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Business Intelligence Case Study

- Port


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.

 

Business Benefit

"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 get before.”

 

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,”

 

Solution

Considered

Proof of concepts were built by

Accepted

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 and maintain.

Using an Agile approach means we can learn more about what we want, by using some of the preliminary capability.

 

Solution Delivered

Data

  • 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.

Visualisation

  • 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.

 

Business Feedback

“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 complicated implementation.

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