FAQ

DOWNLOADING & INSTALLING

See list of questions at the Download page

TROUBLESHOOTING

See list of questions at the Troubleshooting page

BUYING A LICENSE

See list of questions at the Pricing page

EXCEL USAGE

See list of questions at the FAQ Excel Usage page

OPERATION

Yes.
Apart from the Deriscope Excel Add-In there is also the Deriscope executable that provides the exact same analytics as the Excel Add-In, but without the need of Excel.
More details are provided below in the Technology section.

BUSINESS

From a legal perspective, Deriscope is currently not a company.
It is a sole proprietorship owned by Ioannis Rigopoulos in Germany and registered since 2009 with the German tax authorities.
There is a plan for establishing Deriscope in the near future as a private limited liability company.

As shown at the Clients section of the home page, currently about 40 employees of 11 companies hold a Deriscope license.
About half of these companies and the great majority of individuals use Deriscope as a front office pricing tool in trading interest rate, cross currency and inflation swaps, bonds and inflation bonds. They also use it to regularly build their discounting and forecasting yield curves out of live market quotes.
The remaining customers use Deriscope as an analytics tool in performing middle office, back office and consulting functions.
Some of them rely on Deriscope for their daily valuation of books comprising several thousands of swap trades.
Although Deriscope also supports other asset classes, such as equities, fx and hybrid, it has not been yet used in such areas by any company in production.

All user requests are currently handled personally by Deriscope's founder Ioannis Rigopoulos.
This is well manageable today due to the very small number of clients and end users so that the average response time is measured in minutes rather than days or even weeks that is the unfortunate norm with corporate competitors, whose bereaucracy and business priorities make a sensible and timely response to lower value clients practically impossible.
Nevertheless, as the business grows, Ioannis plans to hire sufficient personnel to keep up with an expanding client base.

Since the Deriscope application is accessed through a locally installed Add-In, a temporary or permanent interruption of Deriscope's normal business operations cannot have an immediate effect on your day to day activities.
The only impact would be limited to user requests for bug fixes, new features and license extensions.
Thankfully, due to its sole proprietorship status, Deriscope is shielded against most bankruptcy risk factors faced by heavily debted big organizations and is therefore more likely to survive in the current highly volatile macroeconomic environment.
Along with an anticipated growing business, Deriscope will transform itself very soon to a limited company, but with a low debt-to-asset ratio and a minimal number of employees so that it will remain dynamic, flexible and less susceptible to external risks.

In general, online validation checks are regularly performed with the servers of the license management company softworkz in order to ensure that Deriscope is used only on authorized devices.
These validation checks are strictest on licenses of the "Variable Seat" type since a given device's eligibility must be confirmed every time an Excel session starts with the Deriscope Add-In loaded.
On the contrary, licenses of the "Fixed Seat" type need to pass a successful validation check at most every 30 days and a warning is sent per email to the user if the license fails to be validated - for whatever reason - for a period of 25 days.
For this reason, it is recommended that sensitive business activities - such as trading - run on "Fixed Seat" licenses.
Perpetual licenses also run online validation checks, but remain valid in the event when the validation servers cannot be contacted. This means that a perpetual license will allow access even if there is no internet connection or the license management company discontinues its operations.

In a catastrophic event when Deriscope goes out of business, obviously technical support and general customer service will stop being available.
But since the Deriscope add-in is locally installed and bears no dependence on remote servers, all Deriscope spreadsheet formulas will still work.
A client may be affected when the next subscription period starts if the corresponding paid amount cannot be processed due to a likely discontinuation of the Deriscope's bank accounts.
This risk can be mitigated by choosing an annual rather than monthly subscription and even completely removed by purchasing a perpetual license.
In the latter case, the user's residual operating risk is reduced to that associated with the successful performance of the Deriscope license's online validation as described in the answer to the question "How does the license verification process work?" in the TECHNOLOGY section below.

After installation Deriscope will appear in the list of installed apps shown through the Apps section of the windows Settings of the device where Deriscope has been installed.
It may then be uninstalled in the same way as any other program, i.e. by selecting the Deriscope entry and choosing the Uninstall option.

TECHNOLOGY

No.
Apart from a periodical license status verification and a likely usage of live feeds, no remote servers are involved since all required Deriscope dlls are locally stored in your pc.

No.
While most users are interested in using Deriscope through Excel due to the obvious advantages of Excel's interface, there are circumstances where one would rather run the analytics in an Excel-free environment.
Deriscope's core analytics are implemented in DLLs that can be called by either an Excel interface layer or a non-Excel Windows executable.
The latter is a .exe file that can run locally on the user's device by reading a text file containing all input data in a special XML format.
The .exe file processes the input data by calling the same DLLs as the Excel Add-In and is therefore guarranteed to produce the exact same output as the Excel Add-In.
The output is in the form of an XML formatted text file.
Both the input and output XML files can be processed by Excel due to the fact that the necessary XML-Excel bidirectional translation unit is already implemented as part of the Deriscope Excel Add-In.
The processing of the XML files by some external IT system requires the prior implementation of a code that translates the Deriscope XML into the IT system's API and vice versa.
With the help of such a translation code, the Deriscope analytics can be accessed by the respective IT system directly.
On the absence of such a code, the connectivity between Deriscope analytics and an IT system ought to still be achievable through a thin and special-purpose Excel middle layer, provided that the IT system supports a suitable Excel interface.
For more information and a demo example, you may read this blog article on FX Option Portfolio Pricing without Excel.

Quite easily, provided that the other IT systems interact with Excel in a sufficient extent, since then Excel may be used as the interfacing medium joining Deriscope with those IT systems.
Otherwise, the intended interface can be achieved through the implementation of a custom translation code as described in the answer to the question "Are the analytics capabilities of Deriscope accessible only through Excel?".

When Deriscope is installed, a new folder named Deriscope is created in a location chosen by the user, which by default is the Roaming subfolder of the user's AppData folder.
Then several DLLs are stored in that folder and appropriate Registry entries are created so that these DLLs are linked to the Excel app.
If the installation is successful, Excel will load two Add-Ins at start up: A com Add-In named DeriscopeGui and an Excel Add-In named DeriscopeXLL. Both will appear in the list of active Add-Ins shown under the Options tab in Excel.
The DeriscopeGui is responsible for the wizard, and ribbon user interface while the DeriscopeXLL powers the functions exported to the Excel spreadsheet.

The code responsible for the analytics is written in C++, while the code responsible for the User Interface is written in C#.

The software code is proprietary and owned by Deriscope's founder Ioannis Rigopoulos except of the part that is sourced from the open source libraries QuantLib and ORE.

The license verification is accomplished through the License Activation and License Validation.

License Activation occurs when Deriscope is accessed for the first time on some device, during which the license's credentials entered by the user are sent to the servers managed by the license management company softworkz and - if the activation is legitimate and successfull - a special encrypted CDM License file named deriscope.cdm is created and stored in a read/write directory on the user’s device.
The CDM contains licensing information and must remain in place. If it is deleted or modified in any way by any means other than by the softworkz server, it will be rejected and the software will need to be re-activated.
All communication between the user's device and the softworkz server is encrypted using secure PKI algorithms.

License Validation is a background process triggered at random times but at most once per day.
It is a 2-step process which includes Local (offline) CDM-Validation and softworkz server-Validation.
The local (offline) CDM-Validation authenticates the CDM on the user’s device / browser (i.e. verify signature, machine ID, etc.) and verifies the license rights and conditions (such as expiry period).
The Validation process queries the softworkz Server to do a complete verification against the piracy protection rules and returns a new encrypted CDM License file.
Note that in the case of the Perpetual License, the Validation process still takes place but Deriscope remains accessible even if the softworkz server cannot be contacted.
For more details on the interaction between the Validation process and the installed Deriscope application, look up the answer to the question "Can the online license validation process make Deriscope inaccessible?" in the BUSINESS section.

During the validation process, a special locally stored file named deriscope.cdm is transmitted to the servers managed by the license management company softworkz using the standard web browsing communication port 80. Typically, if a web browser has access, then communication with the server for validations will be successful.
The CDM file is typically less than 2K Bytes. The CDM file contains information required for the softworkz service such as:
License Activation or Evaluation Code
activation dates and other dates used for the protection rules
protection level and specific counters
a <machine_ID> which is a hash (created locally) of several elements of information from the user’s computer, and is used as one part of the protection solution
the Computer Name
There is no possibility of deriving any specific information about the user’s computer from the <machine_ID> Hash code or reconstructing any such information. Aside from the Computer Name, no private information about the computer or the user is communicated at any time to the softworkz Server during the validation process.