Trinidad Energy Services installs ERP to pull apps together

A Calgary-based drilling contractor has spent the last couple of years rolling out a business intelligence solution that allows it to drill down into its data efficiently and easily.

Trinidad Energy Services Income Trust, which contracts rigs to North American oil and gas companies, has grown tenfold in the last two-and-a-half years with eight new acquisitions, taking it from 300 to 3,000 employees. In addition to its growing workforce, the new acquisitions also meant an increasing number of IT systems running on different platforms, including DOS and IBM AS/400.

Trinidad sent out an RFP and selected Microsoft Canada partner Open Door Technology to implement ERP software Microsoft Business Solutions – Navision, now a part of the Microsoft Dynamics portfolio, running on Windows Server 2000. The Dynamics product line also includes CRM 3.0, which was released last fall. Using Navision, Trinidad was able to pull all of the disparate systems together onto its system.

Trinidad has been able to automate processes such as financial and payroll operations by integrating Navision with a software application called Pason, which is widely used in the oil and gas industry. Pason creates a tour (pronounced “tower”) sheet, which lists information such as invoice, payroll and safety reporting.

Prior to Navision, Trinidad would access the Pason portal and print off the reports, then re-enter the information into its systems. Now, the data from the rig site is sent via satellite to Pason’s site where Trinidad employees can download the information directly into the system.

“It provides a lot more accurate information,” said Scott Hennenfent, corporate controller, Trinidad. “If there’s a problem, they can correct it, rather than a week later they’re trying to figure out what happened or what the correct information is.”

Brad Pawlak, senior director of sales and marketing, Open Door Technology, said bringing the data across wasn’t the biggest issue.

“The bigger issue was the training due to the fact that people were used to having a certain sequence and that’s all they could do in terms of their job function,” said Pawlak. “They now can do less menial things and start doing more meaningful things with their time.”

Nancy Teixeira, ERP product manager, Microsoft Canada, said a lot of companies in the energy sector like Trinidad have outgrown their systems or are looking for something more integrated to improve their organizations’ operational efficiencies.

“The oil and gas sector is prime for technology refresh based on the fact they’re typically running on much older technology,” said Teixeira.

Trinidad also deployed a third party application developed for Navision called Jet Reports, which allows the user to pull information from Navision and view it in Microsoft Excel.

“With Navision we need the reporting end of it because they don’t really have a lot of canned reports that come out of it other than your standard fixed-asset type of stuff,” said Hennenfent.

Because Trinidad, like the oil and gas sector itself, is growing at an exponential rate, Jet Reports is starting to hit its limits, said Pawlak.

“Now they’re looking at moving into a Business Intelligence tool from Microsoft called business analytics and possibly some SQL reporting,” he said.

All of the information is now stored in Microsoft SQL Server 2000, which, combined with Jet Reports to extract the information, makes it easier for Trinidad to analyze its data.

“Before we had a difficult time reconciling the number of days because it was always through a different part of the system,” said Hennenfent. “By having those two ends connected we find that our analysis of our financial side is bang on all the time.”

While the initial roll out was over two years ago, Trinidad continues to add more functionality to the Navision platform, including a human resources tracking capability that allows it to keep track of its safety reports and program as required by industry regulations. Employees are rewarded for complying with the rules using a points system similar to credit card and airline companies that they can view online.

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