4-page Case Study
Posted: 3/6/2012
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China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Corporation Chinese Energy Utility Builds BI Solution to Improve Information Sharing and Efficiency

China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Corporation (CGN Group) is tasked with developing clean energy sources to fuel China’s booming economy. As the utility grew, its data stores multiplied into the multiterabytes. CGN Group wanted to make intelligent use of this data to operate more efficiently and competitively. The firm upgraded to Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and created a single massive data warehouse that employees across the enterprise can mine using Microsoft SQL Server 2012 PowerPivot for Microsoft Excel 2010 and other business intelligence (BI) tools built into the software. With all company data stored in a single data warehouse, CGN Group employees are able to quickly locate data and make sounder business decisions knowing that the data is up-to-date and consistent. Employees are more productive and efficient, and the company is able to use its data to gain competitive advantage.


The mission of the China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group (CGN Group) is to develop clean energy, benefit society, and become the world’s leading clean energy supplier and service provider. The Chinese Government launched CGN Group in 1994; as of June 30, 2011, CGN Group had total assets of about CNY220.4 billion (U.S.$35 billion).

* By using SQL Server 2012, CGN Group can better share information with subsidiaries, which enhances employee efficiency and competitiveness. *

ChengLian Li
Deputy Director, ITC
China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Corporation

CGN Group is responsible for building 60 percent of the nuclear power projects underway in China and operating 46 percent of existing nuclear power plants. Through the parent company and more than 20 subsidiaries, CGN Group produces more than 5 million kilowatts of nuclear energy and is adding another 18 million kilowatts with the construction of 16 new nuclear power plants. The firm also produces more than 1 million kilowatts of wind power, nearly 3 million kilowatts of hydroelectric power, and 30,000 kilowatts of solar power.

This vast power-generating capacity has sprung up in less than 20 years, so growth at CGN Group has proceeded at a terrific pace. Creating, expanding, and managing the IT infrastructure needed to support such an enormous organization have been challenging, to say the least. As with any large organization, managing data intelligently is critical for business success, which, in the case of CGN Group, means competitive advantage, operational efficiency, and employee and citizen safety.

International competitors have a decades-long advantage over CGN Group in everything from power plant design to information management systems design. Internal operational pressures and external competitive pressures have pushed CGN Group to quickly and continuously enhance its information systems so that the company can respond faster to business needs, provide better business insight, produce more-consistent data, and improve operational efficiency.

Each of the utility’s more than 20 subsidiaries uses hundreds of software applications and generates immense volumes of business data every year. Most of this data and these applications were not connected, which gave rise to thousands of information islands across the company. CGN Group management could not easily gain a unified view of the business, which delayed and impaired strategic decisions. Even subsidiary managers had no easy insight into their own operations, much less those of sister companies. And the IT organizations across the company invested huge amounts of time maintaining and securing disconnected data stores.

CGN Group had developed solutions for enterprisewide collaboration and content management and created a centralized business intelligence (BI) solution. However, as the company’s data volumes expanded, the solution encountered performance and scalability problems.

In addition to wanting to better integrate its information islands and give employees better insight into integrated business data, CGN Group wanted to improve operational efficiency. Employees across the enterprise were constantly “reinventing the wheel,” producing the same reports in multiple subsidiaries and doing the same repetitive manual work week after week. Management wanted to provide better information tools—tools that would automate much of this work, improve efficiency, speed report creation, and reduce costs. The result would increase the utility’s competitiveness.


To solve all these problems, CGN Group decided to upgrade to Microsoft SQL Server 2012 data management software. CGN Group knew that SQL Server was an industry-leading data service and data management product with a long history and successful track record around the world and across China. The firm was especially eager to take advantage of SQL Server 2012 features in data warehousing, BI, and data visualization.

At the same time, in early 2011, the company joined the Microsoft Enrollment for Application Platform (EAP) program, a licensing program for customers that have standardized on the Microsoft Application Platform. EAP is a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement enrollment for customers that want to simplify licensing, help reduce costs, and manage their core infrastructure more efficiently. With the EAP, CGN Group can upgrade its SQL Server software free of charge, based on the need for application expansions and upgrades.

CGN Group used SQL Server 2012 to create a data warehouse that supports a maximum of more than 15,000 extended partitions and a work scene with a maximum of 256 kernels. By using the columns stores feature of SQL 2012, CGN Group can expand data capacity to dozens of terabytes while maintaining high performance.

One SQL Server 2012 feature that CGN Group immediately put to use was Microsoft SQL Server 2012 PowerPivot for Microsoft Excel 2010, which users can take advantage of to easily manipulate large data sets and share analysis using data visualization. Detailed and in-depth studies of large volumes of data are conducted through quick data exploration and data visualization, helping CGNPC achieve sharper commercial insight.

SQL Server PowerPivot for Excel provides capacity for network-based, highly interactive data query and data visualization, makes very fast data queries possible, and provides brand-new and advanced analytical capability.

By using SQL Server PowerPivot for Excel, CGN Group can directly connect to data in a cloud environment, such as data in the Windows Azure Marketplace DataMarket. Windows Azure Marketplace is a global online market for Software-as-a-Service applications and premium data sets. DataMarket provides a single location—a marketplace for data—where developers can search for, explore, try, and purchase data needed to develop application.

SQL Server 2012 also includes a sophisticated BI service, which CGN Group is using to enhance efficiency and business insight. SQL Server 2012 provides Power View technology, which gives employees access to sophisticated BI reporting capabilities without any technical knowledge. It also provides an IT dashboard and collaboration through a Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 interface. Through the Business Intelligence Semantic Model and Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Reporting Services, SQL Server can provide comprehensive views of reports and dashboards across heterogeneous data sources.

CGN Group is also using SQL Server 2012 Integration Services to collect data from across the organization and deposit it into the warehouse in a consistent, reliable, and efficient manner. By using the new SQL Server 2012 Data Quality Services, CGN Group can ensure data reliability, conduct data erasing and data matching, and further enhance data quality.

Through SQL Server 2012 Master Data Services, CGN Group can also create, maintain, store, and access the master data structure used for object mapping, data referencing, and metadata management. All of these new capabilities have made data management and maintenance tasks more convenient and easier.


By deploying SQL Server 2012, CGN Group has enhanced data discovery and business insight, improved data consistency, and facilitated data sharing. All of these improvements enhance the company’s competitive edge.

Rapid Data Discovery, Higher Employee Efficiency

By using the SQL Server PowerPivot for Excel and data integration services, CGN Group employees enjoy rapid data discovery and more reliable and consistent data. The immediate availability of up-to-date business data helps senior managers determine the health of the business as a whole and of individual subsidiaries. Daily and long-range strategic decisions are made faster and, what’s more, are founded on facts.

With the advanced analytical capabilities of SQL Server PowerPivot for Excel, CGN Group employees can use the familiar Microsoft Excel 2010 spreadsheet software to quickly analyze massive amounts of data.

Reports can be generated at the push of a button, relieving employees of repetitive, manual work that saps productivity. Using the self-service BI tools in SQL Server 2012, employees have an easy, graphical way to access and make sense of terabytes of operating data on their department, subsidiary, or the entire enterprise. As a bonus, employees can generate custom reports in minutes, without involving the IT staff.

“By using SQL Server 2012, CGN Group can better share information with subsidiaries, which enhances employee efficiency and competitiveness,” says ChengLian Li, Deputy of ITC, China Guangdong Nuclear Power.

Consolidated Data Warehouse for Easier Information Sharing

With its data warehouse, CGN Group has been able to link its data islands into a single repository that all subsidiaries can mine to make decisions. And this warehouse can grow into the hundreds of terabytes with no concerns about performance or scalability barriers.

The company’s new SQL Server 2012 database foundation has also made it easier for the IT staff to more easily implement new business applications needed by various departments, so that the company’s nuclear, hydroelectric, and solar professionals have the tools they need to build and operate power plants.

Thanks to membership in the EAP program, CGN Group did not have to worry about budgets and procurement processes to try new features in SQL Server 2012. This not only saved time for project approval and procurement but also saved money.

Increased Competitive Advantage

Ultimately, having a centralized data warehouse of business data that can be easily mined for business insight helps CGN Group be more competitive in global energy markets. Management can analyze business health and market opportunities using highly visual, easy-to-use analytical tools. This helps them make better short-term and long-range decisions.

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Solution Overview

Organization Profile
China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Corporation (CGN Group) is a state-owned utility responsible for developing clean energy in China. The firm has more than 20 subsidiaries.

Business Situation
CGN Group needed a better way to organize, locate, and share its growing data volumes among all employees to improve efficiency and competitiveness.

The firm upgraded to Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and used it to create a centralized data warehouse and business intelligence solution.

  • Rapid data discovery, higher employee efficiency
  • Consolidated data warehouse for easier information sharing
  • Increased competitive advantage

Software and Services
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2012
  • Microsoft SQL Server Data Quality Services
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010
  • Microsoft Excel 2010
  • Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services
  • Microsoft SQL Server Master Data Services
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 PowerPivot for Microsoft Excel 2010
  • Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services

Vertical Industries
Power & Utilities


Business Need
Business Intelligence and Reporting

IT Issue
Data Warehousing