Anglo Coal Benefits From Data Warehouse Expansion

BI Planning Services has assisted with the expansion of the Anglo Coal data warehouse and business intelligence (BI) solution to include new initiatives instituted by Anglo`s Human Resources and SHE (Safety, Health and Environment) business areas. Anglo Coal, a division of Anglo American, is one of SA`s largest coal producers. The company wanted to expand its data warehouse to consolidate its various information resources and, by using BI tools, analyse and report on the impact of these across its eight operations. Anglo Coal needed to cross-reference the SHE information measuring such factors as individual mine noise levels and air content with the HR, payroll and financial systems in order to analyse such factors as mine conditions versus days leave per person and the associated cost per mine.

BI Planning Services reviewed the company`s 13 business areas and put forward proposals on how to effectively include these into the existing data warehouse solution.

“The assessment phase of our methodology determines the strategic, operational, tactical and information technology needs of a business and is key to any implementation that we approach,” says Craig Hart, technical director at BI Planning Services. “Our assessment allows us to scope the project in detail, to give exact man-hours and pricing, and to deliver on time and on budget. Anglo Coal essentially required a rapid deployment data warehouse methodology for the incorporation of its new business initiatives into the current information warehouse.”

Using a top-down approach, BI Planning Services delivered consolidated and aggregated information relating to key performance indications (KPIs) to top-level management first, as the project was rolled out.

To provide the overall solution cost-effectively and in the shortest possible time, BI Planning Services used as much of Anglo Coal`s existing infrastructure and technology as possible. This included Ascential Software` s Datastage, an extraction, transformation and loading (ETL) solution, the Cognos ETL tool DecisionStream, and the Cognos front-end toolset that includes PowerPlay Enterprise Server and Impromptu Web Reports.

“BI Planning Services is an implementation partner and VAR for our Cognos data mining and data mart solutions. With DecisionStream already in place, the company could roll-out additional Cognos functionality without major customisation in a short period of time,” explains Greg Morley, account manager at Cognos SA.

Cognos Impromptu was used to provide managed report authoring to business executives. Managers at Anglo Coal can now create reports drawn from any data source and can be securely delivered to specific managers across the Internet or intranets.

For OLAP (online analytical processing) analysis, Cognos PowerPlay enables users to explore large volumes of summarised data in a Web, Windows or Excel environment. With PowerPlay, users at any business or technical skill level in a company can perform their own multidimensional analysis based on verified data, create reports from reports, and share the data with other managers. Cognos Upfront is used to deliver BI information to users. The product allows centralised content delivery and management through a customisable interface that can be tailored to the requirements of operational users. For data acquisition, Ascential Software`s DataStage is used to gather and process data from the various transactional systems. DataStage takes the data, once it has cleaned it and converted it into the required formats, and populates the data warehouse.

Hart says the HR and SHE modules were delivered on time (within six months) and on budget. He adds that the internal Anglo Coal team was a key component of the success of the implementation. “Bringing together parties like this can often lead to confusion during an implementation of this nature, but Anglo Coal handled the internal aspect of the project well.”