AIM Consulting Helps BP Exploration Alaska Improve Efficiency in Supply Chain Management with Power BI

Case Study: Data and Analytics

SITUATION & BUSINESS CHALLENGE

BP Exploration Alaska, Inc. (BPXA), a subsidiary of BP plc, manages oil exploration and development in Alaska. Within BPXA’s Purchasing and Supply Chain Management (PSCM) division, the Functional Performance Management team is passionate about discovering organizational efficiencies and determining where to find savings and derive the most value from investments.

Tasked with improving operational efficiency, the PSCM division wanted to leverage its data more effectively. To do so would require overcoming challenges with the data and skillsets, such as:

  • The potential value of the data-rich environment was not being realized.
  • The non-uniform, unstructured data came from numerous sources.
  • An array of applications hosted and consumed the data, including SAP, SAP Ariba, Microsoft Excel, and SharePoint, as well as in-house custom applications.
  • The approach to reporting did not leverage the most modern tools and was not optimized for decision-making.

The Functional Performance Management team wanted to leverage Microsoft Power BI to unite the organizational data and produce more in-depth drill-downs. However, although the team was able to build a promising prototype, they needed more proficiency in Power BI, so they conducted a search for a consulting partner familiar with the Microsoft ecosystem that had strong experience in delivering insightful Power BI solutions to large companies. Impressed by AIM Consulting’s Power BI consulting experience and Power BI best practices in thought leadership, BPXA engaged AIM to deliver on the solution.

SOLUTION

A Senior Data Consultant from AIM’s Data & Analytics (D&A) practice worked with the client to produce a set of robust Power BI solutions and impart significant Power BI knowledge to the organization.

Following a discovery process and thorough data mapping to standardize the data, AIM scripted a few simple Power BI visualizations that enabled PSCM workers and leaders to see overall contract spend and drill down into the millions of line items in contracts and purchase orders from multiple applications. With these data visualizations, workers no longer needed to be SAP or Ariba experts to leverage the wealth of data intelligently.

The engagement evolved with the client providing additional mockups to AIM and AIM quickly building improved solutions with the team in a back-and-forth fashion. As part of this phase, AIM delivered short, 1.5-hour knowledge transfer sessions to explain how each data visualization solution was built and how to model data so the BPXA team could gradually learn to build Power BI solutions on its own.

A few powerful examples highlight the effectiveness of the Power BI solution:

1.) AIM demonstrated how to integrate inventory data from multiple applications in order to efficiently look at vast amounts of inventory data across warehouses without the need to access multiple complex systems and reports.

2.) Additional value was realized from the ease of hashing the data to analyze it in different ways. For example, calculating and illustrating individual line item variances in RFPs that have thousands of lines allowed practitioners a higher level of insight into the critical cost items in complex RFPs.

3.) AIM provided insight into the optimization of the existing architecture to streamline data management for existing applications, resulting in reducing maintenance time and effort.

The ongoing knowledge transfer sessions have allowed the client to gain further value from its Microsoft business suite application stack investment. For example, scripting the Power BI and SharePoint instances with a shared name automatically refreshes data whenever it is updated on SharePoint. The team is also investigating Microsoft Flow to further automate tasks for easier updating of forecasts and other reports, and using machine learning to generate even more data insight.

AIM Consulting brought true expertise in Data and Analytics and Power BI. They enabled us to extract more business value from our data than I had even imagined was possible and helped us to mature as a data driven business. I have come to rely on AIM, seeing them not only as a brilliant solution provider, but as a trusted partner in technology and digital transformation.

– Raimundo Martinez

Performance and Planning, Compliance and Risk Manager

RESULTS

AIM’s Power BI solutions have reduced the amount of time it takes for PSCM workers to perform data transformations from hours to minutes. Time and resource savings are enormous, and the team is much more agile and innovative. All levels of users are now able to drill down to the level of detail they need to generate effective and intelligent insights, enabling them to communicate better decisions to management.

The kind of knowledge transfer and training provided in this engagement from AIM to the client is unusual in the consulting industry, but AIM believes that the strongest client relationships come from partnerships that empower clients to build and operate technology on their own.