Our client, a large refined products blending company, implemented an ETRM system a number of years ago. The original software that was implemented failed to meet the needs around inventory valuation and reporting. This has resulted in manual work arounds for an extended period of time. The issue around blending and inventory management was caused by a circular reference issue in the core code of the product. The correction of this issue would impact many clients of the vendor, presenting a unique set of challenges for our client. However, because the code base implemented was outdated, the ETRM system had to be either updated or replaced.
After an exhaustive review of all areas of business process for the multi-commodity transactions, MidDel made the recommendation to invest in creating comprehensive demo scripts and sending them to targeted vendors, rather than investing in the RFP process as has traditionally been done. This allowed our client to dive deep into the software being examined, using datasets that they were familiar with. Areas of functionality were segmented and prioritized based on the needs of the business, and the demos were scored based on expected results of the demo. MidDel worked with the client to structure the scripts the way that their users actually would use the software to do their jobs, rather than in a structured/silo approach that the vendors typically use.
During the original implementation, the project team worked for five months to resolve the inventory issues but was unable to do so. This resulted in a project cost of carry expense of approximately $500,000 that did not result in a solution. By structuring the demo scripts as described above, we identified similar issues with all of the vendors. One vendor, however, has provided a resolution to this and has been able to fully demo the functionality requested in a production ready version of the software. This approach, when combined with project costs, will save our client more than $500k in project budget. The demo scripts were designed such that they will easily convert to use cases and testing scripts, allowing us to leverage all aspects of previous work.