Energy trading and risk management (ETRM) systems are flexible, powerful tools that often lie at the very core of an upstream, midstream, or downstream oil and gas company’s commercial, logistics, and risk business process that enables the trade-to-settlement lifecycle and supports much of the hydrocarbon value chain. They’re routinely relied upon by traders, risk managers, accountants, and many others across organizations for key business decisions to drive profit and loss (P&Ls), inform operations, and ensure compliance every day.
In many cases, they’re also tightly integrated with critical IT applications like enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and external market data providers and logistics partners. These characteristics combine to create a challenging IT support scenario where system performance, reliability, and resilience are paramount but are set against a backdrop of ever-increasing demands to innovate while continually driving down cost.
Leading IT organizations are viewed as reliable service providers, sound stewards of scarce resources, and trusted advisors for capital investment in innovation and technology projects. While not always flashy, the first two are foundational for IT leaders to earn a seat at the table and the opportunity to create incremental enterprise value. Providing efficient and effective support for a highly complex and business-critical solution set like an ETRM system can go a long way in establishing a basis for future business/IT alignment and more robust ongoing partnership between groups. The relentless pursuit of operational excellence tends to produce the kinds of savings that pay for bold technology initiatives.
To provide the kind of consistently reliable and increasingly affordable services demanded by business stakeholders, IT leaders should consider getting back to the basics and focus on delivering (1) quality technical support, (2) continuous improvement, and (3) value-added services. These basic services tend to be defined a little differently in an ETRM system context than for traditional ERP or human capital management (HCM) platforms. While the books must be closed on time and payroll better be right those processes occur with a predictable cadence. However, trading opportunities don’t and commodity price risk is dynamic.
“Do more with less” is a familiar refrain for most IT executives and delivering the capabilities above a high standard can consume seemingly unlimited resources if deliberate steps aren’t taken to materially reduce the effort required to render services. These steps will help contain cost and free the department’s best and brightest to innovate.
Thoughtful and well-executed investments made in automation, reliability, and resilience will enable the IT organization to navigate a challenging environment in which system availability is non-negotiable and spend must trend down to free a sliver of capacity to partner with the business to innovate. A careful analysis of a department’s core competencies, assessment of realistic aspirations for the group, combined with the resources required to deliver on those commitments, will yield a matrix of ways to assemble the optimal mix of employees, contractors, consultants, managed service providers and more to realize some of the promises of digital trading and risk management architectures.
When you choose Opportune, you gain access to seasoned professionals who not only listen to your needs, but who will work hand in hand with you to achieve established goals. With a sense of urgency and a can-do mindset, we focus on taking the steps necessary to create a higher impact and achieve maximum results for your organization.Leadership