BI evaluation underway at Indian Oil Corporation

Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is receiving several proposals from BI vendors, but the energy major is banking on a thorough BI evaluation for the final call.

Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is in the process of making a major decision on the business intelligence (BI) deployment front, but it is taking its time. At the moment, the company is subjecting various options to comprehensive BI evaluation procedures. “There are several BI solutions available in the market,” points out KK Tripathi, the deputy general manager for Information Systems at IOC, “but we are looking for a flexible solution which can change and evolve as per our needs.”

What are the needs? The company’s BI evaluation is centered round certain requirements—ETL, interoperability and RoI. Tripathi reveals that the company is at the moment assessing two leading BI vendors to meet its technical evaluation criteria. These BI evaluation criteria include:

Flexible solutions:  Apart from the normal BI functionalities, IOC needs a flexible BI solution that can deliver reports in normal formats such as PDF, analyze the information, and provide the report to a large number of employees. Says Tripathi: “Unlike other organizations where very few people need access to reports, we are looking at solutions that can give us flexibility to change the dashboard options without causing too much of changes over a period of time.”

ETL: One of IOC’s prime concerns during BI evaluation is that extraction of data from SAP takes too much time. And then again, transformation of this data in the system takes longer. This entire extraction and loading of the data takes much time, dragging the report retrieval process. Says Tripathi: “The solution has to provide relief to the end user and make the system more competent. Since the basic ETL procedure is critical to the application’s functioning, the vendor has to provide a reasonable solution on this front.” 

Interoperability: This is an important BI evaluation concern that will decide whether a solution qualifies for final approval. Most BI appliances have only limited connectivity with other infrastructure applications. “With the size of data that is churned out of systems as big as ours, it is essential to have more connectivity in data exchange between the applications,” says Tripathi. “As part our BI evaluation exercise we are looking at options that can give us more direct connectivity with enterprise apps such as ERP.”

RoI: IOC is keen on having a corporate license-based pricing model. Tripathi believes that there should be considerable improvement in the system and the result can be reflected in the period of four years. “The other way to look at it is that I should be able to recover the money that I have put in for this project at the end of five years.”

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