Murray & Roberts Cementation has deployed an accelerated business intelligence solution for its financial management needs.
The subsidiary focuses on contract mining, which includes project management and ensuring project profitability as well as mine development and mining services.
Microsoft Gold Certified partner, IS Partners, implemented the Microsoft-based solution using timeXtender, an accelerated BI methodology and tool-set, which reduced development time by 75% through automated data extraction and staging.
"The company's primary requirement was to provide information to the executive committee for project profitability and forecasting. While the solution is mainly financial in nature, it also required input from the time and attendance as well as risk management systems," says Ryan Jamieson, director at IS Partners.
Jaco de Bruin, financial manager: operations at Murray & Roberts Cementation, explains that the decision to implement a BI solution was integral to its strategy to ensure that information from a number of systems could be brought together and more easily accessed and presented.
"Our strategy was to provide management information from various sources, including the financial system, for making decisions based on early indicators," says De Bruin. "The first step was to define strategy and work through a full value driver analysis and so determine focus areas when implementing operational BI during phase two. This will ensure improved, value-added decision-making," he says.
All financial and non-financial information is presented through dashboards, scorecards and structured financial statements using Microsoft PerformancePoint Server.
Phase one of the implementation has been completed to provide dashboards for executive KPIs and assist the finance department with reporting to the Exco. Dashboard are used for various areas in different divisions, dealing with a combination of financial, risk, HR and order book KPIs.
"This has ensured easier compliance with general mining industry metrics, such as safety, health and risk. HR can now effortlessly obtain information relating to strikes, BEE components and recruitment, while procurement and order book metrics further allow for determining targets based on financial measures," says De Bruin.
Financial information has been consolidated company-wide, and allows for drill-down to the various divisions as well as to a project level. "A primary focus for the Exco, financial KPIs now allow for streamlined access to information for meeting and maintaining targets," he adds.
De Bruin says that reporting can now be done with ease, even daily if required. Murray & Roberts Cementation can also react quickly to any issues highlighted within a project. "Previously, data had to be taken from sub-systems and manually compiled. We now have visibility into our information on a weekly and monthly basis, and this ensures up-to-date information as data can change from day to day."
Murray & Roberts operates in a Microsoft environment, with SQL Server deployed throughout the organisation. For this reason, the PerformancePoint solution was a logical choice for information presentation.
"timeXtender swung the decision in favour of IS Partners," he says. "The ease with which development was done made up our minds. In fact, we were surprised to find that there was tool that effectively cut development time by up to 75%, generating all code required for the same end result."