#3: Insightful Data-Driven CTRM Vendor Selection Approach Facilitates Run-Operate Success

If you have read the first installment of our blog series on CTRM software selection, you are aware of the time consuming tasks and potential pitfalls involved when choosing a vendor on your own. And if you read part 2, you know what to look for when seeking a team to alleviate the burden and risks associated with a project of this magnitude.

Now, in our third post, you will learn how Value Creed and Sendero intertwine their comprehensive vetting and selection processes to help you select the vendor that is right for your organization. 

By engaging this team, your vendor selection process will leverage a unique, multi-step process as follows:

  1. Gather Intelligence – We define and enforce inclusive business unit involvement across the organization to ensure all stakeholders’ desires are heard. Staff interviews, executive strategy, and a vendor-agnostic approach ensures a bias-free selection.
  2. Define & Prioritize User Requirement with Insight of CTRM/ETRM Expertise – Armed with deep CTRM/ETRM hands-on expertise and industry domain knowledge, we construct a requirement model customized to your specific demands, operational workflows, cross-functional use cases, and overall program management goals.
  3. Insider’s Assessment of “Off-The Shelf Functionality” – It is rare when a CTRM/ETRM platform solves every stakeholder’s requirement “out-of-the-box.”  We align user requirements and technical considerations with each platform’s inherent capabilities and identify gaps where customizations will be required.
  4. Mapping Business Process Alignment – Alignment of existing business processes to the CTRM/ETRM platform is paramount. To choose the best-fit platform, existing business processes, back office, middle office and front office processes are assessed and compared among platforms.  Our management consulting assessment approach combined with our deep ETRM/CTRM experience ensures you have foresight into the  solution most closely aligned with your business goals. 
  5. Reach Consensus – Our comprehensive evaluation uses proven methods for vetting vendors and uncovering critical details involving cost of ownership and operation, potential productivity disruptions, learning curves, and more

Dive Deeper Into This Multifaceted Approach 

Sendero takes the time to uncover the drivers behind your firm’s trading challenges and opportunities, delving deep into your business philosophy to determine which software features will best get you where you want to go by involving executives, management, and front-line users through every stage, in every decision, while providing a structured methodology that allows you to balance your day-to-day asks with the selection.

Value Creed employs teams of experts fluent in CTRM, transaction flow, and contract structure. We understand how your software platform will influence the speed, efficiency, and profitability of every trade you make. Backed by hundreds of software implementation projects and millions of people-hours monitoring operations and reports, Value Creed ensures the software and vendor you engage will meet your needs now and in the future. As a managed service provider (MSP) our experience delivering on-demand 24-hour responsiveness by technical teams located both in the U.S. and India. Our dual time zone model gives Value Creed clients the functionality they need to thrive. 

#2: Harness the Power of Management Consultancy and Run-Operate Expertise

 In our former post, we noted the value of having insight into common missteps that can be costly long term when the process of commodities and energy trading risk management (CTRM/ETRM) vendor selection is not informed by a proven vendor selection approach. 

The truth is upgrading or moving to a new CTRM/ETRM software is an arduous, expensive undertaking. The good news is, you should not have to endure the experience more than once or twice during your career. The bad news is that conducting a project as potentially transformative as overhauling and converting your trading software can be especially challenging if you have never done it before.

Proven Vendor Selection Approach + Run Operate Knowledge = Long Term CTRM/ETRM Platform Satisfaction

The best software selection decisions will consider more than just the platforms’ purely technical capabilities. The optimal choice also will assess the software’s capabilities in solving your specific challenges and matches your workflow, strategy, and user demands. New requirements often come to light several months after software is commissioned. An experienced team of run-operated experts on your team can identify potential future conflicts and changes your company may need to undertake to make the software compatible with your business goals:

  • Software customization
  • Workarounds
  • Legacy system upgrades
  • User training
  • Monitoring and reporting

These insights give you the information you need to make informed decisions about the lifetime value each option will bring to your organization. As a basic foundation, you know what you will need to do to make your new software perform all the specified functions.

Double-Teaming Software Selection

In addition to easing the burden of evaluating and selecting the software product and vendor that you will be working with over the next decade, here are some benefits of adding both an operations and productivity guru and a management consultant to your software vendor selection team:

  1. Industry Familiarity – Most software consultants will be able to evaluate the products’ features, but only those familiar with commodities and energy markets will be able to match your needs to benefits and leverage their knowledge to uncover hidden requirements. The best will optimize not only your software but also the logistics, implementation, and deployment.
  2. Focus on Value Rather than Cost – Many companies consider IT a cost center, but when it comes to CTRM software, price should take a backseat to performance.and return on investment. Experienced managed service providers work with all aspects of various CTRM platforms and are positioned to balance cost against capabilities.
  3. Comprehensive Selection Methodology – Competent managed service providers focusing on software selection will help you choose a product that solves your problems with as little customization as possible. Tailoring adds expense without contributing value. A managed service provider will demonstrate why it is more efficient to alter existing workflows and processes to conform to a new platform than to force the application to adapt to legacy processes.
  4. Vendor Agnosticism – Software vendors want to sell their clients the product that best serves their needs, but they all believe their own product fills that need. A consultant has heard it all before and is familiar enough with the market to cut through the sales talk and evaluate offerings strictly based on their merits. A truly agnostic consultant structures the analysis to eliminate personal and systemic bias and leverages connections throughout the industry to get a better understanding of the products and vendors.

As a leading management consultant, Sendero presents a proven methodology for vetting software. This rigorous evaluation is instrumental in eliminating most contenders. The final selection, however, should include analysis by run-operate experts. Value Creed delivers by determining how the software programs under consideration will interact and align with your established procedures, logistics, and timelines. 

 

Combining Sendero’s experienced management consultancy with the day-to-day run-operate Value Creed’s managed services expertise ensures you will make the optimal decision for your firm.

Upfront investments in licensing and implementation are helpful, but not comprehensive of the entire lifecycle of software ownership.  By combining a managed services provider’s run operate phase expertise with a management consultant’s experience garnered through hundreds of software selection consultations, you have a complete view into onboarding the platform and managing and working with it long-term.  Value Creed’s run-operate expertise aligned with Sendero’s software selection practice ensures a unified approach to achieving your stakeholder’s goals while keeping the budget for licenses and implementation on track. 

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

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#1: Hidden Costs of In-House Vendor Selection & How to Avoid Them

As markets shift, risks increase, and strategies evolve, your CTRM/ETRM software needs become more specific, comprehensive, and nuanced. The time may be right for upgrading your system so you do not expose your company to undue risk or leave money on the table. To keep costs manageable, you may be tempted to perform your own CTRM/ETRM vendor selection process in-house. This may be a viable option, but you should understand the “hidden costs” of In-House vendor evaluation.

The “Hidden Costs” of In-House Vendor Selection

While the benefits of selecting a solution in-house may seem compelling, if handled improperly, they can backfire:

 

  1. You’ll likely overpay in the long run – It could, and likely will, happen. Key features “presented in a demo” don’t uncover common pitfalls or technology gaps in “out of the box” implementations. This fact could cost you much more later with gap-fills and workarounds in the short run and investing in a proper fix for the long run.
  2. It’s a full-time job –  Having IT, procurement, other departments more work to create RFPs, research capabilities, sit through numerous product demos, negotiate prices, and manage the project. These tasks tax those with already full plates and put timelines at risk.
  3. You’re the “fall guy or gal” – As stakeholders are interviewed and use cases are created, scope often extends as back office, middle office and front office user needs are identified. Defining these comprehensively requires more than “sales demo” level insights. Leverage vendor selection insights gleaned from multiple installs to protect your recommendation and your reputation.
  4. It’s hard to be objective about an “old friend” – Engaging a vendor to pursue the selection process keeps your team objective, erasing the propensity to prefer one vendor over another due to past experience or active relationships. 

Why CTRM/ETRM Vendor Selection Experts Help Avoid Missteps 

Many companies, however, find they cannot spare the resources or simply do not have a proven approach for conducting vendor evaluations in-house. Engaging a consultant with “frontline-proven” experience and approach facilitates the process, proactively uncovers pitfalls, and saves you money by setting your team up for deriving long-term value. 

 

Choose Value Creed to Manage Your Vendor Selection Process

Value Creed’s “total ownership” model, considering your company’s focus, scale, strategy, culture, and other characteristics to develop a tailored plan for your software upgrade. We have the insights and established processes to ensure you receive the maximum computing power and value for your money. Our knowledge base is augmented by our partnership with Sendero, one of the most respected management consulting firms in the industry.

Contact Value Creed to learn more about our services and to schedule a software consultation.