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Successful ETRM Implemenation
 

Ensuring the success of an ETRM system implementation

Energy firms that use Energy Trading and Risk Management (ETRM) platforms are sometimes faced with the quandary of whether they should continue to utilize the existing system, and possibly upgrade it, or migrate onto a new platform that might be better positioned to meet their evolving needs. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages. Here we will discuss some of the reasons for firms to migrate to a more advanced platform, and what aspects need to be kept in mind for such a migration to occur seamlessly.

For firms that are growing rapidly, a more sophisticated ETRM platform might be required to cater to the rise in the trading volumes and risk management & compliance requirements. Such a platform can allow also the user to manage more complex products and pricing routines, as well as utilize new risk and collateral functionality that might be required. For firms that have used several systems of varying vintage over time, migrating onto a single platform can allow the consolidation and replacement of existing legacy platforms.

Migrating to a new platform can also reduce cost through the use of a more modern, efficient and streamlined solution. Of late, we have witnessed a rise in the provision of hosted solutions by most of the leading ETRM vendors. A hosted platform can be quite advantageous. It allows the trading firm to reduce its internal IT workforce and enjoy seamless upgrades for its system. The level of IT investment required annually also goes down due lower need for internal infrastructure.

For a migration to a new platform to occur seamlessly, several aspects need to be taken into account. The firm needs to adopt a planned, structured approach to the migration. It has to be undertaken in a collaborative manner between the various stakeholders, with frequent interactions to ensure all concerns are considered, and the different parties are on board and on the same page.  IT leadership must be consulted at the onset of the project for:

Ø  Hardware compatibility

Ø  OS and Software version compatibility

Ø  Database version compatibility

Ø  Rightsizing of Client and Server machines

Ø  Distributed environment compatibility (if applicable)

Ø  Availability of hardware resources for Dev/ Test / Parallel/ To-Be production environments

With regard to the ETRM platform, each component or module should be tested before it goes into production. This can be done using prototypes to introduce the key features and functionality of each module to the client. This allows the vendor to ensure that there are no oversights and client feedback is incorporated at every step.

From a vendor’s viewpoint, flexibility during the migration process is also important to ensure any new concerns are addressed quickly. Once the migration is underway, it is important to eliminate the possibility of any downtime of the system due to initial bugs and issues through the use of testing. Quality Assurance and Project Management must be adhered to for the entire duration of the project.

Migrating onto a new platform can be a big decision for any trading firm. While there are several advantages, it is easy to get bogged down and firms often find that they can have cost and time over-runs that lead to question marks over whether it was a good idea to consider the change in the first place. However, as discussed above, with a structured approach involving the various stakeholders, firms can minimize the technological, financial and compliance risk that arises from large scale migrations.

 

 

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60 Abele Road, Suite 1105, Bridgeville, PA 15017 ***Phone: 866-678-7600/412-221-7600 ***Fax: 412-221-7642
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