2 page Case Study - Posted 2/28/2013
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Oil Company Speeds Reporting, Improves Data Accuracy, and Gains Competitive Edge
Kosmos Energy is a pathfinding oil and gas company focused on emerging areas in Africa and South America. The company’s spreadsheet-based financial planning solution was manual, time-consuming, and prone to inaccuracies. With help from Microsoft
partner Altius Consulting, Kosmos deployed a new solution based on Microsoft SQL Server. The company can now create reports and analytics in a very short time frame and analysts can deliver more-accurate data and meaningful insights.
Kosmos Energy, based in Bermuda, operates in a highly competitive industry, and its business depends on discovering and developing new petroleum systems. “This is a high-risk business with intense competition and if we don’t have the capacity to make quick
decisions, we could lose the opportunity to capture critical assets,” says Sanjay Malani, Advisor, Corporate Planning and Finance, Kosmos Energy.
To support that kind of decision making, Kosmos management needed to have the latest and most accurate financial data related to the budget and long-range forecasts.
Previously, Kosmos relied on manual processes to forecast and capture actuals for reporting purposes. For example, the company had to manually extract actuals data from accounting systems and type it into Microsoft Excel spreadsheets each month. “That process
often took a few weeks,” says Brian Progar, Sr. Director Commercial & Treasury, Kosmos Energy. Information sharing relied on sending files via email, which often resulted in multiple versions with little or no control over information. Also, analytical reports
built from the data were difficult to alter without major disruptions.
Another drawback was the time it took to get reports to executives. “It took up to 6–8 weeks to complete the process of pulling data together, verifying it, and presenting a financial plan,” says Malani. “Because of the lead time, forecasts would often be
stale by the time the final presentation was ready. For effective decision making, we needed to incorporate the most up-to- date information quickly to deliver high-quality analytics to our executives.”
The company’s business continued to grow rapidly, so addressing these challenges became urgent.
||It used to take us a few weeks to build reports, but with our new planning solution based on Microsoft SQL Server, we can do it very quickly.
| Sanjay Malani
Advisor,Corporate Planning and Finance
In late 2010, Kosmos turned to Altius Consulting for assistance in developing a new solution. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Altius is a Microsoft partner with Gold Business Intelligence and Data Platform competencies. Altius suggested a database solution
based on Microsoft SQL Server software. Malani says, “We really liked the reporting and analysis features in SQL Server.”
Altius developed FlexMI™, a solution that uses SQL Server for relational data storage and SQL Server Analysis Services for multidimensional analysis.
The solution uses Microsoft Excel 2010 spreadsheet software for submitting planning assignments and reporting, and the solution’s workflow pushes Excel assignments to analysts. Actuals data is automatically loaded from the accounting system into a central
planning database, through Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services. Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services cubes are used to store data and business rules in one place, and analysts use the cubes to query data for reports via Excel. Actuals data is merged
with the forecast to present a complete view of the year.
With FlexMI, reports can be produced quickly and consistently from centrally stored information in a 25-gigabyte database.
With FlexMI solution based on SQL Server, Kosmos Energy has greatly reduced the front-end time required to capture the forecast data and build reports. As a result, Planning Team is able to spend more time doing high-quality analytics for effective decision
Helps Users Create Reports in Minutes, Not Days
With FlexMI, Kosmos can take advantage of an automated system that holds all data in a central location, with multiple versions to archive the information at different points in time for comparison and analysis. Users can perform ad-hoc analysis quickly
and create reports in minutes instead of weeks. “It used to take us a few weeks to build reports, but with our new planning solution based on SQL Server, we can do it very quickly,” says Malani.
Now, material changes in the forecast can be incorporated quickly, providing the most up-to-date forecasts to executives. “We used to do quarterly planning iterations each year, but with the current solution, we can deliver multiple iterations as needed.”
says Malani. “And it’s not just the speed—the data itself is more meaningful.”
Improves Accuracy and Increases Confidence in Data
The solution also eliminates inaccuracies due to human error. “Using multiple files had the potential for error. This system ensures a consistent and current data set,” says Progar.
With more accurate data, the company’s business decision makers are more confident in the data they’re getting. “Our executives know that the information they’re seeing has been verified on multiple levels,” Malani states. “That increases their confidence
and reduces the company’s risk overall.”
Provides Competitive Edge
Kosmos now has a flexible data solution to gain an advantage in a highly competitive industry. “Because of the nature of our business, forecasts often change at the last minute,” says Malani. “FlexMI is nimble enough that we can make updates and still deliver
accurate data. This helps us get the right data to the right people in the company, so they can move on to new opportunities as quickly as possible. There’s no doubt this will help us compete better in this industry.”
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