In a challenging and fast-changing energy market, it is more important than ever for businesses to be using systems and processes that provide efficiencies and help maintain a competitive advantage. However, research by UK based, pan-European ETRM provider, Contigo, which found that 69% believe spreadsheets are not sufficient to manage the demands of the energy sector, also found that many businesses are still operating without the systems in place to meet the demands of the changing energy marketplace.
Contigo says that, while the reasons for the failure to upgrade may be varied, the lack of internal resource and fears of extended implementation timescales and costs are likely to be having an impact. In response, the company, whose ETRM software has won awards for ease of implementation, has produced a white paper featuring expert guidance from its implementation specialists, together with that of energy businesses who have carried out successful ETRM implementations. It outlines the six key factors that influence the implementation process and is designed to support businesses in understanding how to achieve successful implementations of ETRM solutions, faster and cost-effectively.
Here, Contigo summarises the six factors influencing implementation and includes comments from Contigo ETRM user, Co-op Energy. The white paper is available at https://www.contigosoftware.com/what-you-need-to-do-and-ask-to-achieve-a-faster-more-cost-effective-etrm-implementation/
Six Factors Influencing Implementation
1: Scoping the ETRM system
Effective GAP/FIT analysis during the early scoping of a system will reduce the number of surprises that occur during implementation. Energy businesses that create high-quality requirements containing business process and domain models can ascertain through vendor demonstrations how well the system meets their needs and what level of modification will be needed. At this early stage, a true understanding of time, resource and effort can be estimated and effectively planned for.
2: ETRM architecture and functionality
The second factor influencing timescales is the ETRM system that has been selected. Businesses are most likely to be able to achieve a faster implementation with a system that is ready to use ‘out of the box’. However, there are enormous differences in the levels of readiness for use, with some systems almost having to be built from scratch for the individual client. A good indicator of an out of the box system will be the ability to see the system in a live demo.
Contigo’s enTrader, for example, is ready to use a system that is pre-configured and pre-populated with data, clients simply need to add counterparties in order to begin trading. This means that clients could begin trading in a matter of days, however, the complexity of many energy businesses means that more time is taken to ensure the client benefits fully from what the system can deliver.
3: Measurable goals and project milestones
Goals and project milestones should be planned and agreed between the business and the vendor to ensure additional functionality is phased in at a time scale achievable by both parties. Communicating clear goals internally, as well as with the vendor will ensure all resource is working to the same vision with the clarity of what a successful outcome should look like.
Software implementations can fail where businesses are keen to implement all new functionality and processes at once. Successful implementations phase functionality, identifying the processes that should be managed from day one and introducing only critical operational features initially. This approach supports continuity of the business while gaining early benefit from efficiency savings and data security.
Callum Wright, Prompt Trading Manager at Co-op Energy comments: “My advice is to spend time really considering what you need on day one to continue running a business as usual, and try not to get carried away and change everything all at once. Contigo talked through all the different aspects and helped us focus specifically on the areas we needed; once up and running there is full support and lots of opportunities to build and add onto a really user-friendly interface.”
4: Testing period
Vendors need to clearly communicate the client resource that will be required for the project and the advantages for the client of resourcing the project fully. Clients who are able to allocate a group of subject matter experts to the project, and also ensure that these experts have enough time to allocate to the project, benefit from smoother and faster implementations. They play an important role, both in terms of getting the system up and running and in the ongoing use of the system.
To gain full value from the new asset, an in-depth understanding of the system’s capabilities is required. A user-friendly system, with intuitive help screens, will support a swift and easy adoption for users. In addition, businesses can benefit from using a vendor that makes training an integral part of the implementation process. During the project, the subject experts should also become expert users of the new system, which will have ongoing benefits for the business.
The most effective implementations are achieved when the client and vendor work in partnership, to an agreed plan, and to agreed timescales, with a clear understanding of what is expected of each party.
The implementation of an ETRM system can be an important step forward in the operational effectiveness of a business. It can work to support individual business processes, adding automation, helping businesses to react swiftly to commercial opportunities, reducing operational costs and future-proofing. With a system that is such an integral part of a business, the best implementations take place when clients and software vendors work in partnership. Shared knowledge and effective planning lead to system implementations that meet the business objectives and are also achieved efficiently, to agreed timescales.
Callum Wright of Co-op Energy concludes: “We trade with many different counterparties, from long-term to short-term contracts. While spreadsheets served us well for a long time, the task to manage these was becoming both arduous and open to error. The manual input regarding spreadsheets meant that the risk of human error was proving difficult to mitigate and we felt we were in a position where a trading system was vital. We also planned to both grow, and migrate, large numbers of customers, and this meant we were searching for a system that was ready to support all our needs.
“enTrader has made a fundamental improvement to the day to day operations here at Co-op Energy, particularly the accuracy and reliability of trade data. We have also noted improvements in other areas including reporting, settlement, audit and visibility.”
The full white paper ‘Achieving a faster and more effective ETRM implementation – what businesses need to do and ask’ is available at https://www.contigosoftware.com/what-you-need-to-do-and-ask-to-achieve-a-faster-more-cost-effective-etrm-implementation/
For further information: www.contigosoftware.com
*‘The Future of Energy Trading’ digital survey undertaken by Contigo 2018
Contigo provides a powerful energy software suite that is used by energy generators, wholesale traders and retail suppliers across Europe. Contigo’s solutions are delivered either on premise or securely in the cloud under a SaaS model. Its award winning ETRM solution enTrader manages the full trade lifecycle from deal capture, through portfolio and risk management to settlement.
Contigo’s software was voted number one for ‘ease of implementation’ in the Energy Risk Software Rankings 2017. enTrader® is pre-configured for the European energy market with ready to use functionality and is fully integrated with Trayport’s GlobalVision Trading Gateway.
Contigo is a business unit of Trayport Limited, registered in England and Wales.
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