While integrated C/ETRM systems have been commercially available for over two decades, they haven’t eliminated the usage of spreadsheets. And they won’t as business users in the commodity trading space will tell you so. According to a 2017 survey conducted by Comtech Advisory, spreadsheets were simply deemed faster and easier to use for certain tasks. At the same time, there is recognition that in a world of fast-moving markets, affected by multiple information sources, and subject to regulatory reporting, spreadsheet-based systems lack the controls, increase risk, and can’t deliver management the information for proper decision-making. That brings us to the proverbial title of this blog: if the spreadsheet jockey will not come to the integrated C/ETRM, then the integrated C/ETRM must come to the Spreadsheet!
For the start-up and small enterprise trading firm, a spreadsheet offers a quick and cost-effective route to rudimentary deal capture and position management functionality, typically limited to handful of users only. Similarly, for the legacy-system-user, a spreadsheet offered a way to create workarounds, albeit isolated and disconnected, for functionality that cannot be supported by the legacy system, take too long to build or is too costly. There is no question about the value and power the spreadsheet software holds, and the part it plays in our professional lives. But used in an isolated and disconnected way is no longer sustainable or responsible when considering the lack of controls, risk exposure, and compliance reporting requirements.
Then the challenge is how to enable business users to continue leveraging the flexibility of spreadsheet functionality they know so well for reporting, for reduction of tedious data entry, while ensuring they do this in an environment that is secure, controlled and integrated. For starters, one cannot walk away from establishing a single repository, a single ‘version of the truth’, and this is best achieved with implementing a C/ETRM system. This is a prerequisite for doing business in an era of digitalization, where robotization, external system connections, real-time position management, and trade-surveillance and regulatory reporting can be supported.
Pioneer offers C/ETRM system solutions for small or large companies. Whether on-premise, remotely hosted or in in the cloud as Software-as-a-Service. Implemented by Pioneer staff, or self-configured by the customers. Supporting a variety of commodity classes. Proven and cost-effective. A palette of options!
But for you, the spreadsheet jockey, here is what makes the Pioneer Solutions’ C/ETRM system so compelling: in addition to standard reports and an embedded reportwriter, the system provides our powerful and popular proprietary Excel Add-in module.
When using the Excel Add-in tool, users create a direct and live connection to the C/ETRM system, i.e. as data gets changed in the C/ETRM database, they will change in the spreadsheet as well. Access is controlled utilizing the user access credentials. Similar filtering to the book structure is available, thereby imposing the same user privileges as when working directly in the C/ETRM system. When importing data from within Excel, the system alert and message board functionality picks this up as if it was an entry from within the C/ETRM system.
Pioneer’s Excel Add-in is not to promote the use of spreadsheets but rather to empower the users in a very controlled way. The spreadsheets are integrated within the application to provide an enterprise solution.
Excel Add-in is a power tool that can be used to extend the C/ETRM application by using Excel. You can build reports, extend calculation logic, generate documents, and push data from Excel into ETRM all in secured and enterprise level. As a result, it provides the desired degree of user control, less reliance on the vendor, and therefore a lower total cost of ownership in a very secured and controlled way.