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Agiboo Has a Vision for the Future

It’s always interesting to chat with Jan van den Brom over at Agiboo. With a long history of consulting and, over the last several years, providing software to the industry, Jan always has some interesting observations to discuss. This most recent conversation was no exception.

Jan believes that the industry is now entering a new phase in terms of CTRM and related software. First, he pointed to the brain drain as many in the industry retire taking their expertise with them. Secondly, he sees that advancements and innovations in various technologies are providing a scenario in which the next generation of CTRM software can be built. “There is no single silver bullet technology,” he told me. “But when you combine all the available technologies, then you have the basis for a paradigm shift in approach to CTRM.” Part of that technology stack are webservices that allow all sorts of companies in the space to offer discrete real-time services that when integrated through the commodity trade lifecycle, provide an unprecedented opportunity to provide responsive and innovative CTRM solutions. Furthermore, he told me, the next generation of people coming into the industry demand this.

Jan Van Den Brom
Jan van den Brom

Of course, an age-old issue for commodity businesses is also what to do about the legacy solutions they have invested so massively in – not just in terms of cash but in terms of expertise, training and so on? While ComTech is already seeing a supplement strategy emerging where firms supplement legacy with more modern solutions thus protecting their legacy, Jan thinks that big bang is not so far away. He thinks that the transformation or paradigm shift that is already emerging will be so fundamental that many will opt to switch and that the new solutions will provide the tools to make that easier and cost effective. Much of this is driven by the need to automate. He likens the coming paradigm shift to that that happened in the travel business that went from bespoke bookings to a seamless online experience that made it easy for anyone to book their own travel quickly, easily and cost effectively.

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He also sees many smaller firms emerging in commodities. These firms focus on an aspect of the business that they feel best qualified in – perhaps trading, for example. They are inclined to outsource other areas of the business. At ComTech, we have likened this approach to extending the ecosystem of apps to services as well and it appears to be driving a new wave of operational outsourcing. Again, Jan believes that younger people entering the business have completely different perspectives of how software should look and perform as well as how services can be delivered. So, are we about to see a significant shift in CTRM? We would agree that we are based on what we see around the industry.

Of course, much of this thinking has informed Jan’s direction with Agiboo and its Agiblocks software. Agiblocks already has many of the capabilities that he talks about – rapid implementation, use of webservices and much more. He says that Agiboo is live faster and Agiboo is reaping the rewards with more than ten new customers in the last ten months – although many of these are the smaller innovative companies that he sees more broadly in the industry. These companies are in grains, coffee, cocoa, sugar, and similar commodities, he says. Indeed, Agiboo has recently opened a new office in Brazil, he said.