ETRM systems are, by their nature, complex software products as the software must mirror the full complexity of the commodities industries, markets, and assets that they serve. Spanning from contract administration through invoicing and settlement, the business processes involved in commodity trading varies greatly. This variation is created by the unique combinations and nature of the physical or financial commodity or commodities traded, as well as by the industry segment (power generation/trading, gas production/trading, agricultural production/trading, etc.), the assets employed in the supply chain(s) and geographic differences (North American power vs. European vs. Japan, for example).
Unfortunately, this creates a wide variance, not only in functionality and capabilities required to model unique market processes, but it can also create conflicts in terms of the trading tenor (24-hour markets vs. five-minute markets) and the types of transactions commonly conducted in any individual marketplace or set of markets. While these variances obviously create complexity in the design and coding of the software, they also create significant issues in supporting that software after it goes into production. This is only magnified by rapid change in the industry as new market processes or other requirements are introduced into the market that must be reflected, via updates, in the ETRM software.
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