Energy Risk Software Rankings: testing times for technology

Commodities software users vote for the technologies that steered them through the recent chaos

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Over the past 18 months energy firms have had to deal with some of the most extreme demand shocks and supply disruptions ever seen, from Covid-19 shutdowns at the start of 2020, to the Texas freeze in February and the blockage of the Suez Canal in March.

The logistical chaos caused by these events tested even the most robust commodity trading and risk management (CTRM) software systems as firms grappled to track physical commodities that were held up or re-routed, while trying to understand their full market and credit risk exposures.

Energy Risk’s annual Software Rankings survey shows which CTRM software systems were considered the most proficient across a variety of areas in the commodities landscape during the tumultuous period of 2020 into 2021. In the survey – now in its 17th year – participants vote for their preferred software vendors and applications, data providers, data management firms and implementation specialists. The poll covers CTRM systems, enterprise risk systems, derivatives software, logistics technology and trading platforms. 

For most companies last year, tackling the fall-out from the Covid-19 pandemic involved tactical fire-fighting. Planning for an event this unprecedented is not possible. Nevertheless, working tactically rather than strategically is not an optimal way to get the most out of technology. In a survey about the use of commodities software that runs alongside the Software Rankings, almost half of the respondents said having to work tactically rather than strategically was one of their biggest IT challenges. 

The survey also revealed that the top three IT projects requested by the risk team this year were expected to be analytics development, moving the CTRM system to the cloud and upgrading the CTRM system, all things likely to help improve a company’s response to future black swan events.

The Covid-19 pandemic showed the importance of having a robust CTRM system but, for almost all companies, 2020 had huge elements of fire-fighting

This year’s Software Rankings poll included new categories for agricultural commodities and metals under both the Derivatives Software and Physical Software sections. This opened up opportunities for Eka and Brady to join the podium alongside Ion Commodities in those categories. Another new category – over-the-counter trading platform – was also included, giving a chance for Ice, Trayport and Enmacc to appear in the survey.   

Once again, the CTRM section reflects the dominance of the large, traditional vendors such as Ion Commodities: Allegro, Ion Commodities: Openlink and Hitachi ABB Power Grids, the purchaser of Pioneer Solutions. The enterprise risk section was dominated by Lacima and Hitachi ABB Power Grids, with Beacon appearing for the first time in multiple categories. The data management section was dominated by ZE PowerGroup, although Enverus claimed a couple of wins, while KWA Analytics topped the technology advisory section.

Methodology

The survey went live on February 1, 2021 and closed on March 5, 2021. It received 227 valid responses. To compile the Software Rankings, respondents were asked to vote for their preferred software vendor, data management firm, data provider and technology adviser in a variety of categories. All votes were carefully checked and invalid votes stripped out. Examples of votes considered invalid are people voting for their own firm or using a free internet-based email address, multiple votes from the same person or IP address, and voters who choose the same firm indiscriminately throughout the survey.

Following closure of the poll, the results are subject to an internal review process, which can result in categories being dropped if they do not have enough votes. The outcome of the review is final.

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