Business Intelligence Case Study
Key Business Requirement
Ports are a data rich environment. Every ship arrival triggers
a huge mass of detail about what it is carrying, where that cargo
or container is on a ship, where it is bound. Every time a crane
picks up a container and moves it round the wharves, more data goes
into the system.
The Port operations needed a robust reporting tool that could extract
data from multiple systems and transform it into information that
could drive business decisions.
Port land is valuable, and the company needs to keep attracting
high volumes of high value cargo. Port planners need to understand
who their customers are, what value they bring to the operation,
and how they can be better served.
The requirement focus was to get a better understanding of volumes
coming through the port.
"BI strengthened our management reporting to give us better
visibility of the port’s operations. This allows us to let
the operations group have direct access to data they couldn’t
Existing Data Infrastructure
Multiple systems, none of which delivered reporting. The new reporting
system needed to integrate data from all the systems.
The biggest challenge was understanding the data due to sheer volume.
“Everything is reporting, so you need to understand the grouping,
the structures, how it goes into the databases and how much you
need to extract.” - Project Manger
“No one knew how much was in there,”
Proof of concepts were built by
Applix TM1 Business Intelligence Solution. TM1 technology from
Applix is one of the fastest Oracle Database Compliant analysis
tools on the market, used by more than half of all Fortune 500 companies.
Implemented by Cortell. The selected vendor was able to provide
a modular approach to building the solution. The client didn’t
want a big bang solution, which may have been expensive to implement
Using an Agile approach means we can learn more about what we want,
by using some of the preliminary capability.
- TM1 takes a snapshot of the summary data in other systems, such
as the Peoplesoft general ledger, the PayGlobal payroll system,
the Port Information Management System and the container tracking
system, rather than replicating entire production databases. That
means it can work much faster with lower system overhead.
- Most users use Microsoft Excel as the reporting interface, but
the data remains back in TM1.
- A set of standard reports were built, which can be easily tailored
once users get familiar with the system. “That means we
get one version of the truth.”
- Reports from payroll data were developed to better understand
labour costs and resource optimisation.
- Guidance was given on how to best use the reports - “We
also needed to manage the way things were reported. Everybody
was doing their own reports and getting variations, so we had
to develop a standard, to say ‘these are the figures we
aim for." While most businesses concentrate on financial
data, Ports need to understand its volumetric data and how that
related to its financials and its key performance indicators (KPIs).
- The project cost around $150,000, much less than some of the
other options which involved building data marts or data warehouses.
Planned Next Step
No future development plans stated.
“With TM1 we are able to create value out of existing systems,
empowering users to do ‘what if” analysis on their information
and get away from relying on Excel with its inherent risks,”
the CFO says.
Using an external implementation provider meant the finance department
“could get on and do it,” and not have to rely on the
IT department, which would have a greater sway in a bigger and more
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