A Virtual Fireside Interview on data trends, data management pain points and solutions for the Energy and Commodities Industry Sector

Introduction

With over 25 years worth of experience in technology and sales, ZE PowerGroup’s Ian Gordon is no stranger to innovation. His areas of expertise include the energy and commodities markets, with a special focus on renewable energy as of late. He also has knowledge of Finance and Insurance companies. Throughout his career as a Director of Business Development, Ian has taken industry trends such as the use of big data and the establishment of cloud as a deployment model in stride. By doing so, he has helped solidify ZEMA as a significant player within the energy and commodities sectors outside of North America.

In this interview learn about Ian’s understanding of the pain points and trends that companies in the energy and commodities markets face. Also discussed is how ZEMA can help business professionals such as traders and risk managers.

Industry and Pain Points

Q: Hello Ian, can you start by telling me about what you do on a day-to-day basis, and what industries you work the most closely with as a Director of Business Development?

A: On a day-to-day basis, my goal is to identify and work with energy and commodities companies to help them get the data they need to make the best possible business decisions. As using renewables such as hydroelectricity will become the norm within the next 5 years, many of our clients have been focusing on using ZEMA™ for data on these topics. I also work with finance companies who have a presence in the commodities space, and insurance companies.

Q: As someone who is in close contact with companies in these sectors, what would you say the most common pain points companies are facing here?

A: As you know, one of the biggest trends and will continue to grow is the use of data such as big data and market data. Companies are always requesting more data and more information in order to stay competitive. This becomes more complex when you consider that the data needs to be relevant, timely and accurate. Therefore, an immense pain point that companies face is how to manage it—eventually, there isn’t a financial return on hiring more people. The other frequently mentioned pain point is that it can be challenging to analyze data when it’s coming from multiple sources and in multiple formats.

Q: What are the implications these pain points have on companies?

A: Most of our clients have risk exposure to the market for pricing. They need to be able to purchase at the right time, in order to be prepared to sell to their clients. Without hedging and building the right information, the data will not be as accurate or timely for their needs. As data continues to get more complex, the quality of data, and the ability to manage it properly, becomes imperative for success in the markets.

Q: What are some of the ways that companies are trying to adapt in order to resolve these pain points?

A: This answer can be summed up in four words: Single Source of Truth. By having all of a company’s prices and data come from one place, even if there are several downstream sources, it is less likely to have discrepancies, and more likely to be efficient and reliable. Data governance is a significant part of that within an organization.

How ZEMA Helps

Q: Now that we’ve covered data in the industry as a whole, can you describe what ZEMA is? Who is it helpful for and why is it important?

A: ZEMA is a cloud-based platform that provides a service to the marketplace—it allows companies to manage data, run complex analytics, and make better informed decisions. It allows our clients to use, store and transform multiple sources of data (internal and external) in one environment. For traders, risk managers and market analyst ZEMA’s forward curve and workflow automation module gives them ownership, integrity, and transparency of data in support of their business operations.

Q: What sets ZEMA apart from its competitors?

A: ZE’s key differentiator is the level of customer service we provide to our clients, which we put considerable effort into providing them as part of the overall solution, and we very much view our clients as long-term partners in responding to their requirements. Additionally, ZEMA works closely with multiple data vendor partners in supporting more than twelve thousand data sources, with the speed of adding new data sources a strong part of the value proposition. This in turn allows clients to free up resources to focus on creating value elsewhere.

Q:  A final question for you: if there’s one key takeaway people should have from this blog post, what should it be?

A: The new sources and volumes of data that companies need to consume to support their business operations continually grows, the challenge is keeping on top of this demand.  ZE as a company has economies of scale because we are adding, delivering and supporting many of the same data sources for similar companies every day. Individual companies doing this themselves, have to commit resources fulltime to meet these data requirements without adding much value. Simply put, it’s more efficient and cost effective to outsource this function to a company dedicated to it as its core competency.

About Ian Gordon, Director of Business Development, European Markets, ZE PowerGroup Inc.

Ian is an experience executive with more than twenty-five years in the software solutions and information services sector to the Investment banking and energy and commodities markets. Having set up and developed the UK based business for Fame Software a Citibank NA subsidiary in 1993, Ian helped build it into a global business through setting up sales and account management operations across EMEA. With Fame’s then acquisition by VC’s Ian was involved in the rapid growth of the business through its’s acquisition and integration of a number of companies during that time. On its’ acquisition by Sungard, Ian went on the run the Fame Energy business at Sungard. Ian joined ZE in 2009 starting its’ European business and is actively involved in its’ continued growth.

For more information about how ZEMA can help your company satisfy its data needs, be sure to visit the solutions section of our website!

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