Covalence

Let's Share

CTRM Radio Episode 2 - CTRM In The Cloud

Sameer, Founder and CEO of Molecule Software, recently joined Patrick Reames and the Commodity Technology Advisory team in their latest podcast to talk about the adoption of cloud technology in the energy trading and risk management industry. As co-host, Dr. Gary Vasey, points out at the beginning of the episode, there are differences in what some vendors mean when they use the term "cloud."

Check out the podcast here.

While the entire podcast is worth listening to, if you want to skip ahead to Sameer's section, start playing at about 7m25s.

Here is what was said in case you prefer to read:

To us, what cloud means is software that works like the other really great software you find on the internet, like Gmail. So, under the hood, that’s a multi-tenant delivery model, that is easy sign up and integration, and that is somebody else monitoring uptime and guaranteeing throughput and really reaping all the benefits of a multi-tenant solution.

Do you find that multi-tenancy capability or delivery model to be an advantage in a sales process?

It depends on the person. If the person is simply wanting to no longer pay for physical servers at their premises, well that’s a hard conversation. However, if the person gets the nuance of what other cloud solutions that are good software on the market do, it’s a much easier conversation. We’ll talk about things like the support that we can provide because we are a cloud solution that’s over-and-above what any single-tenant cloud vendor could do.

A great example is: our support team here in Houston has an automated report that runs every morning that shows them if something didn’t mark. That would be much harder to do with a single-tenant solution hosted on… hosted anywhere. For us, it’s as easy as whipping up a report. We can find out what didn’t mark and potentially fix the problem before our customer even sees it. Or, call them and say “hey, we noticed something weird about your portfolio. Think it might be because of this. Think you might want to fix that.

Many thanks to the ComTech Advisory folks for talking to us about cloud technology. We could talk for weeks on the subject, so look forward to joining you for another episode soon!

ComTech-Podcast-Cloud-CTRM

Two Extra Hours

We give back, starting with our team and our customers. It’s part of our core values. We build beautiful software that puts those hours back into your day that normally evaporate while you struggle to find data in spreadsheets and antiquated software.

One of the most satisfying things one of our customers has told us is that Molecule has given him back two working hours every day! TWO. HOURS. That’s a lot of time.

This got us to thinking: what would we do with 120 extra minutes in our day? So, we surveyed our team, and they had some good ideas. We would love to hear what you would do with Molecule at your disposal, adding two hours per day to spend, as Westley would say, “as you wish.”

Paul | SVP, Software Engineering

The house reno list grows bigger by the week. Tackling this would burn down some of the debt that has built up over the years and earn some points with the wife.

My family and I enjoy athletics, but I'm not always able to make all the different events spread across our three kids. Two extra hours a day would definitely allow me to catch up on some missed family time.

Finally, I would certainly catch up on reading and podcasts that I subscribe to so I can keep the mental muscles in shape.

Krzysztof | Software Engineer

One thing I’d like to do this year, although I don’t know if it’s possible because I don’t speak Japanese, is to try to find some way to teach kids how to write software.

Our society relies on software more and more, and sadly the education system hasn’t caught up with it. But it’s such a fun time to be young. Projects like Raspberry Pi, Arduino, etc. enable anyone to build some really interesting stuff, not just software but hardware. Sadly, the software leaves a lot of room for improvement. I don’t think these sort of things are taught properly. People focus too much on the skill (e.g. here’s how you write some JavaScript) and not enough on the principle and philosophy, which is more important in the long run.

I could probably easily pull this off if I was fluent in Japanese, but since I’m not, I’m going to start with making friends at various meetups here (Hacker News meetup, gaijins in startups, etc.) and take it from there.

In more general terms, just share knowledge.

Kyle B. | Sales

I would go to the gym and get the beach bod I always wanted. I'd go to the grocery store and cook more often. In the summer there would be more time for golf and basketball after work. I'd be able to commit more time to working on a side job, like real estate. Spending more time with family and friends would lead to a happier out of work lifestyle.

Kyle M. | Customer Success

I’d get a hell of a lot of work done building out and then enjoying my garage workshop. And, hopefully be in shape again like I was about 10 years ago.

Mary | Software Engineer

I’d split the time practicing on my piano and guitar. I've always wanted to play a live show, but you’ve gotta get practice in first.

Jeff | Software Engineer

By leaving early, I would be able to beat traffic. Thus, it would end up being more than just two extra non-work hours of my day.

With the extra time, I would have more time for entertainment purposes rather than spending the entire evening finishing up daily chores and maintenance around the house (all while feeling exhausted from the traffic).

Jay | UX Design

Dad of two in middle and high school, we leave the house before sunrise to beat the first bell. After a day of slaying pixels and stylesheets, it's after sunset! Gaining two hours a day just may allow for more time outside to bike, longboard, or skate at the skatepark.

Zeeshan | Customer Success

Two extra non-work hours is more time I have to spend with my loved ones, and to work on improving myself - whether it be physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally. Always strive to be a better individual than you were yesterday.

Dustin | VP, Sales

The dad in me wants to say spend every second with my two boys. But, I also would not mind finally building that brick oven in my backyard for baking sourdough bread. Maybe shake the dust off my drums and bring the skills back up to rock'n'roll days. Naps are amazing too.

Joe | VP, Product Implementation

As a new father, I would spend it with my son. Or sleep. I need so much sleep right now.

Melanie | Marketing

So. Many. Options. Write, read, spend more time learning Italian (DuoLingo is great, but I could do so much more!), see friends more often, learn to cook without starting a fire, and oh, and exercise. Ummmm, I might need five hours rather than two.

Kicking off 2018

The first week of January is behind us, and like many of you, the end of the year/start of another year has us reviewing the progress we made and highlights we shared as a team in 2017. We are also looking at what is going to take us to the next level in 2018.

Here are some of the awesome things that happened by and to Molecule last year:

Dustin Whipple, our VP Sales, joined our company. He’s joined me on trips to Boston and Chicago (where we got to see BOB FREAKING WOODWARD speak!). We also worked ETOT together in London in November and led a workshop on cloud technology. If you haven’t met Dustin yet, you should email him at dustin@molecule.io.

At the end of the year, Molecule found a new home. We’re loving our new digs. And, not just because our new digs come with donuts. The new space will work well for us as we scale up our team.

Our developers and technical talent really help Molecule offer a powerful product in energy trading - and did they ever work hard last year! We rolled out new features like automating your VaR calculations and reconciliations, and we added business intelligence reports. To help our users get up and running with VaR, and to help the market broadly with thinking through how to automate VaR calculations, we hosted a webinar this summer with Dr. Ehud Ronn, a professor at the University of Texas. You can check out the webinar here.

Have I mentioned that we recently won two new clients direct from some of the biggest players in the industry? I’m pumped because (1) our team is awesome and they put their hearts and sweat into making our customers happy and (2) we’ve noticed a shift in the market. People are starting to recognize that cloud is better than on-prem technology for energy trading! Long may that trend continue.

So, what to expect in 2018?

At Molecule, our team will continue to grow with people who are awesome at what they do and fit with our core values.

We have a lot of new features on our roadmap that we will build and rollout. Expect Molecule to be a different beast in 2018. Rawr. It will be easy to argue that we should be a part of every future ETRM discussion.

We’ll also be checking out lots of industry conferences again - both in the US and overseas. So, be on the lookout for these guys:

ETOT2017

Looking more broadly at energy trading generally. Because the S&P 500 has grown so much, it is becoming an attractive market for investors. The barriers to entry for commodities is making it less attractive, so we think some funds will face this challenge in the coming year. We’re also expecting to see more market certainty, so there should be more stability in 2018.

We’d love to know what you’re expecting to see. Always feel free to get in touch and share your thoughts. You can head over to our LinkedIn page to connect with our team and other people who are passionate about energy trading, technology, and risk management.

On behalf of the Molecule team, have a great 2018! And don’t go on-prem...

HolidayParty2017

You Buy Now!!!

Are you weighing options for implementing a new risk management platform for your energy trading operations in 2018? You may be considering developing proprietary software or looking at options available on the market. This means you face the build vs buy dilemma.

You may quickly feel like you are comparing apples to oranges, but we are here to help you understand the tradeoffs between these two options and decide which is best choice for your company.

Here are the most important five questions to ask when deciding whether your firm should build a risk management platform (or spreadsheets) or buy an existing software platform.

What are your technical requirements: Do you want a lot of customization? Do you need 99.9999% uptime?

Do you use proprietary valuation calculations that are different than commonly used ones? (PS…. YOU DON’T.) Do you need or want extremely customized software that accommodates 100% of your deals? Do you expect your software to perform like it’s been lean/six sigma mega-optimized for efficiency?

Yes? Your two best options are to either build your own software platform or buy one of our legacy competitors. Then hire consultants. Then be prepared to spend millions (sometimes even billions -- you know who you are).

98% good enough? You have lots of great out-of-the-box options! These may run on Amazon Web Services or other true-cloud solutions, which is considered best-in-class technology.

How quickly do you want to use the software?

When it comes to the time required to implement a new software solution, not all solutions are created equal. You could be up and running within 90 days, or you might be looking at a process spanning several years. Eek!!

2 years from now would be fine. Building would work. Or working with those costly consultants that will help set you up with a legacy vendor.

ASAP with as few hiccups and headaches as possible? Buy! You could be enjoying your new risk management platform in as few as 90 days.

How much budget can you allocate to this project?

Traditional IT-thought suggests that buying software is cheaper than building your own. However, this is not true if you buy one of the large, legacy vendor’s solution. It is not cheaper. There are some infamous implementations that cost over $20 million. 20 million eeks!!

We have about $20 million to invest. Yup - build or buying a legacy option could be the way to go.

Why do we have to pay to get setup on software we’re buying? We agree. There is a strong off-the-shelf option for you.

How big is your company?

The size of your company influences how many deals you track and how many people need access to the system. This increases the complexity of what needs to be tracked and what functionality is “enough” for your team.

Giant - Build or buy...

A Giant in Spirit but not in Numbers - Buy!

Does your IT department have extensive experience managing large, custom software projects?

Yes? Then your team could potentially build this out for you.

No? Don’t risk bad software. Buy a great option.

But, don’t buy legacy…

Honestly, if you decide that buying is the right path for you, don’t buy a legacy software product. You’ll end up hiring consultants anyway. Implementing their product, which inevitably will not meet 100% of your needs will cost just as much and take just as long (if not cost more and take longer) than simply building the perfect solution for your own organization. If you’re as unique as a snowflake and need a solution that reflects that, go be a snowflake and build your snowflake software.

Did you find out that you fall on the buying end of the spectrum? Get in touch with our team to discuss what options are available and would be best for your company.

For a Successful Implementation, call...

One of our customers’ favorite parts about working with Molecule is our unique implementation process. Here are a few things that stand out:

  • We don’t charge an implementation fee.
  • We set up the system for you - meaning you don’t have to hire consultants (Was that your brain we could hear saying ‘cha-ching?’)
  • Most of our implementations are completed in less than 90 days -- including your team feeling comfortable using Molecule’s software!

Sound too good to be true? Well, hopefully you’ll believe us as we walk through you through our process for getting customers set up on Molecule.

OUR IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS

For an exchange-trading account.

Step 1: Kickoff meeting

Estimated Time: Day 1
Key Components: Our team meets with your team in a big risk automation extravaganza. We walk through a project plan with you and talk about the details of your implementation.

Step 2: Paperwork

Estimated Time: Days 1-7
Key Components: We start setting up your portal, but the main work is to get paperwork sorted with exchanges and vendors so that Molecule has permission to start receiving data on your trades.

Step 3: Connectivity

Estimated Time: Days 5-30
Key Components: Your trades start flowing into Molecule. We start to build your positions and compare to your end-of-day FCM positions. By the end of this phase, most of our reports are running accurately.

Step 4: Verification

Estimated Time: Days 31-60
Key Components: This is the stage when we have lots of interaction with you. We verify positions and analyze P&L. We set up your VaR components if you need them. We train your team and they start to build reports so you get comfortable with the system during this stage.

Step 5: Wrap-Up

Estimated Time: Days 60-90
Key Components: If there are development requirements or customizations to your system, these are completed during this stage. Final reports are created for you, and voila! You’re all finished!

Seriously. 5 steps and you’ll be set up with your risk automation system. Plus, you’ll hear from us at least twice a month with updates on how your implementation is progressing.

RED FLAGS & SOLUTIONS

Situation: Specific trades don't flow into Molecule.

Solution: We are building out functionality into our platform to accommodate firms that use a clearing broker to execute trades (on the broker's account), as is common with traditional petrochemical companies.

Situation: Sometimes getting documents from the exchanges at the beginning of the implementation phase causes a bottleneck.

Solution: We understand this isn’t something that you do every day, so we’re here to help with that step of the process to make it as easy as possible! You can also help us along by getting contacts at the FCM that Molecule can talk to directly.

Situation: Different people at our customers' firms have different opinions on setup, reporting, etc.

Solution: We recommend you designate one point person who can act as the project manager and single point-of-contact. This tends to be a middle-office operations person who can call the shots at your firm.

WHAT'S NEXT?

Let’s get going with your implementation. FYI - if we get started now, you should be set up by the end of January. What a great way to start 2018, ammirite?! Shoot us an email at sales@molecule.io and let’s chat about your specific project.