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CASE STUDY - BP Exploration and Production Migrates to a New Business Intelligence Environment

Commentary by Graham Yerbury, Head of MI Systems E&P Segment, BP

Providing accurate and timely forecasting and planning information is essential in the Exploration and Production (E&P) segment within BP. The market prices of oil and gas can and do fluctuate widely. Production levels and resource requirements are under constant review. BP’s financial analysts need to have access to information across a wide range of metrics, including financial, production, resources, and pricing. The information is updated regularly and quickly.

BP became acutely aware of the need to find a solution to replace its aging online analytical processing (OLAP) based Group Financial Outlook (GFO) solution, which was not as flexible and scalable as it needed to be. Having looked at competing options from Hyperion, Oracle, and Microsoft, BP turned to Altius Consulting, a Microsoft Certified Partner, for advice as to what solution they recommended given BP’s need for rapid information turnaround and low cost of implementation and maintenance.




Customer Profile

The Exploration and Production (E&P) segment of BP, one of the world’s largest petroleum and petrochemicals companies, has offices in 26 countries.

Business Situation

BP E&P needed to upgrade its Group Financial Outlook forecasting and planning system to give its financial analysts more timely access to information through the corporate intranet.


Altius Consulting—BP E&P’s consulting partner for this important project— recommended Microsoft SQL Server 2000 and Microsoft Analysis Services Business Intelligence platform, with arcplan dynaSight for Web-based reporting and analysis, and XLCubed for reporting and analysis via Microsoft Office Excel.

  • Saves $100,000 in annual maintenance charges
  • Improves controls and audit trail
  • Enables faster, more flexible group forecasting and planning via the corporate Intranet
  • Ease of integration with back-office applications
For More Information

Graham Yerbury, head of MI Systems E&P Segment, BP, said: “We had an existing OLAP product, and in 2001 built a systems infrastructure around it for a local audience. Everyone who used it was in the same building, but within 12 months from implementation, we needed to extend the system to a broader audience and distribute it through the BP intranet. Unfortunately, the product we had did not give us a robust or scalable enterprise solution.”

BP wanted to provide up-to-date data to its offices in Hong Kong, Houston, Buenos Aires, Aberdeen, and London to ensure that the analysts could access information at the same time. Using a file-based workaround in its legacy system, Yerbury felt that there was a high likelihood of information being out of sync.


Altius recommended that the new GFO solution be based on the Microsoft Business Intelligence platform using Microsoft SQL Server 2000 and Microsoft Analysis Services as the data storage and analysis engines. In addition, arcplan dynaSight was recommended as the Web-based reporting and analysis tool. arcplan dynaSight is a Microsoft Gold Partner firm and leader in Web-based reporting and analysis tools. arcplan dynaSight provides users with a user-friendly way to navigate around their business information environment and gain a solid understanding of where their business is doing well and where it could do better. Features such as drill down and up, traffic lighting, and graphs make arcplan an intuitive work environment for BP’s analysts.

For ad hoc reporting and analysis, Altius recommended XLCubed, a Microsoft Office Excel add-in that enables users to create reports on the fly utilizing the power and functionality of Excel and Analysis Services.

Altius has a strong relationship with Microsoft in the business intelligence marketplace. David Anderson, principal consultant with Altius, said: “Microsoft has changed the price profile for OLAP technologies for good. Companies can now gain access to OLAP and relational database technologies for a fraction of the cost of just a couple of years ago.”

Microsoft Analysis Services is fully integrated with Microsoft SQL Server. Together these products have provided BP E&P with the necessary components for a fully integrated BI solution. arcplan dynaSight produces reports and graphics that export easily to Microsoft Office products, and the tool is extremely easy to use.

Graham Yerbury added: “dynaSight is a very robust enterprise application that fits in well with our intranet. We particularly like the tight integration with Microsoft Office for our monthly financial reports to the E&P management team. Previously, we had to print off tabs in 65 Excel workbooks. Now the information can be distributed as a Microsoft Office Word document through the e-mail system or read online.”

This article originally appeared in the issue of .

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