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Change and Education in Commodity Trading

One thing that is more obvious each and every day is the interest in ecosystems as it relates to commodity trading, risk management, and supply chain software. In fact, ComTech predicted and elaborated on this trend all the way back in 2017 in our white paper – CTRM/CM as an Architecture – An Approach to a 20-year Conundrum.  We also revisited it in a CTRMRadio podcast in the summer of 2018 and again in another podcast on the disaggregation of CTRM in 2019. The concept has been a continuous feature of our market commentary since the appearance of the white paper. We saw the emergence of software as a service/cloud and microservices and similar architectures as the enablers of a move back to best of breed via ecosystems of applications that offered discrete, but deep vertical functionality or broad horizontal functionality knitted together via open APIs and we felt that this offered a migration strategy over time from monolithic CTRM solutions as well. It offered the ability to continue to leverage significant investment in older technology and functionality while adding agility, scalability, and better access to information in a stepwise fashion adding discrete applications around a monolithic application and increasingly carving away bits of functionality from the monolith. Of course, we now see all of this happening in the CTRM and CM software arena.

As commodity firms are pushed towards lower costs, greater efficiency, and more optimization by an unprecedented set of drivers for change, the migration to ecosystems has found increased impetus often as part of a digitalization project. Indeed, to start out 2021, ComTech published a new whitepaper outlining and commenting on these drivers, trends, and issues. We also did the first CTRMRadio podcast for 2021 on the topic. A huge component in all of this is the need to have more open solutions that allow greater access to data and information ‘locked’ within them. Historically, it has been very difficult to extract information from CTRM systems except via the route of building more and more reports. Now we are seeing an explosion in terms of using more innovative UI technology, dashboards, BI tools, and even python to gain access to and utilize the data in these solutions. The lockdowns and work from home environment in which most of us now operate have continued to expose the shortcomings of monolithic CTRM and CM solutions and the data that they hold. Workflow, collaborative tools, and access to the data are increasingly being used to help drive the efficiency of a home-based workforce, improve collaboration between decentralized and remote workers, as well as increase efficiency and drive cost reductions.

One concern that ComTech has is around education and training and in our recent whitepaper and podcast, we focused on this issue. Much of the expertise in the industry is now in the heads of veterans and as a younger generation enters the workforce how will a transfer of knowledge, expertise, and skills take place especially in a work-from-home environment? The move to remote implementations as well as the growing popularity of newer cloud-based ecosystems of solutions also tends to diminish the consulting content of implementation which means that younger less experienced consultants have fewer possibilities to gain experience. ComTech pointed to the growth of the independent experienced remote contractor under current circumstances in the recent white paper.

AdvertisingION Commodities

ComTech, as the leading analyst in the space, continues to try to find ways to capture, make sense of, and distribute knowledge and information about the CTRM/CM and related software space. This ranges from offering the definitive market sizing and analysis each year, free tools for buyers of CTRM and CM software, expert analysis, research, and opinion, and much more all delivered mostly free of charge at CTRMCenter. We deliver it in video, podcast, and written formats. We constantly strive to find new ways to engage with end-users, vendors, and investors in CTRM and CM software and we are always open to new ideas. Increasingly, we are aware of the issues around skills transfer in the industry especially in these difficult times and are doing our part we hope in offering a free resource to the industry with CTRMCenter.