High-Value Health Check to Enhance Existing BI Solutions for Oil and Gas Company
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.
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.
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.
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.