Molecule Software Blog

The Molecule Software ETRM/CTRM Blog

Falsehoods About Time in Energy Trading

With Daylight Savings Time starting soon, we've been thinking a lot about time.

At Molecule, we do a lot with power. Which means we do a lot with time zones and hours-of-the-day, and even hours in a day, which – in case you didn't know – varies twice a year, and on a different day in the US and Europe. (Yep, we're talking about the daylight savings time switchover days).

Our lead engineer brought this readme to our marketing team's attention. It reminds me of the hours spent agonizing over the minutiae of time zones, with regards to energy markets. It's worth a read, and I'd like to add a few more Falsehoods About Time:

  1. Hour-Ending fits in a date data type
  2. Power market operators choose time zones based on easy, constant differentials from UTC
  3. Power market operators always choose time zones that line up with their geography
  4. Power markets span single time zones
  5. The DST switchover day is the same in every country
  6. States and municipalities never change their minds about which time zone to be in, when.

Time is just plain hard!

There might be people who believe that we're overcomplicating things with all of these concerns. (Honestly, we originally had some of those concerns as well!). But a key takeaway is, on the day of the DST changeover in a locale – we call that the DST transition day – someone needs to put an hour extra worth of coal in the generator. Or an hour less.

Power itself is complicated to trade. There are myriad contract types and prices across seven ISOs in the US alone. Power itself is complicated post-trade when operations teams have to perfectly balance the grid's supply and demand. And, things are getting more complicated as we introduce more and more types of power like renewables.

So, properly handling time is crucial ETRM functionality, and over-thinking it is absolutely called for when trading power. 1.21 gigawatts/plutonium won't solve this time conundrum, but thoughtful coding and attention to detail will.

Software

Selling Against a Fallacy in ETRM/CTRM Software

One of my favorite things about being a Molecule is that we under-promise and over-deliver. Regularly.

When I'm on a demo with a prospect and they ask for a new feature to be delivered by a particular date? Nope, no can do.

WILL we do it? Maybe. But only via a contract and if our CEO 100% knows we can deliver.

We strive to be honest and factual about our ETRM/CTRM software. What we can and can't do.

Working for a company like this is refreshing - I've worked on the other side of this when it comes to company values.

One thing I've never done in my career is bad mouth a competitor. There's no point. We focus on solving our customers' problems better than anyone else. We trust that our team's integrity is evident.

In this post, let's look at software in general. I've sold a lot of it, so I have outside perspective as well.

Timelines and Costs

In every industry there are companies that bend the rules when answering RFPs, promising a new feature, or even mocking up an 'MVP' and calling it a production feature. Lots of companies promise a timeline for implementation or feature development, and then riddle customers with change orders and blast the implementation costs to the moon.

The ETRM/CTRM industry wrote the blueprint for decades-long implementations that balloon costs into the billions.

Product Quality

I want software to work like technology from Minority Report. But other ETRM/CTRM platforms don't. I've seen them.

Building Trust with Customers

How does Molecule combat our customers' fears of a vendor lying to them? Here are some of the big ways, and we challenge you to ask your vendors to do the same.

  1. If we promise a new feature, we'll tie it to a timeline in the contract. And we meet that deadline.
  2. We are open to Proofs-of-Concept. If we don't meet your requirements, you can walk away. Ask a monopoly to do this. Please.
  3. We do not lie in RFPs.
  4. We provide support our customers adore, with live, full-time Molecule employees. Check out what our users say about our support on Molecule's G2 page.

That being said, we are not perfect. We've missed a deadline before. Every now and then we find a bug. We are humans writing code and running a company with the end goal of making our customers' lives better.

Maybe it's to our detriment that we answer RFPs with total honesty. We lose more of them than we win. But we know this for a fact: companies that choose Molecule come to learn that we strive, on a daily basis, to outperform any other ETRM/CTRM they have ever used–or ever will.

ValuesSalesCost Savings

New Feature: Custom Fields Galore

We're excited to announce our latest new feature: Custom Fields on, like, everything!

Over the last 10 years, we've continually added new attributes to the main models in Molecule: Trades, Counterparties, Products, and Books. Of late, enterprise customers have been asking us for more – specifically, more ways to slice and map data from Molecule. Why?

  1. Custom Grouping of Reports: Large trading organizations often want to group Products or Books, for example, in ways that make sense to them. For example, a group of Books might be part of an Organizational Unit that only one team focuses on. Or, a certain type of Trade might be logically grouped with another type, in a way that only makes sense for that organization.
  2. Mapping to Other Systems: Often, data in Molecule needs to be matched up with data in another upstream/downstream system. For example, Counterparties in an ETRM might be linked to Customers in a GL – and a mapping of names needs to exist somewhere easy.

For Books, Products, and Counterparties

With Custom Fields on almost any object in Molecule, both of these use cases are trivial. Just ask the Molecule team to set up the fields you'd like. After that, go to the relevant Settings screen (Books, Products, Counterparties), find the object you'd like, and click "Edit Custom Fields" on the left, to edit custom fields.

For Trades

For Trades, editing custom fields is even easier and more powerful.

  1. Custom fields show up on only the types of trades you'd like, and are available by clicking the Custom button on the bottom left of a trade.
  2. Molecule can now default the values of Custom Fields on a trade – i.e., to set a value for all Financial Power, to "FINPOW" – based on mappings you provide our team.

In Reporting

Once set up, Custom fields can flow into just about any reporting in Molecule. They show up by default on the new Valuations screen and v2 Valuations API endpoint – and therefore can flow into any reporting attached to them!

Custom Fields are available on all Molecule packages, and we're happy to roll them out for your team. Just reach out to our Customer Success team, to get started.

Molecule is SOC 1 Type 2 and SOC 2 Type 2 Certified

We are proud to announce that Molecule has achieved SOC 1 and SOC 2 certifications, both against the more difficult Type 2 Standard.

While these certifications have given us an opportunity for showing off our design prowess,

SOC 1 and SOC 2 Type 2 Certifications for ETRM/CTRM Software

they also validate that Molecule meets or exceeds SaaS company best practices.

If you're not familiar with SOC 1 and 2 certifications, here's why this matters.

You can have peace of mind and trust Molecule because an independent auditor has reviewed our business operations.

When the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) created these protocols, they set benchmarks related to five areas: privacy, confidentiality, security, availability, and processing integrity.

The process to complete these certifications, especially to meet the requirements for the Type 2 designation, involved detailed questionnaires, data requests, and other inquiries.

Our auditor reviewed internal policies including cloud security and employee satisfaction. We have demonstrated, to a third-party that is an AICPA firm, that we have systems and controls in place to protect customer data. Here are some of the types of controls they look into:

  • Two-factor authentication and usage of SSO
  • Employee background checks and annual performance reviews
  • Our organizational chart, internal control matrix, and employee job descriptions
  • Performing third-party risk assessments

We worked with Tugboat Logic to facilitate these certifications, and we appreciate the support they provided our team.

When companies are trading energy, commodities, or even crypto assets, the data they share with their ETRM/CTRM software provider is highly sensitive. We strive to bake as much security into our platform as possible and update these measures frequently. This is one of the many benefits that our customers get from using a cloud-based ETRM/CTRM.

We do some wacky things to protect our customers. For example – while some of our customers are comfortable sharing their identity, we know that not everybody is. This is one of the main reasons we created our code name and mission badge system for Molecule customers. As Sameer says:

Since Day 1, we've built our platform, and our company, with integrity at its core. But, integrity can feel ethereal and difficult to prove. These certifications validate that our internal policies meet or exceed industry best practices. - Sameer Soleja, Founder & CEO, Molecule

You can learn more about Molecule's security protocols for our ETRM/CTRM software on our website.

We encourage anyone considering implementing an ETRM/CTRM to talk to software providers about their credentials. We are also happy to answer any questions you have about the Molecule platform. Feel free to reach out to us at info@molecule.io.

Software

Molecule, the Product: Looking Back on 2021

At Molecule, we're incredibly proud of our team and what they do – and super proud of our product. To celebrate, we decided to look back at the damage we did in 2021.

Last year, we shipped 22 releases, containing 237 new features and 75 bug fixes. Among the major new features we shipped:

  1. Our new, lightweight Inventory feature
  2. Djinn, our crypto package–including integration with Gemini and CME for crypto.
  3. Elektra, including arbitrary block conversions, ISO connectivity powered by PowerOptix, and our partnership with NRGStream (to automatically provide LMPs and block prices for North American power)
  4. Our new, lightweight Contract Management feature (Agreements)
  5. Integrations with Nodal Exchange (for power and gas) and APX (for renewable credits)
  6. Magic Link Login Fallback (for when Auth0 takes down half the Internet)
  7. New support for spot trades (for physical traders) and as-generated trades (for PPAs)
  8. The first version of our new Position/P&L Limits feature
  9. New user-facing admin screens (including Books & Products) – as part of our commitment to make Molecule even easier to administer
  10. New ability to add custom fields to pretty much any major object in Molecule (Trades, Books, Products, and Counterparties)
  11. Many new upgrades to FCM reconciliation (including fees reconciliation and support for 3 new FCMs–for a total of 15)

We're super excited about these, and the many new features on our roadmap this year. It's our 10th anniversary, and we've got all sorts of great things cooking to celebrate–more crypto features, more analytics features, lots of integrations, and some long-overdue screen refreshes, among them.

This was a huge amount of work, and I'm proud of our team for all we've shipped. We're hiring as well! So, if what we're doing sounds interesting to you, check out our careers page.