The latest buzz is all about robots or RPA (Robotic Process Automation) – easily developed and customised code that can be used to perform simple tasks such as processing data. Large system implementations on the other hand tend to be long, complex projects that can take many months, if not years to come to fruition. RPA has massive potential to simplify and enhance Energy Trading and Risk Management (ETRM) systems implementations and we are already starting to see clients use it to enhance functionality and support deliveries. Combining expertise in RPA and ETRM delivery can take it further, building robotics capabilities during the course of a project to bring long term success.
RPA is able to support many areas of ETRM deliveries that are traditionally challenging, for example:
- Nominations and processing of scheduling data
- High volume processing of simple data including confirmations and invoices
- Simple interfaces.
A robotics capability embedded within a project, gives opportunities throughout delivery lifecycle to bring value to almost all stages, from upfront planning, to simplification of post-Go Live workarounds. By using RPA you can reduce initial implementation timelines as well as improve end user experience whilst building a resource that can be used for continuous improvement of the system, long after the initial implementation project has finished.
Target and transitional operating states: There is often a drive to realise benefits of an ETRM project by implementing part, or all of the solution as quickly as possible. We can add RPA to our suite of tools at this stage, taking robots into planning activities – agreeing upfront tactical solutions that would enable a quicker “minimum viable” solution delivery. RPA can be used to avoid complex customisation which can reduce both delivery and support costs. Interfaces are a great use case – existing interfaces can be replaced, or temporary tactical interfaces could be developed that would allow you to phase your project by functionality more easily (e.g. build your trade capture functionality and then use robots to transfer data to legacy support systems). Robots can also be used to support labour-intensive but “project only” activities such data migration, environment deployment, and even automated testing e.g. for quick and reliable regression tests.
During project delivery: An embedded robotics capability can continue to support throughout project delivery, for instance providing lower cost workarounds to functionality that might otherwise have been de-scoped.
Stabilisation period: After Go Live there are often manual activities that were not foreseen or opportunities to make small functional changes to drive larger benefits (such as generating reporting, simple data processing or automated exchange bidding).
Beyond project delivery: As the robotics capability continues to mature, additional opportunities will be identified to simplify and enhance working practises, enabling employees to focus on high value activities well beyond the scope of an ETRM project.
We believe that by thinking strategically the role of robots will become increasingly significant in complex systems deliveries and that the resultant upsides to our clients are significant.