Recently, an email crossed my desk from Drillinginfo. The content was a two-page data sheet regarding a product called CurveBuilder Lite. Now, price curves and handling price data has always been of paramount importance in trading and is often an area that is more cumbersome and unwieldy than it needs to be in terms of the tools available across a broad range of different platforms. Of course, these days, price data is just an aspect of the broader data management challenge in which more and more data of varying types (structured and unstructured) is available and which, if unlocked, can afford traders and risk managers with significant insight into markets, yet it remains the key area for many. Essentially, what Drillinginfo has done, is create a more simplified tool accessible from with MarketView to allow those who perhaps utilize a smaller number of curves (Drillinginfo says 50-60 forward curves) in a fast and efficient manner by scaling and customizing it’s broader toolset.
In many ways, this is a similar strategy to that adopted by some of the CTRM vendors who, in an effort to appeal down market, provide pre-configured and customized versions of their software for particular geographic markets or industry segments. It removes some of the configuration complexity, reduces the entry price and yet offers a more targeted and usable solution to the market. It is an innovative way to tailor a product for a specific use case and it will be interesting to follow how successful this approach is.
For me, it served as a useful reminder that commodity markets are complex and challenging. Yet, the need to have access to more easy to use and more targeted toolsets remains.