OneCore Global has blended simplified processes and technology to offer solutions for digitalization and straight-through processing (STP) of back-office practices and in-cloud commodity management. The company is leading the digital commodities revolution with patent-pending technology that enables customization of XML formats in energy and commodities markets and offers a unique messaging system allowing to connect commodity traders, sellers and buyers accepting electronic formats. Introducing a matching platform for confirmations and invoices that enables counterparties to customize XML-based data formats to be exchanged based on commodity, region, and even internal system. A fresh new step that Agiboo supports wholeheartedly.
Commodity trading is a volatile business that requires several types of data to be exchanged and confirmed, especially for OTC and physical markets. Yet, unlike the financial and tech sectors, the commodities back office is still slave to lengthy manual processes largely due to the myriad of complex data exchanged between counterparts. We know, because Agiblocks has been battling inefficiency and time-consuming labor during and outside office hours for over a decade now.
OneCore has joined the fight by introducing a solution that supports our endeavors from the perspective of invoices and confirmations. We spoke to founder and CEO Vikas Wadhera in his New York offices about what that implies for your daily routine.
“I spent the last 20 years in commodity trading, so I’ve been around”, says Vikas. “I started OneCore Global a few years ago, based on what I had designed for invoicing. We didn’t start in a garage, but did draw the first design on a dinner napkin at a restaurant in London. It took me about a year to get my concept up and running, and market-ready. It was first launched in September 2019, so a little over a year ago. Through advertising on LinkedIn, several events and conferences and thanks to networking, we’ve now gotten quite some traction.”
In a way, the current pandemic has helped that process along. “All the usual ways and corresponding manual processes came under scrutiny, especially since it became increasingly difficult to work from the office. In these unique circumstances we must focus on maintaining business continuity with utmost ease, reliability and above all timeliness and the least interruptions. The answer lies in “data-driven digital” confirms and invoice exchange and approval where no more faxes, scanners and/or communication via email and phone are required.”
“We got to talking with several European companies looking to digitalize. As far as Agiboo goes, I have known about Agiblocks as a CTRM solution for years. We have always remained in contact, interested to connect somewhere down the line. OneCore and Agiboo offer strikingly complimentary products, so there’s a lot of potential.”
OneConfirm and OneInvoice
“The process of confirmations and invoicing is heavily manual”, continues Vikas. “It’s not only very inefficient, but also difficult to audit and very much prone to mistakes.” That’s why the first solutions OneCore has to offer focus on just that. OneConfirm is basically ‘confirmation as a service’ (CaaS? – although that abbreviation seems to be taken by ‘Compliance’). It seamlessly integrates with E/CTRM systems to allow faster and more accurate confirmation between counterparts. The system allows for trade, price confirmations, trade amendments, and trade optionality declaration.
OneInvoice in turn, invoicing as a service (or quite possibly IaaS?), integrates with E/CTRM as well as accounting systems to avoid costly errors and delays, while also matching and reconciling tedious invoice details. This results in a faster and more accurate settlement process. “Manual intervention for deal processing always results in high labor costs and increases the risk of errors and unintended operational risk. Companies looking to digitalize and streamline that process should look no further.”
“We believe we can help squeezing the payment terms from t+10 or t+20 to under t+5 considering how much time and effort goes by in reconciling data on documents with systems. Reconciliation is a breeze with OneInvoice.”
The Way Forward
“The most innovative step in commodities market processes related to confirmation and invoice data management with counterparts has been to move from sending faxes to pdf documents via email. Cloud technology has allowed to overcome the fear of integration that has been detrimental to innovation thus far. Our platforms provide the “last mile” connectivity and delivery of confirms and invoice data. It’s the way forward.”
Both products, and the later to follow OneX and OneData, link everything and everyone from investment banks and brokers to merchant traders, processors (midstream) and producers (upstream) to streamline all their front and back office interactions. They accept any number of XML data formats between counterparts, manage confirmations related to initial trade, amendments, price fixing and optionality declaration, match bilateral (counterpart) and single-sided (broker/retail) confirms, alert users of incoming data, updates, and status changes in real time, communicate with counter-parts using real-time chat feature and provide a KPI dashboard including Aging Report sneak-peeks. Bottomline: it identifies matches/near matches, captures full data audit, manages internal/external workflow and increases confirmation approval efficiency. What can’t it do?
Electronic vs. Digital: What’s the difference?
Sure, there are somewhat comparable solutions out there. “But the key difference of OneCore Global is this: most of the systems today are merely turning paper documents into electronic format (e.g. pdf docs), for instance on blockchain. It’s more of a document management system. They are changing the way data is stored, where and how. But it doesn’t affect efficiency. They do not enhance efficiency.”
Before going further, we need to understand the difference between ‘electronic’ versus ‘digital’ or ‘data driven’. Sending pdf documents via email may get you a paperless electronic platform but doesn’t make it data driven digital. “Our technology is one hundred percent data-driven. Our primary product is based on the data, not the document. The document is just a second-tier product. The data is what is important.”
“If you’re sending a notice of readiness and have to send a bill of lading, we can do physical documents as well. But here’s the irony: when a trade is entered into a system and becomes data, someone turns it into a document (pdf) and sends that document (via email). The other side reads it and puts it back. Our system bypasses all that, just sends it straightforward. Not just digital, paperless and straight-through processing, but with user-friendly communication and audit features that other solutions are lacking. We can basically eliminate paper as well as email.”
Technologically, the web-based, easily embedded technology shares the same advantages Agiboo as an in-the-cloud solution offers: you get to quickly keep up with developments and, more importantly, you can work from anywhere; at the office or on the road, at home, on any device that has a browser. “Furthermore, by eliminating paper, scanners, printers and the like, we help organizations in commodities markets with their Environmental Social Governance goals as well, and the pace at which they achieve them.”
No More Paper
When Vikas talks ‘no more paper’, he is not kidding around. OneCore Global’s platforms OneConfirm and OneInvoice are available via the one hundred percent web-enabled platform and native iOS & Android Apps.
“For your most impacted business, we can get you up and running within days including providing access to your counterparts. Our flexible data set format allows to meet the needs of any commodity, instrument, confirm type (initial, price fixing etc.) or invoice data granularity (monthly/daily/hourly). Exchange confirms or invoices, communicate with your counterpart and receive alerts all through the portal with full audit.”
But wait, there’s more. OneCore can further streamline the process and help alleviate the pains by on-boarding your company and your counterpart with setup the same day. It can quickly eliminate any roadblocks by transferring confirms and invoices exchange to OneCore Global platforms. And in doing so, eliminate paper from the process as much as possible. No more dependence on fax machines or scanners, which is all the more welcome given the current everybody-works-from-home climate. In the words of S&P’s James Rilett: ‘It’s a miserable thing to be managing emails and pdf documents.’