Demand for “Everything Faster, Cheaper, Easier, More Flexible” Drives The World – And It’s No Different In Commodity Trading

Blog Author

Written by Stephen Golliker – Stephen Golliker is the Chief Technology Office of Aspect Enterprise Solutions.

Welcome to Aspect’s Blog on Technology. It’s the first of many to come with this one introducing a series on “Configuration through Scripting” rather than “Customization through Development” to meet today’s fast-paced commodity trading demands. I’m the Chief Technology Officer at Aspect Enterprise Solutions, and with the help of my colleagues in our development center, we’ve put together a white paper for you that we hope can help you in your business. It’s available as a download below.

Today’s world demands instant everything – quicker, faster, more customization specific to “my needs.”

Technology and innovation are driving our “now culture” with everything from Amazon drones promising same-day delivery, to 3D printers making everything imaginable instantly possible.

Today’s kids won’t ever know what it’s like to wait 5-7 days for a package in the mail.

Our underlying architecture called AESthetics is creating a new culture of “Configuration” versus “Development” for our clients which speeds up tailoring AspectCTRM for a specific client’s needs.

What is AESthetics

AESthetics is the underlying architecture powering AspectCTRM to configure rather than code new business rules, screens, reports, business processes and workflows in a standardized and flexible environment that allows users to configure their solution to fit their unique business needs.

This enables a rapid customization environment that can take a standard Aspect deployment and produce a configuration tailored to a client’s business within days and weeks.

Through configuration rather than costly development, companies are able to quickly access an application personalized to their specific business requirements.

How AESthetics Speeds Things Up

  • Our unique scripting framework allows large scale configuration that is customized for clients without writing a single line of code
  • Configuration, rather than software development of entry screens, includes the addition of new fields and blotters without any software development
  • Fully configurable API “toolkit” for uploading and downloading information to and from AspectCTRM

The Benefits of Faster

  • Reduces cycle times to business users receiving the change
  • Allows partners and clients to configure and customize AspectCTRM to unique business processes, often without relying on IT resources
  • In many cases entirely new functionality can be added by partners and/or clients using this framework
  • Easy integration with many external systems with many templated examples available for standard integration.

Why It’s More Affordable

  • Quick deployments and configurations do not require onsite consultants and associated fees
  • Cloud means there is no software or hardware for your IT staff to maintain
  • Monthly subscription fees & discounts for multiple users
  • Support is included in the license fee

Don’t get me wrong, some customer requirements still fall into the development bucket, and need to go to our development center. But because we’re cloud, that one change that one customer wanted – can now be enjoyed by all of our customers once the release is made. We typically release 3-4 new major versions of AspectCTRM annually.

As a cloud solution, the software code is the same for all companies using the solution, which means there is one version of the code, unlike many of our competitors who may maintain a custom code branch for each customer to maintain specific customization.

Scripting vs Product Enhancement or Development

Scripting is typically used for field validation, custom reports, custom fields or automated notifications that is not in the standard product and may differ from client to client. Scripting was not designed to replace complex product functionality or features. Aspect prefers to build complex functionality or functionality required by several clients into the product in the first instance as this allows us to manage the release and testing during subsequent release phases.

How It’s Done

To get customized tools that are necessary for varied business rules and processes at commodity trading companies, the design of AspectCTRM needed to be flexible. Then as problems need to be solved within a business, the solution is configured and adapted to meet those challenges.

Aspect has a set of tools that use script like syntac to add new reports, validations, integration scenarios, etc. Those scripts are managed through the browser User Interface (UI). The language was designed to be expressive (useful values can be calculated by one-line expressions), safe (can be given to end users without the risk of crashing production environment or compromising confidential data) and fast (should have performance comparable to native application code).

AESthetics was designed so that doing simple things is straightforward and intuitive, and gets more complex as complex requirements are needed. Through configuration, rather than custom development, users are able to use these scripting tools via expressions in predefined forms or XML Templates. This reduces the complexity for casual users and makes learning easier.

Typically customization is done by Aspect Enterprise Solutions or a partner through Aspect’s unique Partner Program (APP),, but the toolset and documentation is available for clients too, so technically minded users and company IT personnel can easily follow the instructions to create user-defined configurations.

Nearly anything you can view through the Aspect Enterprise Solutions (UI) is also available as part of the scripting object model. This includes deals, costs and invoices with their fields, derived fields like P&L, VaR or position, system dictionaries such as counterparties or locations, instruments and their prices. Historical data such as history of deal changes and daily P&L changes is also accessible.

Most of these entities and fields can also be created and modified in custom web services and upload scripts.

Easy To Learn

To make learning more broad to users, scripting tools encourage learning by trial and exploration. Instead of studying the entire toolset up front, you can start with simple reports and build on them. Users cannot break anything if mistakes are made. The entire toolset and object model are also covered by a context-sensitive online help and reference guide.

Download Free White Paper: Configuration Through Scripting

To learn more about how to get your reports and trade and risk tools quicker, easier and more affordably, download our Technical White Paper: Configuration Through Scripting here