Jan Konrád, CCO
“When the winds of change blow, some people build walls, others build windmills.” — An old Chinese proverb. According to Jan Konrád, a veteran in the ICT industry and also the Chief Commercial Officer at Unicorn Systems, an energy trading and risk management (ETRM) service provider, a similar wind of change is blowing across the energy sector also. With the rapid evolution of the industry, energy trading is moving towards shorter time horizons while its prices are peaking, and volatility is increasing. So, CIOs of energy companies either have to adapt to the change or become technologically obsolete. What the companies require is lighter, modular, open, and more flexible ETRM platforms capable of agile implementation and continuous development. At the same time, the solutions should be able to get up and running almost immediately with minimum investment costs. At the helm of such market demands, Unicorn is equipping energy and utility companies with best-in-class services to end their arduous search for a replacement of their monolithic ETRM systems.
Notably, Unicorn is not new in the ETRM business. Its market management system (MMS), Damas, is already renowned in the energy market and used by companies in more than half of the European countries. Today, Unicorn’s winning advantage is its state-of-the-art technology, and its latest releases bear a testament to that technological prowess. In addition, the company’s Lancelot ETRM product family has catered to the needs of wholesale and retail trading for years. The biggest strength for Unicorn lies in the fact that in spite of being a 20-year-old company, it is always walking neck and neck with the latest industry trends. Evidence of this is Unicorn’s newly-developed platform, Libra, which enables European-wide crossborder sharing of balancing energy. Alongside, in an effort to upgrade the Lancelot ETRM solution, “We have introduced the top technology and architecture (mobilefirst, cloud-ready, IoT-ready) and made the platform ready for the upcoming business trends like smart grids, decentralisation,” informs Konrád.
Today, Lancelot ETRM also functions as a comprehensive energy data management platform.
Its repository of large volumes of data that are fed both automatically and manually into the system ensures that users get a comprehensive and transparent workflow. The platform also offers end-user customisation, facilitating clients to configure their data entities, calculations, views, and reports. Apart from being relevant in today’s time, Lancelot ETRM is also versatile in its implementation approach. Unicorn is capable of implementing Lancelot ETRM on-premise and also providing it ‘as a service’—through Plus4U Internet service—to meet the needs of the small- and mediumsized enterprises.
Today, Unicorn’s winning advantage is its state-of-theart technology, and its latest releases bear a testament to that technological prowess
That being said, Unicorn has also started amending its solutions with a particular focus on cybersecurity. “As one of the leading IT solutions and services provider, our primary focus is to develop software efficiently and predictably with minimum risk,” explains Konrád. Especially, with cybersecurity increasingly becoming a concern among organisations, Konrád and his team are systematically investing in the development of supporting tools for their software to mitigate cyber risks.
Displaying such robustness, Unicorn’s Lancelot ETRM platform has already carved a niche for itself in the ETRM market and has created several benchmarks in various enterprises like Innogy, EnBW group, E.ON, NET4GAS, and many other similar companies. For some of these companies, the sole motive behind choosing Unicorn’s Lancelot platform is its ability to predict how meteorological changes affecting electricity and gas generation and consumption. Especially for the companies engaging in short-term trading, their profits are directly dependent on the quality of predictions. Naturally, Unicorn prioritises designing its platform with superior forecasting algorithms that are capable of predicting load as well as production metrics in real-time.
Having already found its mass acceptance within the borders of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, now, Unicorn wants to implement its solution globally. In fact, in 2020, sales campaigns are awaiting to be launched in several European countries, while Unicorn also plans on upgrading all its existing customers to the latest Lancelot ETRM version. However, as mentions Konrád, Lancelot ETRM is not a universal, all-encompassing commodity trading platform. Therefore, even though Unicorn would keep supporting other related commodities such as oil, coal, or greenhouse gas allowances, it would focus mainly on areas of electricity and gas where Lancelot ETRM has the best prerequisites to succeed.