Antarctica New Zealand (case study)
 

Antarctica New Zealand (case study)

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The main driver behind the ‘Ice Cube’ [OLAP cube] was getting financial information on the ice, in a compact format that could be accessed locally, instead of remotely over their slow satellite ...

The main driver behind the ‘Ice Cube’ [OLAP cube] was getting financial information on the ice, in a compact format that could be accessed locally, instead of remotely over their slow satellite datalink.

As Greg Jack, Information Services Team Leader from Antarctica New Zealand says:

“We wanted to look at our actual expenditure versus budget expenditure at any time, to see how much we’d spent for the year and how much we had left. We need to plan our budgets a year ahead to ensure most supplies are on the annual ship. [Prior to this project] Remote access to this information in Antarctica was painstakingly frustrating because it is hosted in Christchurch - we have a slow satellite datalink down there.”

With power of Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services information could now be accessed in an accurate, user friendly manner, eliminating the manual collation of information. As Brad Phillips, Accountant from Antarctica New Zealand says:

“Budget managers would request an update on their budget versus expenditure. I had to collate a spread sheet which involved the laborious task of cutting and pasting data from different places. By the time I’d finished it might be half way through the following month and the information would be out of date.”

More details: http://www.intergen.co.nz/Our-Work/antarctica-new-zealand/\

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Antarctica New Zealand (case study) Antarctica New Zealand (case study) Document Transcript

  • PUBLIC SECTOR, RESEARCH case study The ‘Ice Cube’ delivers financial insight to Scott Base Antarctica New Zealand Valued, protected, understood THE SITUATION We can log into the local server down at Scott Base and can see our financial information which replicates overnight. That’s the beauty about having the ‘Ice Cube’ down there. BRAD PHILLIPS ACCOUNTANT ANTARCTICA NZ Antarctica New Zealand manages Scott Base, New Zealand’s Antarctic research station. The organisation is responsible for supporting scientific research, conserving the intrinsic values of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, as well as helping raise public awareness of the international significance of the continent. Much time and effort goes into managing their financial budget to ensure efficient use of time and resources. “What we were looking at was fairly straightforward: tracking actual expenditure versus budget expenditure. We’re on a fixed income from the Government and we need to work out how we’re going to spend that. Throughout the year we wanted an easy way to see how much money we’d spent. For example: it’s September now, how much was my budget for July, August and September? How much have I spent? How much is left? What’s the rest of the year looking like? What transactions were processed?” The Antarctica New Zealand financial team needed a complete ‘one stop shop’ system that could deliver budgeting information in an accurate and user friendly manner. With Microsoft SQL Server already implemented, enhancing it further with Analysis Services was the next step. As Brad Phillips, Accountant from Antarctica New Zealand says: Having clear insight right down to transactions would not only make Brad’s job a lot easier, but ensure that budget managers could make intelligent business decisions when planning for the year. Most importantly, they needed financial information that could be accessed in both Christchurch and Scott Base.
  • With Intergen on board, the ‘Ice Cube’ project commenced. With only months until the next annual shipment to Antarctica, it was time to get stuck in and develop a solution based on Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services to ensure budget managers could get their financial planning underway at Scott Base. THE PAIN The main driver behind the ‘Ice Cube’ [OLAP cube] was getting financial information on the ice, in a compact format that could be accessed locally, instead of remotely over their slow satellite datalink. As Greg Jack, Information Services Team Leader from Antarctica New Zealand says; “We wanted to look at our actual expenditure versus budget expenditure at any time, to see how much we’d spent for the year and how much we had left. We need to plan our budgets a year ahead to ensure most supplies are on the annual ship. [Prior to this project] Remote access to this information in Antarctica was painstakingly frustrating because it is hosted in Christchurch – we have a slow satellite datalink down there.” With power of Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services information could now be accessed in an accurate, user friendly manner, eliminating the manual collation of information. As Brad Phillips, Accountant from Antarctica New Zealand says: “Budget managers would request an update on their budget versus expenditure. I had to collate a spread sheet which involved the laborious task of cutting and pasting data from different places. By the time I’d finished it might be half way through the following month and the information would be out of date.” the gain The ‘Ice Cube’ [which utilises Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services] was implemented in time for the budget managers’ annual trip on the ice. They now have access to accurate financial information that is delivered in an efficient, user friendly manner. As Greg Jack, Information Services Team Leader from Antarctica New Zealand says: The Business Case “I like the idea of up-to-date transactions; before, our reports were one month in arrears. The pivot table displays the information easily and with Microsoft functions we’re already familiar with, adoption has been successful. We can log into the local server down at Scott Base and can see our financial information which replicates overnight. That’s the beauty about having the ‘Ice Cube’ down there.” »» Access to financial information in Christchurch and locally at Scott Base Brad Phillips, Accountant from Antarctica New Zealand confirms the benefits the system has delivered: Antarctica New Zealand ensures all its resources are managed and used effectively by having a user-friendly, intelligent financial system that can be accessed both in Christchurch and locally at Scott Base. The Business Value »» Clear insight into budget expenditure to make the best business decisions »» User friendly financial interface »» Increased productivity through the efficient use of time and resources The Engine Room »» Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services “I used to spend two days collating data to generate reports for our budget. This is now a thing of the past and our budget managers can now have direct access [to the system] where they can view right down to single transactions. As a Government owned entity we are being directed to create productivity improvements and this is clearly one of them.” the FUTURE Using the ‘Ice Cube’ to track the orders (from request to delivery) is something Antarctica New Zealand is looking into. As Brad says; “This is especially important for our team on the ice – so they can see what’s coming down, when it’s coming and who it’s for.” With more than 300 Intergen staff working across organisations of all sizes and types, our offerings include portals, content and collaboration solutions, Microsoft Dynamics financial and relationship management, custom software development, management consulting and hosting services. AUCKLAND CHRISTCHURCH DUNEDIN PERTH REDMOND SYDNEY WELLINGTON