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Gen10 – Innovating to Success?

The beauty of being an analyst is that you get to watch the industry unfold and develop. Along the way, you collect others’ views and opinions that help inform your own. Watching the CTRM software space this last twenty odd years it becomes apparent that real success is often more a matter of luck than anything else – being in the right place, at the right time with the right thing. The rest of being successful is, of course, sheer hard work. For the last decade, I have watched as many vendors continued to evolve in reaction to market developments, yet as I spoke to Richard Williamson, founder of Gen10 this week, I must admit to being occasionally surprised by all they have accomplished since their inception a decade ago. He mentioned during our conversation that Gen10 had been working to introduce some SI’s and consultants to its offerings, and their reaction at seeing the product was “How come you have all of this?”

Gen10 has a long history of innovation that is, speaking as an analyst, quite impressive given its resources and leads me to often share the reaction of those SI’s and consultants. Not only was Gen10 one of the first CTRM vendors to migrate towards an ecosystem architecture with a cloud-native architecture, but it was also one of the first in the space to utilize blockchain in a real-world project as well. They were one of the earliest to market with a commodity management solution, extending its solution from CTRM into the supply chain with built-in workflow and traceability.  Having been initially architected with an “agnostic approach” to being multi-commodity for years, each move into new commodities meant it was largely a configuration item, not coding. The list of innovations continues with phone-based tools to support sustainable sourcing, deep trade finance capabilities, a trading game to allow training in a real-world feeling application to help train traders and/or support staff, and recently, it came out with NetZero OS – “An ecosystem of digital tools to manage and control your origination, trading, tracking and procurement of credits at scale, efficiently and robustly.” In short, it has an impressive resume for a smaller UK-based vendor.

So, is that innovation translating into business I asked Richard? He told me they were very busy as companies were looking to modernize post-COVID and that there was interest across all the products, but in particular their new NetZero OS. He also noted that the sales cycle was getting shorter and added that Gen10 had gained half a dozen new clients last year and has a full sales pipeline. Yet his dilemma is like that of all vendors that have to grow organically and that is in balancing the load of sales, delivery, and product innovation across the organisation. Gen10 has focused very much on product innovation over the years, he told me. “We have been chasing a vision of helping to improve our client’s data flows through supply chains,” he said. He pointed to carbon accounting as an example. “We attached carbon accounting and cost accounting to the process in our software easily as we have spent years in developing traceability in our software. That paid dividends as it allowed us to innovate with the emerging carbon requirements,” he said. He sees carbon footprints playing a significant role with commodity firms needing to account for their carbon footprint while taking greater interest in their supplier’s carbon footprint as well, basically their Scope 1, 2 and 3 requirements.

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Gen10 is facing an interesting dilemma. It is one that many firms face, and it is how to grow and leverage success without access to outside capital and resources. It is a challenge yet, with over 100 projects completed in a host of areas within commodities and the investment in the platform, it is one that Richard is confident Gen10 can meet.