities for improvement

 

This phase encompasses initiating the technical upgrade process and observing its efficiency. It runs end-to-end tests of complex transactions and remediates all issues. Additionally, it includes the creation of detailed Training documents and providing ongoing hands-on training on new functionalities

 

    • Migration - Configuration of modules, pipeline model, settlement, and Net valuation. Environment set-up and database upgrade​ followed by extension remediation
    • Validation - Validating business processes, interfaces, class events, reports, & integration and performing remediation
    • User Review Sessions​ - Engaging users in agile cycles including issues and potential solutions
    • Stakeholder Tracking ​- Review stakeholder engagement based on quantitative metrics and qualitative assessment
    • Delivery Communications - Formal communications to executives and users to engage and update
    • Training Plan & Documentation​ – Modeling, structuring, and tailoring training materials according to individual training needs. Testing training documents against business processes​ by users

 

This phase ensures that the upgraded system can run in parallel and produce similar numbers at the same time as the Production system and mimic all activities of the trade life cycle in the new system as a full test of upgraded system functionality​. During the go-live our Hyper Care team will take the lead for system support to ensure seamless adoption

 

    • Refresh & Reinforcement Training​ – Delivery of additional training as needed
    • Support Communications – 24/7 support hotline​ along with daily issues and remediation report
    • Stakeholder Assessment​ – Qualitative assessment of stakeholder change adoption ​with a remediation plan for stakeholders
    • User Acceptance Testing​ – Tracking of engagement within UAT​ and Communicating results
    • Training​ – Superuser desk guide and small group sessions​ in addition to Custom-made sessions during parallel period

Ready to Explore Upgrading Your CTRM?

Leverage a partner with best-in-class functional and technical expertise to manage and deploy your upgrade on time and on budget.

Moving Your CTRM Database from On-Prem Oracle to Cloud-based SQL Server

Run Smart CTRM/ETRM platform managed services enable application managers to be more proactive in resolving reporting and processing errors in advance of your daily start. In this post, we examine the dominance of Oracle, while unlocking Microsoft SQL Server’s comparable functionality, cost savings, and scalability achieved by moving your on-premise solution to the cloud.  

The truth is – for much of the last decade – Microsoft’s SQL Server was viewed as less expensive and less sophisticated than Oracle. Since then, however, MS SQL Server has closed the gaps in features and power, while maintaining its cost leadership position and delivering distinct advantages in terms of ease of use and uptime. 

Reasons to Move Your CTRM Platform Database to SQL on Azure

Cost

Value Creed has helped many clients make this conversion and has found significant initial and ongoing cost savings. Microsoft’s unit license cost is about 15 percent of Oracle’s. In addition, real-time-bidding costs with SQL average $10,000 less per year. In total, a typical on-premise CTRM system that costs $75,000 the first year running on Oracle would cost only about $15,000 on Microsoft SQL on the Azure cloud.

Compatibility

The ubiquitous Microsoft workflow – the de facto industry standard – also makes it easier for technicians to troubleshoot, diagnose, and debug communications problems between the application and the database. Basing SQL Server in Azure brings Microsoft’s technical expertise to bear, making it easier to find support. As a third-party, Java-driven product, Oracle’s diagnostic and repair process can be less straightforward.

Compatibility

The most widely-used CTRM platforms were developed using Microsoft technology, so you can be sure it will not only work with Windows, it has been optimized to perform at its best using the Microsoft interface.

User Experience

Because Oracle originally developed more features and capabilities it necessarily required additional complexity. That makes it more difficult for many people to use. On the other hand, most users are familiar with Microsoft interfaces, making SQL Server more intuitive.

Oracle to SQL Database Conversion with Value Creed 

Value Creed’s Run Smart™ CTRM managed services deliver optimal performance based on your objectives, data environment, and the number of users. Backed by Value Creed’s expertise, Run Smart™ streamlines SQL database conversions and helps commodities traders reap the cost-savings and efficiencies inherent in a cloud-platform database.

Our database conversions and data migration from Oracle on-premise to SQL on Azure incorporates elegant back-end integrations with a total workflow plan that saves you money both during the SQL conversion and throughout the life of the project. We implement a multi-step process that coordinates efforts throughout your organization. 

Take Your CTRM Platform to the Cloud 

Value Creed’s dedicated professionals and proven Run Smart™ approach gives you the confidence that your switch to SQL Server will be completed professionally and that the system will operate flawlessly on the cloud. We start with a holistic diagnosis of your current database situation, including the conceptualization of how your organization’s needs should be met through the new system. 

From there, that analysis will inform how we convert schema, scripts, and applications so they integrate seamlessly with the cloud-based SQL Server. Once data is migrated, we perform iterative testing, tuning, and customization to guarantee your database and server are fully functional from day one.  

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and Cloud Migration

#1 Overcoming Data Integration Breakdowns For Seamless Daily Starts

Every CTRM/ETRM platform is responsible for aggregating prices, tracking positions, and creating reports for decision-making.  But spending half a day or more searching over potentially failed processes like:

Value Creed helps you leverage the expertise of our team and the one-on-one personalized account management and troubleshooting led by leading CTRM platform experts with over ten years of experience. We’ll show you how you can resolve common run operate challenges before they happen.

#2 How To Proactively Overcome Reporting Integration Failure for CTRM Platforms

Value Creed’s Run Smart CTRM Managed Services runs in conjunction with your reporting system to ensure your pricing, credit, risk, and other reports are complete and accurate so have the most complete information for basing your positioning decisions in the format you need and commodity managers can use.

 

#3: Cloud & Database Monitoring & Maintenance

With our Cloud & Database Managed services the CTRM platforms perform at 99% uptime, delivering reliability for your team and lower overall cost of ownership over the long-term. 

Whether your CTRM is hosted on-prem or in the cloud, our Managed Services team ensures availability and fine tunes your environment to improve performance.

#4 What Do I Do about “Crazy Crude Prices:” Be Prepared for the Unexpected

The unprecedented demand-killing consequences of COVID-19 and abnormal behavior from market participants under stress show that markets for any commodity are subject to extreme and unexpected volatility.

Value Creed’s Run Smart™ Managed Services include dual timezone coverage, so there is always someone monitoring your data inputs.

No matter what time of day or night the crazy data rears its ugly head, a Value Creed CTRM/ETRM platform expert will immediately begin reconciling it and rectifying any errors it causes.

Value Creed has automated the process of searching for and isolating outliers as they occur. By isolating the cause of errors in real time, we empower data users to begin remediating them right away.

#5: Keeping Value At Risk (VaR) Reports On Track

Value at risk (VaR) is one of the most useful risk calculations, as it allows for a consistent analysis of positions and price movements for a given portfolio across time.

Value Creed’s integrated CRTM managed service platform, Run Smart™, is easily customizable to any business model. 

 

Run Smart™ interfaces with downstream reporting software and upstream transaction-reporting and data sources. Its reporting capabilities capture, collect, and present real-time market updates, physical stores and portfolio positions.

 Every night, Run Smart™ evaluates the calculated VaR for the portfolio or selected segment with the confidence interval, loss limit, and timeframe established by the user.

Want The Full Story?

This post is our series, 5 Reasons for Choosing Run Smart™ CTRM Managed Services.  Learn more about key reasons for moving to Value Creed’s Run Smart Managed services with these posts:

Value Creed's Run Smart Managed Services Start at $3,500 a month

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We highlight how a global trading house wanted to change the methodology to calculate the portfolio exposures from one currency to another that was offered by the standard ETRM.

CHALLENGE

CALCULATING YOUR PORTFOLIO EXPOSURE

The energy industry is experiencing a rapid transformation with North America, Europe and Asia evolving as an interconnected global Energy market. Commodity prices are tying major global energy participants to each other with the European and the Middle Eastern trading hubs being heavily correlated.

However, as volatility is still common in the energy markets companies are now also dealing with a different set of risks.

Value Creed’s team has helped one of their global energy trading houses to overcome this challenge by understanding their current business process, analysing the implementation of their trading business in their ETRM system and then tweaking it to deliver the desired outcome. 

CURRENT AND EXPECTED RESULTS

If you observe the above the case there is a 1.1k approx USD exposure difference

SOLUTION AND OUTCOME

Value Creed implemented a solution on top of an existing ETRM valuation engine to accept multiple currencies to value the portfolio, new rules for the exposure calculations, stored the results and displayed the new real portfolio value.

The real insights give power to the business to plan an action and know when to implement it. The client has achieved:  

Real Portfolio visibility

The implemented solution gave the trading desk real visibility of their portfolio exposures.

Adequate Risk Management

The implemented solution helped the Derivatives and FX team to create more sophisticated hedging strategies.

Real visibility for accounting and compliance

They were able to report the correct P&L by entities and eliminate the FX differences.​

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Optimized CTRM Customization and Integration Performance

When it comes to commodities trading and risk management platforms, the three characteristics of workflow efficiency—quality, speed, and certainty—are non-negotiable. RightAngle processes are broad and complex, often leveraging customizations and enhancements. Testing the software and integrations is essential to optimized performance.

Customized Testing for Process Validation and Quality Assurance

To ensure reliability, it is crucial to demonstrate an error-free system by establishing confidence  in an ongoing and established testing procedure for the entire RightAngle platform. To accomplish this, Value Creed encourages its clients to embrace a conversion from manual to automated testing that facilitates their ability to conserve resources and labor while improving the performance and quality of testing operations.

VC-Automated-testing

Value Creed’s Right Angle Automation Testing Procedure using TestComplete

To meet regression testing challenges and ensure RightAngle functionality customizations and application integrations remain viable within the workflow, organizations in the commodities industry require well-planned and timely maintenance of their digital test suites. Value Creed achieves this using TestComplete, an automation tool for web and desktop-based applications.

TestComplete enables users to script regression tests for business processes. Following test execution, it provides a detailed log of the steps taken, allowing for quick identification of the source of any errors and warnings generated.

Value Creed’s 5-Step Process for RightAngle Regression Testing

The Value Creed regression testing suite for RightAngle includes a field-proven system for prioritizing, scheduling, performing, and documenting the entire procedure.

5 Step Process

Value Creed’s 5-Step Process for RightAngle Regression Testing

Benefits of Automated RightAngle Testing

6 Powerful Reasons Why RightAngle Automated Testing Outperforms Manual Approaches

Switching to automated testing for RightAngle through Value Creed’s regression suite generates numerous benefits:

Accelerate RightAngle Testing with Value Creed's Expertise

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