Usability of Commodity Trade and Risk Management Solutions

Over the last 15-years or so, most commercially available Commodity Trade and Risk Management (CTRM) software solutions have struggled to properly engage their users. Even though these systems have evolved somewhat from static screens that a user tabs through entering data, to more ‘user friendly’, often Excel-like, blotters, the user is often presented with a single way in which to enter data. The user becomes a data entry clerk. Not surprisingly, it took many years to get traders to enter their own transactions and in some instances, they still prefer not too.

What is usability though? What makes a system usable? Good usability requires that the software be easy to navigate, have a decent layout, be consistent across all screens, and be informative and useful to the user. The 2013 EnergyRisk survey suggested that dissatisfaction with the speed and usability of an existing software system is still the biggest driver (54%) behind the decision to purchase a new system or upgrade. Ease of use has always been a highly desired feature in many CommodityPoint surveys as well.

Some systems now allow some degree of configurability such that a user can modify a data entry screen, personalize it and add it to a group of screens that they can use. The screen can be set up in the way that the user feels most comfortable with in terms of data attributes and may use default values to reduce the number of keystrokes. While this undoubtedly helps, it only solves one problem, which is getting data into the system. We are still left with ways to obtain value from that captured data.

Valuable data

To get value from the data, another set of screens are often used. These may be known as dashboards or reports but they offer an alternative view of the data in the system at some level of consolidation and often do so graphically for ease of use and understandability. The user can then drill down into the consolidated data to investigate an anomaly or something of interest. Although some E/CTRM software solutions now offer dashboards and almost all offer reporting screens, these are often pre-canned with little or no ability on the part of the user to modify them. The use of graphics is also still a relatively new phenomenon.

True Usability

In order to truly gain value from the investment in an E/CTRM solution, they should be usable. For Agiboo, usability means that screens are designed to be intuitive, configurable and personalizable requiring fewer keystrokes to capture data and to view business information. Usability improves the user’s experience with the software leading to better acceptance and fewer errors. More understandable user interfaces also reduce the training time required for users to get up to speed with the system. Furthermore, good usability improves the users’ ability to perform analysis and obtain the information they need to make better business decisions. Take a look at the video introduction to Agiblocks to see this in action.

Interactive demo

Want to get your own impression of Agiblocks and experience how this solution can help you in your commodity trade and risk management? Visit Agiblocks Interactive where you can try out the unique and innovative user-interface and get an impression of the revolutionary working method of Agiblocks.

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The Commodity Trade and Risk Management can be seen from three different views: TradingMarket and Risks.  

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