2016 – 2021 CTRM Market Outlook

Commodity Technology Advisory LLC (ComTech), the leading analyst firm covering commodity trading and risk management (CTRM) technology markets, has recently completed its biannual in-depth review of the CTRM software market space in order to compile an estimate of the size of the global CTRM technology market and prepare an outlook for growth across the various component submarkets that comprise it.

Readers of this report should be aware that in the development of this data, as in past years, we must delineate boundaries for the companies and applications reflected in the scope of the analysis.

Read the document online or download it from the CTRM Center 2016 – 2021 CTRM Market Outlook

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Risk Monitoring and Management Trends In Commodities

Commodity producers, traders, and industrial consumers are all facing a barrage of risks such as price exposure and cyber vulnerability, as well as legal, credit, operational and market risks. The risks associated with buying, selling, and moving commodities only seem to be increasing exponentially with greater regulatory oversight and a broadening of supply chain operational issues like traceability. Many of these risks can be business killers – the actions of rogue traders or the impact of counterparty business failures, for example – and lead to fatal damage such as an inability to access capital or damage to brands (via issues around sourcing commodities or producing substandard end-products). Other risks, such as ineffective price risk management, inefficient scheduling of transportation, or regulatory non-compliance can erode profitability and damage the company’s ability to execute on strategic plans and growth initiatives.

Of course, often where there is risk, there is also an opportunity to profit – but only when those risks are recognized, effectively managed, and properly mitigated. The rise in stakeholder scrutiny and regulatory oversight also means that being able to demonstrate effective risk management across the organization is certainly more important today than ever before.

Read the document online or download it from the CTRM Center Risk Monitoring and Management Trends In Commodities

Sourcebook 2017

The 2017 Commodity Technology Advisory LLC (ComTech) CTRM Software Sourcebook is designed to be a useful and usable resource to help those seeking information as to the capabilities and coverage of products within the CTRM software category. It is a starting point in the product selection process – a mid-level guide to allow the reader to develop a long list of vendors that have high potential capabilities in terms of functional and commodity coverage meet the specific needs of CTRM market participants.

It is NOT intended to be a replacement for a formal selection process – CTRM software is simply too complex to be selected properly without utilizing a programmatic selection process.

Our intention in developing the CTRM Sourcebook is to inform the reader of the wide universe of vendors and products, and allow companies seeking a new system to compile a list of vendors that may include some that might not have otherwise been considered, or that they may not have even previously been aware of.

Read the document online or download it from the CTRM Center Sourcebook 2017

Supply Chain Challenges: BIOMASS

Over the last decade, biomass of various kinds has become an increasingly commonly used fuel for electricity generation, particularly in the European Union, which mandated ambitious threshold targets for the share of renewables in total electricity generation.

Wood chips and pellets have taken a large share of biomass production, not just in Europe, but also parts of Asia as well. In fact, according to the US International Trade Commission, production of wood pellets in the US for export to these locations increased 400% between 2008 and 2014 to help meet the increased demand. The US International Trade Commission further states that, “estimates of global wood pellet consumption vary, but are currently in the range of 22 – 25 million metric tons (Mt) annually. This projected to rise to between 50 and 80 million Mt by 2020. At 19 million Mt in 2013, the EU accounted for 85 percent of global consumption of wood pellets.”

This white paper examines some of the challenges around managing and optimizing biomass supply chains and discusses Generation 10’s Commodity Manager as a comprehensive software solution to these challenges.

Read the document online or download it from the CTRM Center Supply Chain Challenges: BIOMASS

CTRM/CM as an Architecture – An Approach to A 20-year old Conundrum

Wholesale commodity trading and risk management can encompass any number of business processes and strategies, from brokered trades in which the buyer purchases some quantity of commodity and then immediately resells it at the same point for (hopefully) a profit – to multi-commodity transactions involving global supply chains, transformations, and complex financial hedging strategies. Vendor provided software to service this wide-ranging market, commonly known as Commodity Trading and Risk Management or CTRM software, will similarly vary in possible functional coverage, with some CTRM solutions addressing specific functional components (such as deal capture or risk analysis for a specific commodity), while others will attempt to model and provide wide-ranging functional coverage for all possible commodity classes and the unique physical operations associated with each and every possible combination in between.

Given this, the Commodity Trading and Risk Management (CTRM) software category is very difficult to define except in the broadest of terms. When the term “CTRM” was first coined, it was essentially used to expand the breadth of the software category known as Energy Trading and Risk Management (ETRM). Both terms broadly mean the same thing, with ETRM reflecting software solutions that address the capture, position management and accounting for any wholesale energy trade; and CTRM reflecting a wider reach (including energy in some cases) and encompassing other commodity categories including ags, softs, and metals. In the last few years, CTRM has been increasingly regarded as a component of an even larger software category called Commodity Management (CM), further muddying the classification of the types of software that address the needs of the wholesale commodity marketplace. Commodity Management solutions are most commonly utilized in the mid- and downstream commodity markets, including food processing and packaging companies, agricultural merchants, and manufacturers. Additionally, there are a number of terms used to describe different aspects of Commodity Management such as ‘ERP for Commodities’.

Read the document online or download it from the CTRM Center CTRM/CM as an Architecture – An Approach to A 20-year old Conundrum

ComTech Analyst Briefing Note – EKA Update 2017

Eka recently announced their 2016 year end results, providing the opportunity to review the company’s progress in developing and marketing its Commodity Analytics Cloud, a new product announced in 2015. Additionally we will also review the company’s overall performance since our last full update, released in November of 2014.

For a more complete coverage of Eka, see our analyst briefing note released in July 2015 for detailed review of the company’s Commodity Analytics Cloud. Also see our ComTech Analyst Briefing Note released in November 2014, for a complete corporate overview, strategy discussion and products overview by ComTech analysts.

Read the document online or download it from the CTRM Center ComTech Analyst Briefing Note – EKA Update 2017

The Era of ETRM in the Cloud

Commodity Technology Advisory (ComTech) has been tracking the rise of ETRM solutions delivered in the cloud over many years. While the potential benefits and cost savings associated with ETRM in the cloud have always appeared to be robust, uptake across the industry has proven to be quite slow until relatively recently. Although many other industries migrated to the cost efficiencies of the cloud, the energy industry lagged behind. The key concern quoted by the industry was usually data security, despite companies often having back-up and recovery procedures in place that result in trade and position data being stored off-site. Then, commodity prices collapsed generally, led by energy, and costs began to rise inexorably as new regulations progressively came into force. Margins were squeezed and structural changes have occurred across the industry so that profitable trades are a good deal harder to find.

While ETRM and other IT initiatives were put on hold or scaled back to reduce costs, rapid market changes necessitated ETRM functional changes – compelling energy companies to seek more cost effective ways to procure the right ETRM platform. As their ETRM and related solutions have quickly become outdated, these systems are effectively deadweight – holding those businesses back from responding to change and streamlining business processes. In this environment, ETRM in the cloud has become a popular alternative to “traditional” on-premises software given its low cost of entry, potential lower total cost of ownership and promise of cheaper maintenance and upgrades. Confirming this trend, a recent survey conducted by ComTech looking at trends in a lower energy price environment found that around 30% of surveyed European energy traders had an increased urgency to upgrade or replace their current ETRM, and that almost 50% would consider ETRM in the cloud as a way forward.

Read the document online or download it from the CTRM Center The Era of ETRM in the Cloud