Keeping your ETRM platform updated is a must, not just a nice-to-have. With ever-shifting energy and commodity markets and the inherent volatility you’ve come to expect, the status quo ETRM that got you here won’t get you far. As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, “The only constant is change.” If your ETRM platform cannot easily adapt to changes, your company will also get left in the dust.
That’s why the best ETRM platforms prioritize automatic updates. What’s the alternative? Well, let’s just say that some legacy ETRMs require you to not only install updates manually but pay for them, as well. The result? You're stuck with an outdated platform, integrations on the verge of breaking, and little flexibility. That's no defense against today's market volatility and the need for digital transformation.
So, how does your current ETRM solution stack up with automatic updates at no additional cost?
Let’s explore the benefits of an ETRM platform with automatic updates, walk through the stages of finding a new ETRM, and learn how automatic updates can transform your experience moving forward.
How do SaaS ETRM software updates compare to on-prem platforms?
Whether you invest in a SaaS or on-prem ETRM provider determines how they handle updates. SaaS ETRM platforms operate on a shared infrastructure, which means:
- The vendor implements updates, not an internal IT team
- You don't have to pay additional costs for updates
- Vendors push updates to every customer at once
- New updates don't take months to implement
- Automated testing immediately notifies vendors of any issues
If you're considering a new ETRM, let's set the scene: You're ready for a new ETRM platform. Your current one is lagging and not meeting your needs, or maybe it's costing your team too much time and money. Either way, you want to ensure your next system is more efficient and adaptable to your business requirements.
So, what's a critical key to finding a sustainable, adaptable ETRM platform? Automatic updates. Here's why.
Step 1: Evaluating ETRM Platforms
Let's set another scene: You stumble across ETRM Company 1. You check out the website, and it seems promising. The vendor offers an on-prem ETRM with physical and financial deal capture and front-to-back office functionality. You like what you see and add them to your list of potential options.
Later that week, you find another option, SaaS ETRM Company 2. They offer similar features to ETRM Company 1 but operate on a SaaS infrastructure. You add them to your list, as well, along with some other options.
Step 2: Choosing your next ETRM platform
You and your team narrow your list to four ETRMs, which include ETRM Company 1 and SaaS ETRM Company 2. You schedule a demo with each company. Your first demo is with ETRM Company 1. The demo goes well, and the software appears to have everything you need. Later, you have your demo with SaaS ETRM Company 2. Their ETRM has similar functions to the first one, but the major difference is they provide automatic updates every two weeks.
Your team decides that your top choices are ETRM Company 1 and SaaS Company 2. You talk with the sales teams to determine pricing and implementation. Both companies give you a similar quote.
One subtle difference can make or break your next couple of years (or longer!). Since Company 2 has a SaaS product with packages, they can include implementation and maintenance fees in their quote.
Now for the moment of truth: Which software vendor will you choose?
Stage 3: Implementing your new ETRM platform
Let's say you choose ETRM Company 1 because they're an established vendor in the industry. Now, it's time to start implementation.
With vendor support, your IT team starts to implement your new ETRM. Soon, you learn that some of the features you saw during the demo will cost your team more time and resources than you accounted for. You may need to upgrade to access it, or you have to build an additional workflow to connect endpoints.
Since you had your share of roadblocks, implementation goes way longer than expected. Even worse, you had to invest more money than was allocated in your budget. It's been nearly a year, and you don't see an end to implementation.
Stage 4: Post-Implementation
Flash forward to the coming months with your new ETRM platform – you survive implementation. Despite the issues, your new ETRM works well for your team. A system update is available, but your team can't allocate any more money since implementation exceeded your budget.
Even though you don't have the newest version, it doesn't pose any issues to your team... at least, not yet. Until one day, you notice a Microsoft or other backend software update has broken the interoperability with your ETRM. Or, your vendor may tell you that your team needs to pay to upgrade; otherwise, they'll no longer offer you support.
Either way, you have to allocate even more time and resources to your ETRM than you originally factored into your budget or calendar. Just how long will these upgrades take? In some cases, anywhere between six months to a year. That lengthy upgrade time causes you to exceed the support hours outlined in your contract. So, what does that mean for your team? That's even more unexpected money you have to pour into your ETRM.
Now, you have the latest software version, whether your vendor forced you into the update or your team needed it for your day-to-day responsibilities. You quickly notice that the software upgrade offered few improvements your team hadn't solved already. So, was it worth it? Although it's currently up-to-date, it could only be a matter of time before you need another update.
How do the best ETRM platforms handle upgrades?
All of this to say, automatic updates are important because you don't have to waste your time, money, and support hours upgrading your ETRM. After all, aren't upgrades vital to any modern software?
With the best ETRM software, upgrades are just part of the package. Implementation runs quicker and smoother, and updates are frequent and seamless. That means you don't have to worry about the flexibility or interoperability of your system.
If there's an issue, a SaaS ETRM vendor will fix it for every customer on the application at once. The best ones will find a solution and push an update out before you're aware of a problem. That means no wasted time or money on useless upgrades and support hours. Instead, you can allocate those resources elsewhere to maximize your team's efficiency.
Although automatic updates don't seem like a significant differentiator between software vendors, they can drastically transform how you manage the trades and risk in your portfolio. There's no need to worry about upgrades with a vendor that handles everything for you.
If you think you’re ready for a better trading risk management solution, we suggest the following blog posts to help you navigate your move to a more modern ETRM:
- How Legacy ETRMs Stand in the Way of Digital Transformation
- The Business Value of Moving to a Multi-Tenant SaaS ETRM System
- How Much Does ETRM Software Cost in 2023?
To learn how a modern ETRM system with automatic updates transforms customer experiences, check out our latest case study.