A Canadian drilling company turned to the Web when it came time to update its enterprise resource planning software across offices in more than a dozen countries from Turkey to Tanzania.

Major Drilling Group International Inc., based in Moncton, contracts itself out to mining companies around

the world for drilling work and core sampling. Major Drilling was using an ERP package that ran on client-server architecture, which proved problematic for a global company.

“”We were running into issues with it architecturally, (and also had) performance and maintenance issues,”” says CIO Stephane Godbout. “”The company that built it has actually gone under. From a risk management perspective, we needed to look at alternatives.””

Major Drilling hired an independent contractor to assess the options available on the market.

The company needed a system that could interface with its financial tools and handle contracts, invoicing and employee time management.

“”It was actually a challenging project for us,”” said Mounir Hilal, director of professional services for Tenrox, the company chosen to develop the new system.

“”Terminology (played) a big role there. There’s a lot of things that they use in their industry that obviously we had to get familiarized with.””

The new system is Web-based, so the company’s offices across the world could share data from a central pool in Moncton. “”No matter if they’re in South America, the U.S., Canada, Australia, Mongolia — they’ll be connecting here,”” says Godbout.

Under the old system, each office maintained a copy of the company database and updated it independently. Data was shared across the organization, but often too late for management to act on it.

“”The information does roll up… but usually after the fact. We find out about it kind of late in the game if there is a performance issue or if there’s something wrong going on,”” said Godbout.

Godbout aims to have all of Major Drilling’s offices using the system within six months, starting with the largest and moving down — North American offices first, then those in Australia, then the rest of the world.

Another issue for Godbout is compliance with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.

Users will only see as much information as is necessary to perform their jobs, he says.

“”It was also one of my requirements that the product give me the ability to control data access at the micro level. I truly believe that people should only see what they’re required to see from a business perspective,”” he says.

An employee in Major Drilling’s Winnipeg office is testing the software and will be responsible for training regional users. She may be temporarily relocated to Australia when the time comes, said Godbout.

Major Drilling’s global offices are used to working in English, but will be also be able to work in French or Spanish, since the Tenrox software is available in those languages.

English is clearly dominant in North America and Australia, but South American offices can use the software in Spanish.

In parts of Africa, French may be preferable over English. The system will also support multiple currencies.

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