The Power of Automation & Customization in RightAngle Implementation

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The Power of Automation & Customization in RightAngle Implementation

Maintaining a robust system is essential in the ever-evolving landscape of energy trading and risk management (ETRM). RightAngle, a flagship solution by ION, has been a linchpin for organizations navigating the complexities of commodity trading. However, as technology and business processes evolve, organizations must grapple with maintaining and updating older versions of RightAngle. In this article, we delve into strategies for maximizing the value of an existing RightAngle implementation, particularly for legacy versions, where patching for core functionality is less feasible.

The Patching Predicament One of the components of software’s intrinsic value is its ability to evolve and adapt to the dynamic needs of its users. However, the reality for organizations working with older versions of RightAngle is that patches are not available for their versions. ION's focus on providing patches primarily for the most current production release leaves older versions vulnerable, lacking the latest features, security enhancements, and bug fixes.

For this discussion, older versions refer to major production releases made available to customers at least two years before the current production release. While still very capable of supporting an organization’s ETRM processes, these versions miss the ongoing improvements and adjustments that ION deploys to enhance the performance and security of RightAngle.

In some cases, organizations with older versions in production might have access to specialized SQL scripts from ION to address core data issues. However, obtaining a comprehensive patch or core code fix tailored to older versions remains an unlikely prospect. This necessitates exploring alternative avenues to extract maximum value from existing RightAngle implementations.

Strategies for Value Addition With the understanding that patching of core functionality is not available for older versions, organizations must look towards customizations, automation, and integration of new technologies to maximize the value of their RightAngle implementation. These strategies are relevant to any version of RightAngle but are particularly useful regarding older versions.

1) Custom Reports: Bridging Functionality Gaps

An effective way to add immediate value to an older version of RightAngle is by creating custom reports that bridge the gap between the software's existing reporting functionality and your organization's specific needs. By leveraging the flexibility of custom reports, you can tailor the output to provide the insights and information that are most relevant to your business. These reports are a powerful tool for optimizing decision-making processes, identifying trends, and improving operational efficiency. With the ability to generate customized reports, you can unlock the full potential of RightAngle and enhance its value in meeting your organization's unique requirements.

  • Customize core reports Add search criteria, columns, and computed columns, as well as grouping and sorting to core reports. Save the customized reports as local reports available only to the user that created them, or as global reports that are available to all users. Sometimes simple changes can unlock hidden insights into the data.
  • Scheduled Execution and Distribution Automate the execution and distribution of RightAngle reports. Schedule core and customized reports to run once or on a recurring schedule, distribute the exported file as an email attachment or save it in a folder on the local hard drive or file server. RightAngle can export report data in either CSV, Excel, or PDF formats. Scheduled reports ensure timely delivery of critical information to key stakeholders and can provide RightAngle data to external reporting processes for review or to be consolidated with data from other critical applications, like SAP.
  • Export Data for Analysis Use RightAngle reports to retrieve, export, and distribute transactional or aggregated data in Excel or CSV format. Analyze the exported data in Excel or with external analytic tools that support data visualization like Tableau, Power BI, and Alteryx. Develop queries and reports in these external tools to empower users’ in-depth analysis of the RightAngle data. Consider those times when the organization may need to aggregate data in ways not supported by core RightAngle reports, or parse through transactional detail to understand performance bottlenecks. You enhance decision-making capabilities by tailoring analysis and reports to your organization's unique functional and IT technical requirements.

2) Custom Screens: Tailoring RightAngle to Your Needs

Enhancing or adding custom screens and templates is another strategy to extract more value from any version of RightAngle. Customizations within the user interface allow you to tailor the platform to your needs and requirements, providing a more effective and efficient user experience. This level of customization empowers your organization to optimize the use of RightAngle and maximize its potential to drive operational efficiency.

  • Enforce Business Rules with Event-Driven Logic Incorporate event-driven logic in screens to enforce business rules that are not supported by the screen’s out-of-the-box design, such as on-save data validation for critical fields. Customizing screens ensures that RightAngle aligns precisely with your organization's requirements, promoting accuracy and compliance.
  • Support business expansion Add fields to existing templates to support new data requirements. Create new templates to support new products or lines of business. Support data entry and invoicing for new types of deals and products without compromising existing processes.

3) Automating Manual Processes: Efficiency and Accuracy

Manual processes often contribute to inefficiencies and are prone to errors. By automating these processes within RightAngle or with interfaces that automate the transfer of data into RightAngle, you can enhance efficiency and reduce the risk of human error. Automation streamlines repetitive tasks, allowing your team to focus on more strategic activities. With the power of automation, you can improve data accuracy, increase productivity, and ensure consistency in your operations. Use automation to optimize your workflows, save time, and drive better business outcomes.

  • Automate Data Transfers Streamline manual data entry and manual execution of processes that transfer data from existing corporate applications and data providers. For example, use ETL tools to extract the data and transform it into a file with a format that a RightAngle load process can consume. Automate and schedule the ETL processes so that they provide data to RightAngle in time for critical end of day processes and the subsequent core reports. Automation saves time, can support critical reporting, and reduces the likelihood of errors associated with manual handling.
  • Consolidate RightAngle Exports with Corporate Data Use out of the box RightAngle report distribution and scheduled tasks to extract data from RightAngle and distribute it to external applications. These external applications may consolidate data from multiple corporate sources and produce management reports that drive critical decision-making processes. Automation synchronizes data extraction processes with the external report creation.

4) Embracing New Technologies: Reporting and Analysis, Bots and AI

To truly maximize the value of your RightAngle implementation, it is important to consider embracing new and emerging technologies like RPA and AI. These tools can extend the functionality of your RightAngle implementation by allowing the organization to make existing work processes more efficient and implement business controls in ways that the core RightAngle functionality does not support.

  • Automate Labor-Intensive Processes with RPA Technology Tools like Blue Prism can automate repetitive tasks with scripted bots. The bots function as “end users” in the various applications that make up the process flow, from the processes that support data acquisition all the way to data entry in RightAngle. An automated process, or bot, could log into Outlook, open emails, download/open attachments, parse/validate the data, highlight errors for review, log into RightAngle and load the data using the standard RightAngle user interface. Clients have used this type of robotic process automation to process vendor invoices, trades, and financial transactions. Multiple bots could support different business processes, or the same bot might support multiple processes, provided doing so fits within the organization’s segregation of duties and compliance rules.
  • Create Specialized User Interfaces external to RightAngle Consider using tools like Salesforce or Pega to create user interfaces that could support self-service options for customers and vendors, or data entry of critical RightAngle data with review and approval workflows. Processes between RightAngle and the external interfaces could regulate the flow of data and updates between them.
  • Artificial Intelligence The tools mentioned earlier include business-focused AI capabilities. The utilization of AI embedded within software offerings will continue to escalate as technology advances and more AI use cases emerge. Organizations can use business-focused AI capabilities to strategically streamline and improve their operations.

Maximizing the value of an existing RightAngle implementation, particularly for older versions, demands a multifaceted approach. Engaging an expert consultant can provide valuable insights into tailoring RightAngle customizations to address specific organizational needs. This expert guidance ensures that customizations yield immediate benefits and enhance the overall efficiency and accuracy of the system.

In the ever-evolving landscape of ETRM, organizations must recognize the dynamic nature of their organization’s requirements and the impact on their RightAngle implementation. Collaborating with expert consulting firms for ongoing support, customization, and updates ensures a continuous evolution of the system to meet your organization’s needs. By adopting these strategies, businesses can safeguard their investment, guaranteeing that their RightAngle implementation remains an asset that drives operational efficiency and strategic decision-making.

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Kent Landrum

Kent Landrum


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