We recently visited with George Olney, President of iRely, the US based provider of CM/CTRM solutions specializing in coverage across multiple categories. According to Mr. Olney, the company is seeing a surge in interest in its CTRM and CM solution in Ags and Softs in Europe this year. He also noted that sales cycles are shortening across multiple commodities like coffee, cocoa, tea, and cotton. “We also see less tolerance for longer implementations and much more interest in trying to minimize enhancements with the ultimate goal of implementing software as is.” he told us. “Customers are seeking a faster and more definite return on investment from their software.”
Mr. Olney also noted that iRely has been signing new customers in areas like petrochemicals. Given the increased levels of activity, the company has been on a bit of a hiring spree – adding key staff including a new risk specialist directly from the industry and an expert in tea also with an extensive industry tenure.
On the R&D side, iRely has also been busy and its addition of multilingual capabilities has already helped it gain new customers, George said. Additionally, iRely development efforts have included enhancements in areas like trade finance, intelligent document recognition and new functional capabilities to help expand their commodity coverage. With the new capabilities, Mr. Olney now sees its flagship CTRM product being more widely adopted across multiple markets – including the increasing interest in Europe and all along the value chain for various commodities – from production, marketing, trading, transformation/manufacturing and even retail distribution.
Asked what he felt was driving this increasing momentum for the company, he cited several reasons. From an application point of view, he says that iRely is continuing to grow across the various commodity spaces – meaning that it is crossing to different segments within a commodity value chain – and it can help their users connect across a commodity ecosystem. He also believes that its investment in innovative technology is paying off and is valued by users.
iRely also sees its ownership and their long-term vision and strategies as a key benefit. As he noted, the company’s owner is in for the long-term (even operating from a 100-year plan) and is an industry player as opposed to a VC or PE firm looking to make a quick return on investment. Given high levels of M&A activity in the CTRM space, this stability and sense of purpose on the part of its ownership can certainly be viewed as a positive by iRely’s customers, as they won’t have to worry about what the next owner of their software may or may not have planned for the product or the product line. In fact, Mr. Olney is so confident in that long-term strategy that he stated that they are backing up their commitment to their customers by offering full refunds of license fees to their customers should the owners ever decide to divest the business.
Lastly, he sees iRely’s implementation expertise as another key factor citing a 100% success rate with implementations and a team of industry knowledgeable staff, “We’ve been diligent in hiring industry experienced and knowledgeable staff. Our team understands the issues and complications of the markets we serve and that helps ensure our product and its implementation meet the needs of our customers.”
Whatever the secret sauce is (if there is just one), it’s clear that iRely is developing significant momentum in the ags and softs space as we at ComTech do see more of iRely across multiple markets and industries. We will continue to keep a close eye on its activities going forward as well.