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RESOURCES CATEGORY: Oil & Gas

High-Value Health Check to Enhance Existing BI Solutions

NWS

PREDICTif Delivered a High-Value Health Check to Enhance Existing BI Solutions and Develop a Master BI Implementation Plan

CUSTOMER:

A leading Oil and Gas Equipment services company.

REQUIRED CAPABILITIES

  • Remedied performance and instability issues existed with the BI applications
  • Delivered a master Implementation roadmap for an enterprise BI and FPM architecture

CHALLENGES

The customer has over 25 subsidiaries, many acquired through acquisition. Each subsidiary had built out its own business intelligence (BI) and finance performance management (FPM) solutions using a myriad of BI and FPM products. As one of the leading global equipment service and pipeline construction companies, the customer faced numerous challenges related to instability, inconsistency and slow performance of BI applications. In preparation for the opportunities and demands of becoming part of a publicly held company, the customer needed to expand its BI and FPM architecture beyond the business unit level.  Before further expansion could take place, the customer needed to consolidate their division level BI and FPM initiatives as well as map out a strategy and roadmap to establish an enterprise BI architecture. The existing BI systems presented numerous deficiencies in terms of people, process and infrastructure:

  • All its business units had their own BI and FPM technologies, support teams and project initiatives without an enterprise level governance and standard;
  • There was no single version of truth in terms of data on the enterprise level which rendered the enterprise level reporting and financial consolidation inaccurate and labor intensive;
  • The existing BI infrastructure contained a myriad of technologies and products making support and maintenance difficult and cost of ownership extremely high; and
  • Lack of a BI competency center rendered uneven quality of delivered BI applications that resulted in slow performance and instability.

SCOPE                      

Conducted a health check to identify areas of risks and opportunities, recommend remedial measures, and produce a master implementation plan and a roadmap to build an enterprise level BI architecture.

  • Examined existing BI infrastructure and organizations in terms of people, process and infrastructure to discover areas of risks and opportunities, and more importantly, produce a list of actionable recommendations to improve the overall BI strategy and execution;
  • Reviewed the existing architecture, configurations and codes;
  • Identified bottlenecks that were causing slow performance and instability;
  • Aligned business objectives and priorities with BI initiatives;
  • Created organizational philosophy and culture to support an enterprise BI strategy; and
  • Developed a master implementation plan and roadmap for an enterprise level BI architecture.

SOLUTION

PREDICTif Solutions was engaged to provide a 2-week health check. PREDICTif’s senior architects reviewed the existing BI infrastructure, made recommendations for improvement and delivered a master implementation plan for rolling out BI to the entire enterprise.

Based on PREDICTif’s standard health check agenda and customer priorities, PREDICTif and the customer created a detailed agenda before the engagement. The agenda addressed both tactical and strategic aspects of the customers business. The tactical aspects were to analyze the existing BI solutions to identify areas of risk and opportunity as well as provide recommendations on both. The strategic aspect was to understand the customer’s business priorities and deliver an enterprise BI implementation plan.

The two week agenda was filled with workshops, interviews and document reviews during which, PREDICTif’s architects met customer’s personnel from numerous areas of the business to discuss business objectives, current BI architecture and business user concerns. Conversations focused on areas such as data quality, data governance, data modeling, report requirement gathering processes, architecture, support/maintenance and technology best practices. The architects also discussed future plans, business initiatives, short term and long term business goals as well as technological direction in the BI and FPM arena.

The PREDICTif resources combined our own set of BI and FPM best practices and standards with information gathered from the discussions in order to produce a  set of documents:

  • The tactical health check deliverable is in the form of a Microsoft Word document and a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation both of which outlined areas of opportunity, improvement and identified risks as well as the necessary steps to mitigate those risks.
    • In this case, the PREDICTif architects discovered that the BI architecture was not designed appropriately for the increased number of users and business cases which caused significant degradation of performance and stability;
    • The customer did not have a well defined data governance process that was accepted by all business units. It resulted in poor data and metadata modeling as well as an overall lack of data quality and transparency;
    • The architects made recommendations to improve the Bi architecture in terms of performance and stability; and
    • The architects applied PREDICTif developed and tailor-made data governance and data modeling best practices to the customer’s business and IT environment.
  • A master BI implementation plan and roadmap was delivered in order to consolidate the dispersed BI architecture as well as establish an enterprise level BI infrastructure.
    • The implementation plan entailed a multi-phased project plan that detailed the sequence of activities, dependencies and high-level estimate of effort as well as timelines;
    • It illustrated a 18-month BI architecture evolution through the phases of implementation;
    • The roadmap also considered the trend and best-in-class BI technologies; and
    • The implementation plan included the steps to establish an enterprise level BI competency center and governance process.

RESULTS

PREDICTif delivered considerable value to the customer’s return on the software and IT infrastructure investment. The health check’s findings and recommendations significantly improved both the performance and the stability of the customer’s existing BI architecture. The implementation plan provided a clear roadmap to establish an enterprise level, world class BI architecture.

  • The improvement decreased the rendering time of a complex report from an average of 6 min to less than 30 seconds, greatly increasing the productivity;
  • The upgrade and addition of hardware and software instance increased the overall uptime from 95% to that of 99% which was a requirement of the business;
  • The customer completed all three phases of PREDICTif’s recommended implementation plan and the overall BI initiatives continue to gain adoption and approval from the business use population.

EPM Success for Geophysical Survey Company

NWS

PREDICTif  successfully assists major geophysical survey company to select the right Enterprise Performance Management product for its financial reporting and analysis needs

CUSTOMER:

A leading seismic data-acquisition imaging and software systems company who assists petroleum exploration companies to identify and measure subsurface geological structures.

REQUIRED CAPABILITIES

  • Financial consolidation and reporting
  • Interactive analysis
  • Forecasting and Budgeting
  • Oracle Hyperion Planning, Essbase, Financial Reporting, Financial Data Management

CHALLENGES

The Customer used an out-dated solution that was under-utilized and deficient in terms of data mining and planning automation. As a result, the business was heavily dependent upon IT for both support of its existing solution and development of new functionality when the enterprise required. The software deployed was also 2 major versions behind that of the publicly released version and had run out of vendor support. Significant growth in its Solutions business units served as a catalyst to replace its manual, error-prone, labor intensive financial reporting and planning solution with a more automated, streamlined and efficient one.

The company, comprised of multiple legal entities that span the globe, was challenged with having to manage all of its financial operations in a single, multicurrency environment. It also had needs to transform individual financial plans from a group of entities into a single, consolidated corporate level plan.  All this made the existing solution severely limiting in terms of the ability to predict its revenue and costs for each of its business units.

SCOPE

Needing objective and unbiased professional advice on various EPM solutions on the market, the Customer engaged with PREDICTif who led a rigorous product selection process to ensure that they procured the right EPM product for its current and future needs. The overall goal was to assist the Customer in identifying an EPM product that met its current and future business needs:

  • Integrate seamlessly with its main ERP solution (Infor’s Syteline), its existing Microsoft SQL Server based data warehouse and miscellaneous data sources;
  • Upgrade its antiquated and unsupported EPM architecture to a modern and sustainable one;
  • Automate and streamline its financial reporting and planning processes eliminating manual, redundant and time-consuming steps;
  • Enable drill-downs and what-if analysis for gaining insight and better financial plans;
  • Establish a single version of the truth and generate accurate/ up-to-date reports;
  • Leverage both web and Excel as available interfaces for ad-hoc analysis, interactive report authoring and viewing;
  • Offer an easy-to-learn and easy-to use tool that enables the business to achieve self-sufficiency; and
  • Ensure long term, advantageous total cost of ownership.

 

SOLUTION

PREDICTif led a systematic product selection process leveraging its extensive experience with EPM solutions, vertical specific evaluation criteria and its own, proprietary production selection templates to ensure a thorough evaluation was undertaken. PREDICTif led the preparation of the PoC, the coordination of the vendors and finally, the short-listing and evaluation/selection of vendors who best addressed Customer’s business requirements.

Over the course of the evaluation, PREDICTif:

  • Assisted the Customer in its identification of the appropriate use cases that addressed all critical business needs;
  • Prepared the use case documentation and accompanying data;
  • Worked with Customer personnel in order to facilitate software vendors’ involvement in the PoC;
  • Supported the Customer as needed throughout their participation in the evaluation process;
  • Administered the different software vendors’ PoC’s and validated their results;
  • Incorporated PREDICTif’s proprietary software evaluation process and compared/contrasted its weighted scoring criteria against that of the differing, competing vendor technologies;
  • Led vendor’ demos and meetings in an effort to contribute towards the information gathering process;
  • Provided cost estimates for license and implementation costs; and
  • Produced a high level roadmap and long term implementation plan for each technology so that the Customer understood not only the current state, but also the future vision of the chosen technology.

The PoC was conducted in parallel by three vendors over the course of a two-week period.  We aggregated all the gathered information and then, used PREDICTif’s weighted software selection criteria to contrast that against the Customer’s business objectives to render an option on a best of breed solution.

After evaluating several leading vendors, Oracle Hyperion/Essbase was selected for a number of reasons:

  • Oracle Hyperion Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) software meets the key business requirements, enables the automation of planning and reporting processes and powers the finance team to perform data mining and ad-hoc analysis;
  • Oracle Hyperion is easy to use, easy to implement and easy to support/maintain;
  • It is a cost effective, high return investment, conducive to quick wins, resulting in lower total cost of ownership;
  • It establishes a solid platform for future reporting and analysis needs; and
  • Oracle utilizes updated and modern technologies, presents a strategic product development roadmap and enjoys both financial as well as organizational stability.

RESULTS

Post product selection, the Customer negotiated with Oracle and ultimately procured the Hyperion product stack including Essbase, Hyperion Financial Reporting, Hyperion Planning and Financial Data Manager (FDM). Utilizing the acquired Oracle stack of products, the PREDICTif team successfully implemented and replaced the customer’s outdated solution with that of a new one fully automating countless functions and in the process, eliminating nearly half of the Excel worksheets it previously utilized resulting in increased productivity. Additionally, PREDICTif:

  • Upgraded the customer’s financial reporting and analysis architecture to a modern and fully supported technology;
  • Increased the architectures performance resulting in a more robust and stable environment;
  • Eliminated a multitude of manual, error-prone and time-consuming steps resulting in a more efficient and accurate financial analysis and reporting process;
  • Delivered to the business users the ability to do ad-hoc analysis and create their own reports;
  • Delivered a solution to the business that the customer personnel were able to support and maintain without significant IT support or involvement; and
  • Provided the business a solution that resulted in a significant return on investment.

Financial reporting & consolidations solution for a leading Oil and Gas Equipment services company

NWS

Delivered a financial reporting and consolidations solution in a multi-currency and multi-account environment

CUSTOMER:

A leading Oil and Gas Equipment services company.

REQUIRED CAPABILITIES

  • Financial consolidation and reporting
  • Finance group’s self sufficiency
  • User friendly interfaces

CHALLENGES

As one of the leading global equipment service and pipeline construction companies, the customer faced numerous challenges related to monthly financial consolidation processing. In preparation for the opportunities and demands of being part of a publicly held company, the customer and its 25 plus legal entities had to manage all of their financial operations in a multicurrency environment, transforming individual financial statements from a group of entities into a single financial statement.  Their legacy solution which consisted of putting consolidated statements together using spreadsheets had severe limitations.

  • Disparate spreadsheets were not a scalable solution to implement across multiple lines of business;
  • Manual consolidations processes were complex, error prone and left no time for analysis; and
  • Currency translation with exception rates for items like intercompany receivables and common stock became a maintenance dilemma.

SCOPE

Efficiency, user-friendliness and self sufficiency were the three main objectives of this project.

  • Deliver a Cognos TM1 based solution to streamline the monthly financial consolidation process;
  • Provide a user-friendly user interface for analysis, ,reporting and dissection of data in an interactive manner; and
  • Establish self sufficiency so that the customer’s business users can easily support and upgrade the solution independent of its IT group.

SOLUTION

PREDICTif was engaged to provide an end-to-end solution and after evaluating several potential software vendors, IBM Cognos TM1 was selected for a number of reasons most notably,  the ability to provide a real-time approach to consolidating, viewing, and editing enormous volumes of multidimensional data.

Cubes having dimensions ranging from 3 to 10 were created. GAAP entries, Eliminations and Adjusting entries were made through the TM1 Consolidations product.   Reports created both in TM1 and Excel were readily accessible through the web with no additional effort.

  • TM1 is an in-memory OLAP server, which means that can typically respond to queries more quickly than its competing products;
  • By implementing TM1, the customer was able to compress the consolidations process into a matter of hours, giving analysts much more time for data analysis; and
  • The customer found out that it could eliminate numerous steps from the process itself further contributing towards more time on analytic activity rather than the mechanics of generating month-end reports.

PREDICTif provided a training curriculum that was tailored to the customer’s needs and culture. Power users received comprehensive technology and solution specific training and as a result, quickly became proficient enough to instruct other end users.

RESULTS

PREDICTif delivered significant value to the customer’s return on investment related to the software and IT infrastructure investment. The solution received positive feedback from the customer’s user population and significantly improved the financial consolidation and reporting process.

  • The deployment of the TM1 Consolidations and Reporting solution reduced the number of hours spent generating the consolidated financial reports and freed up considerable more time for analysis;
  • The network traffic due to large volumes of attachment in the email has decreased;
  • Financial analysts can generate reports and dissect large volumes of data using an interface they are familiar with; and
  • The customer’s finance group uses, supports and enhances the solution without dependence on the IT support.

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Consolidations Process After TM1

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email [email protected]
phone +1 713.457.7474
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