October 04, 2023
In the digital age of instant connectivity, you might assume that every industry is making decisions based on real-time data streams.
However, many sectors—including the natural gas industry—grapple with outdated tools and methodologies. In my experience, the natural gas industry is, in fact, lagging behind most others.
The speed, accuracy, and availability of data are not just conveniences; they can make the difference between profit and loss.
Which raises the question: Is your organization equipped with a robust data strategy and the technology it needs to harness this potential?
Let’s take a snapshot of what many in the gas trading world still consider "business as usual."
Traders, schedulers, and others along the natural gas value chain are steadfastly clinging to manual and/or Excel-based processes.
And while Excel is a great application, it is not robust enough to be a core part of mission-critical business processes.
Firstly, the specter of human error constantly looms over manual data entry and spreadsheets.
While innocent in intent, misplaced decimals, forgotten columns, accidental formula changes, and simple oversights can translate into significant missteps.
As the business expands, the once trusty spreadsheets really show their limitations, struggling to handle massive datasets and complex calculations. This creates havoc for auditability and transparency.
As transactions grow in number and intricacy, sifting through sheets becomes not only cumbersome but increasingly error prone.
Time wasted in deciphering, navigating, and verifying calculations is time not spent on strategic decision-making.
The security of spreadsheets—or the lack thereof—is another pressing concern. Files can be shared accidentally or penetrated by malicious outsiders, leading to data breaches.
In an era where data is as valuable as revenue, such lapses can be catastrophic.
One final challenge to consider is teamwork and collaboration, on which modern businesses thrive. Even with the proliferation of Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and other applications, the underlying issues remain.
Which version is the latest? Who made the last change? What was the last change? How do I know that change was correct?
Data inconsistency is perhaps the most insidious issue, sowing confusion, leading to poorly coordinated strategies, and resulting in missed opportunities.
So, what constitutes a robust data strategy? And why is it indispensable for modern gas trading?
At its core, a robust data strategy gives direction and purpose to data collection and analysis. It ensures that focusing on the proper system of record, master data, and data aggregation will lead to meaningful results for decision making and strategy.
Effective data governance and an unwavering focus on data quality should form the backbone of your data strategy.
This means implementing strict rules, policies, and processes to ensure data accuracy and authenticity are prioritized.
Reliable data isn't a luxury—it's a necessity.
For traders, schedulers, and other decision-makers to trust the insights and analyses they derive from this data, they must be sure of its efficacy.
Finally, you must address the dual challenges of integration and scalability.
In today's interconnected world, data exists in myriad formats across numerous platforms. An effective strategy must seamlessly integrate this disparate information, presenting a comprehensive, unified view.
And, as the business grows, your data strategy must evolve to ensure it remains fit for purpose, regardless of scale.
With the shortcomings of traditional methods evident and the pillars of a robust data strategy established, the path forward becomes rather clear.
Modern, integrated software solutions are not just the future—they should be the present. They are "table stakes."
What used to be an advantage is now the norm. If your organization hasn't moved forward with proper data strategy, it will be at a significant disadvantage. You and your team will have to work harder just to compete—and even harder still to win.
Modern solutions dramatically reduce human error by automating manual tasks, promoting data consistency, and ensuring every team and individual has access to the same, most up-to-date dataset.
Enhanced security protocols protect data from breaches, unauthorized access, and accidental sharing.
Cloud-based platforms foster real-time collaboration, streamlining workflows and enhancing productivity through actionable and reliable data.
In the fast-paced world of natural gas trading, where market dynamics can change in the blink of an eye, real-time, reliable data can be a competitive differentiator.
By implementing modern systems, you can arm your team with timely insights, ensuring they're not just reacting to the market, but staying one step ahead.
The natural gas trading sector stands at a crossroads between the tried-and-tested—yet increasingly outdated—manual world of spreadsheets, and the promise of efficiency, accuracy, and foresight offered by modern systems.
As the market evolves and competition intensifies, the choice becomes stark. It's no longer about keeping up with the Joneses; it's about running faster than the pack.
Has your business established a robust data strategy and embraced modern trade and transaction software?
In the world of natural gas trading and transactions, the quality and timeliness of your data can make or break your business.
At Trellis Energy, we believe that a modern natural gas supply chain should be digital, efficient, and easy to manage, ensuring the delivery of clean energy when and where it’s needed. We’re in business to make that a reality for natural gas in North America.
Let's talk about reimagining your energy operations.