Build vs. License ZEMA

Building or Buying an Energy and Commodity Enterprise Data Management System: Which Is Best for You?

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The data requirements of energy and commodity markets are complex and constantly evolving; finding ways to efficiently manage, organize, and store data are among the most significant challenges businesses face today. To address this challenge, many companies are confronted with the difficult choice of either building their own software solutions from scratch or buying an already established product from a specialized vendor to meet their data management needs.

Companies with strong IT departments are often tempted by the notion of building enterprise data management (EDM) software in house, based on the faulty belief that this course of action will save time, money, and be better suited to specific needs. However, these organizations often overlook the inherent risks and potential costs involved in building an EDM solution from scratch.

Building In House: The Prevalence of Failed Attempts

If the success of a project is defined by its accordance to initial specifications, timeliness, and conformity to budgetary restraints, the unavoidable truth is that the majority of build projects are failures. Research suggests that 31.1% of software development projects will be cancelled at some point during development, and more than half will cost 189% of organizations’ original estimates. On average, only 16% of build projects will be successful as defined by the parameters above and often will have less functionality than was originally intended.1

The average time-to-market of an EDM software development project is three years. Time overruns are extremely common, as those projects that make it to some form of completion will often require re-design and re-evaluation, which often go unnoticed when budgeting for time. Restarts are another major issue that disrupts these projects, and often result in their cancellation before they are even near completion.

Strain on IT Resources

Organizations that rely upon their own IT departments to build EDM software face significant challenges. Aside from the time that is initially required to develop and implement an EDM software, IT departments must maintain it once it is completed, which includes training staff members, troubleshooting issues, and monitoring environments. Most organizations do not have the resources in place to complete all these tasks.

Struggle to Stay Current and Competitive

Unlike specialized software vendors, organizations that create in-house EDM systems to meet current business needs often fail to see the bigger picture. As a result, these organizations risk losing their competitive advantage to companies utilizing off-the-shelf solutions that have been created by industry experts with the time and expertise to constantly develop their products.

Moreover, the ever-evolving nature of technology will present a relentless challenge. Operating systems are frequently changing, and systems will need to be frequently revised to maintain compatibility. The system itself must be adaptable and scalable so that it can be quickly adjusted to meet changing business needs.

The Case for Acquiring a Commercial EDM Solution like ZEMA

We at ZE offer extensive customizations for ZEMA, our award-winning data management software solution. If a client requires a particular solution functionality, our team of gifted developers will create new parsers, packages, or products.

With ZEMA, clients get access to a full-featured EDM solution which contains tools for data capture, parsing, scheduling, validation, and security, as well as analytics, visualization, and integration. As part of every ZEMA implementation, we ensure that ZEMA is integrated effectively with any ETRM or downstream systems currently in place in clients’ organizations. From start to finish, an average ZEMA implementation ranges from one to six months, depending on the complexity and scope of the project.

ZEMA also relieves clients’ staff of the burden of managing IT operations on a daily basis. ZE facilitates this through offering to host ZEMA, equipping clients to focus on their critical business activities.

Our application support team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our clients are never without our continual support and service. Our software solutions are designed to be scalable and grow with any organization, and we are always available to help our clients navigate and take control of the complex data demands of their businesses.

From a project risk perspective, ZEMA has a well-defined risk profile and timeline. From a cost perspective, an individual firm with little experience in EDM software development would be hard-pressed to develop a system of similar quality, in a shorter time frame, on a smaller budget, and with less domain knowledge at its disposal.

Read ZE’s white paper “Weighing the Options: Build an Internal EDM System or Get ZEMA” to learn more.

1 Chaos, The Standish Group, 1995: 2, accessed November 26, 2014,


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