International Integrated Energy
This Senturus client is one of the world’s largest integrated energy companies, involved in virtually every facet of the energy industry including exploration, production, refining, transportation, marketing and distribution of crude oil, natural gas, petrochemical products, power and geothermal energy. Headquartered in California, the client is a global leader with worldwide operations, and is engaged in research and development of energy-efficient solutions, including advanced biofuels. The company employs a diverse and highly skilled global workforce of more than 50,000 employees.
Accurate and timely forecasting of the client’s need for strategic personnel for a 10 year period is critical to ensuring that staffing shortages won’t lead to delays of large, long-term projects.
The company’s annual process of producing such forecasts had long been a complex, largely manual, and time-consuming process. It could take the human resources department as long as five months from start to finish in order to collect, compile and report staffing needs of multiple functional groups and business units using numerous Excel templates that were emailed around the world.
Development of forecasts required multiple steps: every group prepared and submitted forecasts to a technical consultant enlisted to then roll up these numbers and generate multiple staffing reports that were then distributed for review, subject to multiple changes, and redistributed until final approval was obtained. The process was iterative, inefficient, and labor-intensive. Ensuring the security, accuracy and version control of huge, 30 megabyte spreadsheets was a challenge – there might be as many as 500 different versions of spreadsheets in circulation. A change to one figure in one spreadsheet could lead to a “domino effect” of requiring changes to multiple, related spreadsheets before a final forecast at the operating company level could be produced.
Senturus streamlined the client’s process of managing and creating forecasts by implementing a database-driven software for planning and consolidation). The solution uses Excel on the front end, an important consideration in maximizing user adoption and utilization. The human resources staff already used Excel to create forecasts, so training was not an issue – Excel’s look-and-feel, format and functionality were already familiar. The key advantages in the new solution’s functionality are:
- All changes and additions to figures are automatically and immediately saved to a database at the backend, and all impacted reports are automatically and immediately updated. It’s no longer necessary for staff to constantly manually update, distribute and track multiple spreadsheets impacted by a given change.
- The most current and accurate version of the data is always accessible from the database. Users no longer need to be notified of each instance of a change in a figure or wait for changes to be manually made.
- Figures are automatically rolled up by functional group, business unit and operating company and updated any time that a figure is updated not only during the forecast process, but also year round.
- Dramatically improved data entry templates that are more intuitive, user friendly and allow for faster data entry.
- Greatly improved reporting that provides deeper analysis of the data and enables standardized reporting across all the business units.
It now takes a fraction of the time – minutes instead of hours – to enter new or changed data and consequently update related forecasts.
In addition to increasing timeliness and accuracy of forecasts, the new solution also significantly improves the client’s ability to manage the forecast process.
- Auditing: at each instance that a change is made to a spreadsheet, the identity of the person initiating the change is recorded. Tracking the source and reason for changes is easy and accountability is clear.
- Workflow management: it’s possible to clearly track the progress various groups and business units have made in completing spreadsheets.
- Security: role-based access to data makes it easy to restrict access to different segments of data as appropriate. For example, a business unit may be restricted from viewing other units’ data or be given read-only access.
The strategic value of Senturus’ solution is critical. At any given time, the client has billions of dollars invested in major capital projects. Unanticipated staffing shortages can mean costly and disruptive delays and issues, impacting both the bottom line and operational success.
With the new strategic staffing solution in place, the client’s management team can for the first time easily and confidently access, review and share reliable and accurate data regarding staffing. Questions regarding data that previously might have resulted in significant uncertainty, delays, additional investigation and revisions are no longer a problem. Answers are readily available. The client’s management team, including the CEO and the Company’s board of directors, is able to plan and make decisions, assured that the right people will be in place at the right time.
The contributions of the strategic staffing solution is well-recognized by the client. The project received the Chairman’s Award, one of the highest honors bestowed by the client company. At the insistence of the client’s project team, Senturus joined the team at the awards ceremony.