A lot of companies talk about the cloud. Usually, that just implies their systems are in the cloud and not on on-location servers. With Agiblocks, you can actually work from the cloud – 24/7, anywhere, on any device that has a browser. Why? Because we understand how important it can be that you have quick access and get to keep up with developments in real-time to check and adjust your position, whatever the situation may be. Also, we were one of the first to do it.
We’d love to take you through it.
An intrinsic knowledge of commodities and understanding what working in the commodity trading industry is like are key – or rather essential – elements in our business. Over time, the Agiboo team expanded to include a variety of international professionals with extensive expertise in commodity business processes. But adopting the many benefits of working from the cloud? That has been part of our DNA since day one. We’ll start at the beginning, but feel free to skip ahead to the section on Agiblocks Cloud Skills for the latest news.
The combination of decades of experience in commodity trading with technology-savvy developers has resulted in the uniqueness of Agiblocks, a revolutionary CTRM software solution that matches the initial vision of Agiboo’s founder. Developed from the ground up using .NET, C# and standard Microsoft systems, Agiblocks takes full advantage of web- and cloud-enabled technologies. With web-based access and a modern user interface, working with Agiblocks offers the same fluid experience within a CTRM that people expect from today’s web and mobile environments. In 2011, we’ve opened our first office in the Netherlands with early adopter initiatives for cocoa, coffee and sugar. We started with focused industry CTRM for these first commodities, but soon expanded to grains, cotton and various other agricultural, soft commodities (these days, we even cater to bio fuels!).
When we started to develop Agiblocks, we adopted a modern technology stack and designed the software to be deployable either in a traditional on premises model or as SaaS or hosted software. As early as 2014, we started to offer the SaaS/hosted version of the software to the market in response to both demand and the benefits of the model. Which is why we were able to roll out Agiblocks CTRM as a commercial product in the cloud in 2015.
Speaking of history, there has probably never been more pressure on CEO’s and CFO’s to boost productivity and growth than right now – as most modern business are racing their competitors to move forward. Central to that move is keeping the eye on the ball – or more specifically, the position of the company. However, management is often hampered by outdated technology, incapable of rising to the tasks asked of it.
Complex IT systems built up over many years can include elements that aren’t compatible, or have been patched together rather than streamlined. In order to overcome these challenges, a transition to a unified cloud infrastructure that combines the options and capabilities of on-premise, private and public cloud technology across the entire business may be required. By taking this approach, the CFO will tap into new levels of flexibility and agility, enabling them to deliver on increased expectations from the business.
Pole Position Management
The term position management is definitely important enough in the context of global competition to cover in more detail. Position management is all about quantities and timing. Agiblocks provides real-time position management and shows you whether you are long or short on a certain quality for a specific period in time.
The quality is important as well, as not all your commodities are exchangeable. For example, you can be long on fair-fermented cocoa beans from Ghana and short on well-fermented cocoa beans from Ecuador; you cannot replace one with the other. That is why Agiblocks offers ‘position hooks’, a category defined by quality properties visible in a certain time period. All equal qualities for a period are automatically calculated to one position number.
Especially in the current geopolitical situation, it’s more important than ever before to have a steady grip on your position, as the markets are quite volatile. It’s becoming more and more important to be on top of your risk profile.
In Agiblocks, you can dive into all underlying contracts and deliveries which will show you the build-up of that particular position. Moreover, the futures position is also visible, informing you immediately if you are properly hedged – or not. Whereas position management is all about quantities, ‘mark to market’ is all about the finances. A mark to market-view provides the valuation of all assets and gives you in addition an unrealized P&F, profit and loss. The mark to market in Agiblocks considers all assets; physical, inventory, derivates such as options, futures and OTC’s, and so on. It allows you to quickly grasp your overall unrealized P&L, grouped by commodity or even by counterparty – while your ubiquitous access to Agiblocks (wherever, whenever) allows you to make adjustments.
Agiblocks offers position management based on real time transaction and market data through interactive smart screens. These screens can even be customized on a company and/or a user level, allowing to adapt the information to individual requirements. Additionally, these screens offer users the opportunity to drill down from the aggregated Physical Position and Mark to Market into the underlying contract data.
Agility behind the wheel
Data is the lifeblood of effective decision-making in commodity trading. A CTRM system acts as a data hub, consolidating and analyzing vast amounts of information. By harnessing powerful analytics tools, you can gain valuable insights into supply and demand dynamics, market trends, and trading patterns. Armed with this knowledge, you can make data-driven decisions that maximize trading opportunities and optimize profitability. Whether it’s identifying potential arbitrage opportunities or optimizing pricing strategies, a CTRM system equips you with the tools to stay ahead of the competition.
Mitigating risks is crucial for successful commodity trading. A CTRM system empowers businesses with real-time market data, advanced analytics, and robust reporting capabilities. Armed with this information, you can better understand and manage risks associated with commodity trading. By monitoring price fluctuations, tracking market trends, and assessing portfolio performance, you can make informed decisions to hedge positions effectively and implement risk mitigation strategies. This proactive approach to risk management enhances your ability to navigate volatile markets and safeguard your profitability.
Agiblocks Cloud Skills
Agiblocks CTRM can be made available in a classic server on site set up, sure, but as more and more clients have requested us to deliver it including the Microsoft Server and/or SQL platform (Platform as a Service) or in a hosted environment (Infrastructure as a Service), we started to provide whatever is needed. Each of these infrastructure services are tailored to specific client needs and, when hosted, are scalable to their changing needs. Our technical consultants guide our clients in tuning the infrastructure to their needs and support them in integration and or migration projects when these come up.
We’ve started to offer all this in 2015, almost a decade ago. Imagine how things have improved since. Especially now that we’ve launched Agiblocks 4.0 over the summer, to provide a version of our CTRM solution that matches how we’ve always envisioned the full potential of our flagship software. Among many other new features, we can now truly provide live, real-time profit and loss statements and live margination, which allows you to properly anticipate margin calls – and act accordingly.
One important benefit of Agiboo’s Azure cloud infrastructure is the fact that it provides connectivity to a whole range of microservices and integrations, including the main ERP solutions, numerous accounting packages, container management, digital signature apps, data sources, analytics, and reporting. Additionally, Agiboo has partnered with value-added strategic partners such as Agflow (to automate market premiums and cut down data collection time), Tradesparent (advanced RM features to take commodity management to the next level), Loqsea (in order to add real-time risk management) and many more, which provides further benefits to our customers. Did you know we have connectors for MS Business Centra of l? and support the many benefits of PowerBI as well?
In fact, as a true native Cloud Commodity management infrastructure, Agiblocks opens up all the key aspects of the cloud – including for instance Kubernetes, the open-source platform that manages containerized workloads and services. It allows for declarative configuration and automation and has a growing ecosystem. While Docker is a containerization platform used by many of our competitors, Kubernetes is an orchestration tool that manages multiple containers. Docker provides a simple way to create and deploy containers, while Kubernetes provides more advanced functionality for managing containers at scale.
In Agiblocks, we use Kubernetes (or K8s) as it allows us to deploy cloud-native applications anywhere and manage them all exactly the same. Kubernetes handles the work of scheduling containers on a cluster while also managing the workloads. It offers several of the same benefits we strive for in Agiblocks, such as its huge scalability potential.
K8s’ ability to run containers on one (or several) public cloud environment(s), in virtual machines or bare allows you to deploy it almost anywhere. Deployment which in turn is made easier and faster for companies taking advantage of multiple cloud providers, allowing for growth without readjusting architecture. Moreover, as Kubernetes has drastically innovated said architecture as well as development and deployment, you can scale a lot quicker than you might be accustomed to, while its high availability at both the application and the infrastructure levels ensures accessibility and continuity. The key focus is to have software development and operations working together, so task management and performance are a huge part of the architecture and design – which is how we like it.
Agiblocks Technology microservices on managed containers
- Vertical microservices
- Messages, JSON, RabbitMQ, OData SQL Azure & Atlas MongoDB
- Linux and Windows containers
- Container orchestration on server cluster Connectors and API’s
- .NET Core
Our brand symbol, the hare, epitomizes agility, often considered nature’s swiftest and most nimble creature. While it might raise eyebrows when talking technology, think of Agiblocks’ functionality akin to that of a race car – both championing speed, control, and efficiency. In other words, very much suited to the task of staying ahead of the competition.
Meanwhile, it’s not just about winning a single race; it’s about sustained excellence. In both the racing and CTRM spheres, the real challenge lies in maintaining agility and ensuring consistent performance. This agility lets you enhance the primary version with new features, whether it’s tweaking a car’s suspension or enhancing a software application. Balancing innovation with maintaining the integrity of the foundational architecture often poses challenges. With Agiblocks, we’ve stayed true to our initial promise of leveraging the latest technologies while staying agile – a promise our users reap benefits from every day.
Discover the lead you can take with Agiblocks
Agiblocks is fresh, innovative and very much remains future-proof – as the release of the 4.0 version of our flagship software can attest. It ticks all the boxes. It’s the way ahead if you’re looking for a stable and cost-effective solution for all your daily CTRM needs. Find out for yourself and start optimizing your daily workflow in 2024 and beyond! | Show me!