Questions to ask your ETRM vendor – Part 2

If you’re looking for a new ETRM solution, what questions should you be asking potential vendors?

Last month, we posted some technical questions worth asking of an ETRM vendor if you’re considering using their solution.

Today, we answer more key questions that we might be asked by businesses considering our enTrader® ETRM software.

Do you provide and maintain standard reference data, such as products, markets, calendars as part of the software, especially for mapping to trading venues such as Trayport, ICE and EPEX?

Yes. Contigo aims to provide as much of the configuration out-of-the-box as possible for all European Power and Gas markets, including markets, products, commodities, calendars etc. This data configuration is also fully supported and updated as the markets change. Our ETRM system can be operational in a matter of hours.

Why is this beneficial? Some vendors provide a software solution which requires a substantial amount of configuration and customisation in order to operate.

Can your clients develop their own reports, extensions and interfaces without the need to involve the vendor?

As Contigo provides a comprehensive API and a plug-in extensibility framework, we fully support interfaces and extensions being built by our clients and by system integrators. Our objective is for enTrader to be a platform that provides the advantages of both ‘buy and build’ rather than having to make a choice.

Why is this good for a client? Some E/CTRM solutions do not have a comprehensive API; this makes it difficult for third parties to interface or extend the functionality of the system.

If so, is this using an industry standard language and tools (e.g. Java, Python or C#/.NET) or a proprietary language and tools?

Contigo provides an API and extensibility framework in standard SOAP/XML and .NET. Interfaces and extensions can be built using any standard .NET language such as C#. For access to the data, we provide a REST-based API using the OData standard, allowing reporting tools such as Microsoft PowerBI and Excel to not just access the data, but to also understand the relationships between different data sets. We also allow SQL reports using SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) to be developed by the client and embedded within the application or exposed via the REST/OData API to Power BI, Excel and other external reporting tools.

How is this beneficial? Where a CTRM vendor does provide an API or extensibility/customisation capability, it may be in a proprietary or specialised language or development tool. This increases dependency on the vendor and can make it difficult and expensive to find people who are proficient in these tools. 

Is your system designed for the cloud without requiring remote desktop/Citrix capability or requiring direct database access over the internet?

Contigo’s products are web-based and designed for the cloud.  Our cloud offering runs on low cost, shared infrastructure, rather than dedicated infrastructure for each client.  The web application is designed to be secure and performant in an internet/cloud environment.

There is high demand for implementing systems in the cloud and most CTRMs have some sort of cloud offering.  However, some systems may not be web-based and may not have been designed for the cloud.  Many of these systems are deploying a set of virtual machines in the cloud, similar to an on-premise deployment, and require Citrix or Remote Desktop to access the application.  This can be expensive and negates many of the advantages of a cloud solution.

 Any questions?

Choosing a new ETRM software solution can be a big decision. If you have a question you’d want to know if you were considering our ETRM software solutions, we’d be happy to answer it, so please do get in touch.

In the meantime, you can discover more about our scalable and extensible enTrader software solution and its benefits.