How weird is it that we’re already coming to the end of yet another year? We’re moving forward, ever forward, at a remarkable pace, getting ready to say goodbye to 2021 while starting to welcome in 2022. Of course, that feeling that at times the clock has stopped altogether on several occasions over the last almost two years doesn’t really affect reality. Still, it’s strange.
In the bigger picture, 2020 and 2021 might not have been our best years, generally speaking. At Agiboo, we’ve seen our fair share of difficulties as well. Yet, we are hopeful for the future. The industry has seen some major challenges, fueled by – as well as giving way to – rapid changes. The pandemic and all of its implications notwithstanding, the world of CTRM systems has seen an increasing need to adapt to ever-developing markets. In that regard, it has been a good year. We’d like to reflect on that a little more here, today, before really getting ready to turn 2021’s final pages.
First of all, technology has been at the forefront of many of the adaptations we’ve witnessed over the course of these last few years – and especially the last 21 months, when our lives were upended and we were all adapting, in one way or another. Within our industry, there has been a trend towards greater flexibility in CTRM software solutions for a while now. Not too long ago, only the big firms could have it all in terms of scalability and flexibility of software solutions, as they had the time and resources to build their own platforms. Thanks to the modern approach of CTRMs as an ecosystem as well as the availability of cloud service, those previous luxuries are now commonplace.
Furthermore, Agiboo has decided years ago to migrate CTRM architecture to easily accessible cloud services, while platforms on client/server or Java.net need to seriously rewrite their software to keep up with the times. The system architecture has been developed in a specific and flexible technology stack to allow superior performance in both a hosted environment and a traditional on-premises arrangement. With web-based access and a modern user interface, working with Agiblocks offers a fluid experience that people expect in today’s web and mobile environments. You can read all about it here.
Tech in the market for CTRM software is booming once again, and the technology stack is becoming part of the selection criteria again, as we’ve explained in an interview with Commodity Technology Advisory. Moreover, the modern user wants to do much more portfolio analysis than they used too, while more and more is known about the complexity of derivates in the commodity trade. That’s why we’ve recently added two very interesting new features in Agiblocks: tools for both OTC contracts and What-If Analysis.
A contract is not written from scratch for every single transaction. Usually, a standard contract from a leading company is used as the basis for an individual contract. Thus, a contract is relatively standard, except for certain aspects. Its value is determined by fluctuations in the underlying asset. An over-the-counter (OTC) contract is a financial contract that is arranged between two counterparties with minimal intermediation or regulation. They are quite complex, as there are no standard methods to evaluate them – they can be tailored to the needs of each party. Agiblocks can now help you do so.
As we’ve said, there are two major additions to the Agiblocks dashboard in terms of technological improvements that help traders oversee their portfolio and manage their risk. That second feature is the introduction of proper tools for what-if analysis. A what-if or sensitivity analysis is a powerful decision-making tool that helps you to understand what kind of business impacts can arise from dynamically changing one or more variables, greatly assisting you in risk management decisions. There are many, many different aspects to deal with all at once – ranging from physical commodities, commodity trading and speculative trading to commodity logistics and finance and risk management. We’ve got you covered.
We’re also quite happy to tell you about an interesting new partnership we’ve struck up in 2021. We’re always finding new ways to improve upon our flagship software solution, of which we’ve just offered a few examples. Last summer marked a big step on that path, as we’re now partnering up with Tradesparent, the renowned specialist in Risk & Margin Management, for a proposition that offers a textbook 1+1=3 scenario.
It’s no secret Agiblocks is a CT-solution first and foremost, as it was designed by trade professionals, for trade professionals, to simply their daily practices and make their fixed routine more efficient. Yes, it focuses on risk management as well, and yes, there are some great tools for market analysis – again, we’ve just covered some of them. Tradesparent however does not focus on CT and is by design always reliant on integration outside CTRM or ERP solutions – which every company in our business already has, whether it be Agiblocks, Brady, SAP or whatever. RM is where Tradesparent really shines, through its exposure modeling capabilities with sophisticated risk metrics that enable prediction of performance volatility under complex market conditions. Tradesparent offers real-time VaR, stress testing to limit structure and option analytics. Furthermore, data ingestion and normalization are their core strengths. Risk management through best-of-class data management is why companies come to Tradesparent – and why they stay.
The partnership is perfectly complementary: Agiboo is very strong in CT, whereas Tradesparent offers advanced risk management (RM) tools way beyond the scope of Agiblocks, among other benefits. If you have previously missed the update about our partnership and want to find out what it all means for risk management in the commodity trade industry, you can read the full story here. Or contact us directly, of course.
According to industry statistics, there’s about a 75 percent failure rate in the first year when implementing a new CTRM solution. That means only 1 in 4 succeed(!). Moreover, studies show it’s not due to the product, but rather to the implementation. The adoption of the new system. At Agiboo, we too believe that the success of a CTRM system depends on an effective implementation. Therefore, we’ve made it our mission to not only provide a best in class software solution, but an appropriate support system for accessible, successful implementation as well. As a result, Agiblocks scores an impressive 93 percent success rate thanks to the scale, functionality and connectivity of our solution.
Before you even choose to implement our CTRM solution, we can start you off with an extensive (and free) demo of all the basics, to help you make the transition into a more efficient daily routine. Then there’s the continuously updated Commodity Knowledge Center on our website to help you along. There’s a whole library of useful information and whitepapers, and we do videos as well. In the Spring of 2021, we’ve launched our second season of Agiblocks Tutorials. That didn’t go unnoticed by our friends over at CTRMCenter, as we were approached about the virtues of education and passing along expertise. “While plainly, the videos serve to promote Agiboo and its flagship product, Agiblocks, the intent behind them is to help educate and preserve industry knowledge”, says Gary Vasey.
Possibly the single most important entry on our website in 2021 though, at least from the perspective of Agiblocks and all the current features and possibilities our flagship CTRM software offers, is the latest version of our product sheet.
Agiblocks. What is it? What does it do? Why should I get on board – right now? That’s why we thought it was high time to update our Agiblocks product sheet, so that we can offer you a comprehensive overview of all that our CTRM software solution has to offer, including the latest technological innovations, in one convenient, complete and easily accessible document. Download our Agiblocks product sheet here!
Listicles and favorites
December is the month of listicles, because everybody loves to reflect on the year that is (almost) past us and look back on some of its highlights – whether it be your favorite moments, the best albums you’ve discovered or the greatest movies you’ve seen. In terms of Agiboo listicles – a listicle is a short-form of writing that uses a list as its thematic structure – we’ve already published a few of them throughout the year, such as 15 interesting facts about grains or our fun facts about cotton. When it comes to favorite content though, if we were to rank our articles based on impact, response from the market and overall contentment, we would definitely save on of the top spots for our interview with Carlos Schröder-Castendyck, one of the partners of Albrecht & Dill.
Albrecht & Dill specializes in the trade of raw cocoa beans and cocoa products, supplying both the chocolate manufacturing industry as well as companies using semi-finished products. In order to take their commodity trading and risk management to the next level, they have turned to Agiblocks as an answer for their CTRM software needs. We sat down with Carlos, the designated expert to lead the transition of an Agiblocks CTRM implementation. “An expert? You give me too much credit! I like to work with intuitive smart systems, whether at work or at home.” Agiblocks fits that bill, it seems. You can read all about it here.
Another favorite, or at least something we’re very proud of, is the fact that we finally got around to placing our preferred commodities on the pedestal they deserve. As you might already know, Agiblocks focuses on all soft agricultural commodities, but it is no secret that our CTRM has its roots in four ‘favored’ commodities: Sugar, Coffee, Cocoa and Grains. That’s why our solution has unique features to cater to these ‘specialized commodities’. In an effort to shed some light on the unique futures we offer that elevate those commodities to the ‘special’ level to make sure Agiblocks is indeed your go-to CTRM solution if you’re in the business of buying, selling or trading any of them, we’ve addressed all four in detail. Now, we understand the scope of these articles – and indeed the whole of our online Commodity Knowledge Center – is quite extensive. That’s why we’ve summarized the most important notes on the individual commodities into one convenient whitepaper that covers all four – and what it means in the context of working with them in Agiblocks.
Now, to wrap up our final post of the year: we wish you and yours all the best for the new year. Here’s to everything we could ever hope for in 2022, without all the stumbling blocks of 2020 but with all the steps forward and new realities of 2021. See you on the other side!