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Power Up Your Reporting: Unleashing the Benefits of Combining Power BI with ETRM

August 1, 2023

Integrating a reporting layer within the enterprise ETRM architecture has become essential to every trading technology transformation program.

by Eugene Lau, ETRM Consultant and Kyle Heaphy, Business Consultant

Reporting solutions such as Power BI (PBI) and Tableau have emerged as the leading tools for trading organizations seeking to properly visualize & convey a broader narrative (e.g., daily risk reporting), as well as empower all front-to-back office branches of a trading organization to monetize the insights of their data. Most ETRM systems lack integration, comprehensive data coverage, and versatile formatting to meet clients’ requirements. Trading organizations are consequently driven to pursue robust reporting solutions to maintain a competitive edge in the data-driven energy industry. By seeking effective solutions, these organizations can ensure they keep up with the changing demands of the industry and stay ahead of the curve.

Furthermore, in all aspects of business, data integrity and auditability are of the utmost importance. Through back-end automation, data transformation, and visualization, the end user can be confident that the information they are communicating (or consuming) has come from the source of truth. Not only does automated reporting serve a key role in enterprise management, but it also allows for valuable time-savings. In typical cases, the user may have to manually run reports, scroll through several “pages” of an Excel sheet, and gather data from various sources. Our techniques and reporting functionalities eliminate these mundane and time-consuming tasks, saving analysts anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours daily. The cumulative time savings can be upwards of multiple days, depending on the intensity of data and reports.

Measurable Benefits

Optimus has a number of specific cases where we have connected Power BI to organizations ETRM’s and data warehouses to streamline reports and isolate/transform data points. It can be tangibly demonstrated that Power BI reporting can target low-hanging opportunities to deliver immediate & quantifiable value to any trading organization. In our examples, we benchmark actual reports against real-world client legacy business processes previously driven primarily through spreadsheet preparation and other office solutions.

1. Price Curve Validation & Visualization

Optimus developed end-of-day pricing reports for a client’s Risk group to identify pricing discrepancies and outliers in forward and settled pricing. These reports are based on predefined parameters such as day-over-day changes, zero-pricing, missing pricing, zero-delta changes, and price consistency across systems. Whenever breaches occur in the defined thresholds, email alert notifications are promptly sent to a user-defined list.

Result: 1 hour/day effort eliminated

2. Trade Controls

Optimus has leveraged Power BI to enhance existing ETRM trade control functionality. It enables the creation of comprehensive reports that closely monitor trade activities such as new deals, backdated deals, and voided deals, as well as their respective statuses, including trader verification, lock/unlock, and confirmation stage. These reports are generated and emailed on a scheduled basis every afternoon to facilitate Trade Control KPI processes.  

Result: 0.5 hour/day effort eliminated

3. Credit Reporting

Optimus recently developed a report for a client that offers essential credit reporting functionality. This includes details such as counterparty aged/accrued amounts, collateral, Mark-To-Market, and net exposure by entity and contract, as well as ratings. In this particular case, Power BI served as a functional bridge for an ETRM system. While the ETRM system captured most credit reference data variables, it lacked built-in credit reporting capabilities. Deploying a separate vendor credit software would have been excessive in both cost and resource requirements, given the client’s transaction composition and activity level of the client. Power BI proved to be an effective and balanced solution, and it successfully met our client’s needs.

Result: 1+ hour/day effort eliminated

4. Gas Delivery Point Balancing

The current ETRM operations reports for point balancing were overly tabular and inflexible. The reports lacked the organization and visualization for the client’s traders and schedulers to identify imbalances within their delivery network. In just a matter of days after being informed of this deficiency, Optimus swiftly connected Power BI to the SQL database and implemented a report that continues to be utilized on a daily basis.

Result: 0.75 hour/day effort eliminated

5. Risk Reporting

Optimus has delivered numerous Risk reports, which include, but are not limited to, daily margin, consolidated business line analytics, KPI dashboards, position dashboards, and day-over-day PNL reporting. This eliminated the use of manual Excel processes, and now the client relies on a single reporting solution to drive daily tasks and analytics.

Result: 2+ hour/day effort eliminated

Intangible Benefits

Beyond the concrete value contributions brought by time-savings through reporting automation, these solutions’ intangible benefits are often overlooked in building the business case for report development. These benefits arguably are more valuable in relation to the hours saved each month. They include:

1. Improved User Experience

Power BI integration liberates users from mundane data collection and tabulation tasks, allowing them to focus instead on value-add activities. The simplified data analysis and the ability to access reports from any location or device provide convenience and increase productivity. With Power BI’s intuitive interface and advanced capabilities, users can leverage their creativity and analytical skills to extract valuable insights and make informed decisions, thus enhancing their overall user experience.

2. More Effective Story Telling

Data becomes more than mere figures through the reporting solution’s diverse visualization tools. They transform into comprehensive and compelling narratives that intuitively display trends, outliers, and key correlations. These visual aids allow for faster assimilation of data, providing users with a clear and quick understanding of intricate business scenarios. This goes beyond aesthetic appeal, as effective data storytelling can drive action and catalyze change within organizations.

3. Improved Corporate Governance

Automated reports are an integral mechanism for organizational checks and balances. They highlight data inconsistencies, anomalies, and potential regulatory non-compliance issues, thus enabling timely intervention. This preemptive approach helps organizations mitigate risks and adhere to strict compliance standards. Moreover, with auditable and transparent data trails, Power BI reporting fosters a culture of accountability and integrity within the organization.

4. Improved Decision-Making

Rapid access to accurate, insightful data equips decision-makers to form strategic plans confidently. Power BI’s advanced analytics capabilities enhance situational awareness, identify opportunities and risks early, and forecast trends accurately. The ability to deliver real-time data analysis enables faster, data-driven decisions, leading to improved operational efficiency and competitive advantage in the trading environment.

5. Combining Disparate Data Sources

The reporting solution’s ability to seamlessly unify data from different sources eliminates silos, simplifying the analytical process. It consolidates disparate data into a central repository, providing a unified, coherent view of critical business metrics. This capability ensures consistent data interpretation across the organization, promoting data democratization and fostering a data-driven culture. By unifying data, Power BI offers a holistic perspective vital for strategic planning and performance improvement.

These tangible & intangible benefits are precisely why Optimus has leveraged reporting solutions as a core tool for our clients. The combination of Power BI/Tableau and an ETRM system is a powerful asset to any trading organization looking to maximize its data’s value. And we are proud to have been a part of our clients’ success stories in this field.

In conclusion, reporting solutions offer formidable value propositions for trading organizations looking to modernize their operations and maximize the potential of their data. Optimus stands ready to leverage this technology and help our clients realize these benefits.