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BP Case Study


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Energy giant BP saved its employees when Hurricane Katrina struck, but the process of locating its people and material assets, and making decisions about their care, was time-consuming when every second counted. The company sought a better solution.

That’s what BP has now with its Hurricane Management System, which combines the 3-D satellite imagery of Microsoft® Virtual Earth™ mapping software and real-time weather data with a visual representation of BP people and facilities. The solution uses existing BP infrastructure, including the Microsoft application environment. It saves BP crisis managers hours each day by
automatically consolidating data from 20 sources. Most important, BP personnel worldwide can understand and respond to threats hours faster—with the potential both to better care for the safety of
their workers and to save millions of dollars.

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BP Case Study

  1. 1. Microsoft Customer Solution Manufacturing Industry Case Study BP Cuts Hours Off Emergency Response with Visual Solution that Tracks Threats to Assets Overview “This solution is changing the way we do business. Country or Region: United States Industry: Manufacturing—Oil and gas When the data is presented through a map-based interface, it’s amazing. It gives you a richer, bigger, Customer Profile BP, headquartered in London, England, is more intelligent picture of what’s going on.” one of the world’s largest energy Steve Fortune, Information Management Director, Gulf of Mexico Strategic Performance Unit, BP companies, providing customers with fuel for transportation, energy for heat and Energy giant BP saved its employees when Hurricane Katrina light, retail services, and petrochemicals. struck, but the process of locating its people and material assets, Business Situation and making decisions about their care, was time-consuming when After Hurricane Katrina, the Gulf of Mexico Strategic Performance Unit of BP wanted a every second counted. The company sought a better solution. better way to locate people and material That’s what BP has now with its Hurricane Management System, assets, and to make decisions about their care in the event of a natural disaster. which combines the 3-D satellite imagery of Microsoft® Virtual Earth™ mapping software and real-time weather data with a visual Solution BP created a data-visualization solution representation of BP people and facilities. The solution uses using real-time weather data along with existing BP infrastructure, including the Microsoft application Microsoft® Virtual Earth™ mapping software, SQL Server™ 2005 database environment. It saves BP crisis managers hours each day by software, and Office SharePoint® Portal automatically consolidating data from 20 sources. Most important, Server 2003. BP personnel worldwide can understand and respond to threats Benefits hours faster—with the potential both to better care for the safety of Visualization of data enables greater understanding, decision making their workers and to save millions of dollars. Solution cuts hours off emergency response Extensibility enables broader use for other needs
  2. 2. “This isn’t just about Situation from as many as 20 databases and Web- The Gulf of Mexico Strategic Performance based sources. He would then import the employees and Unit of BP, the global energy company, is data into ESRI ArcInfo mapping software, contractors—these focused on the exploration and production of check it for accuracy, and send out e-mail oil and gas. Based in Houston, Texas, the unit messages to the crisis team. The meetings people offshore are our is responsible for a complex mix of assets, would become increasingly tense as a storm friends, so it was very including eight deep-water oil production and approached. drilling platforms that feed thousands of personal.” miles of pipelines, and more than 100 fuel “We would have 40 people lining the walls Brian Autio, Principal Mapping Lead, terminals and offices. Combined, these in a room that might typically hold only 15 or Crisis Team, BP resources use the talents of 1,500 people. 20 people, trying to analyze what was going on,” says Autio. “This isn’t just about BP’s people and facilities are located employees and contractors—these people throughout the Gulf States and beyond. When offshore are our friends, so it was very a storm approaches the region, BP has to personal. And it was all about making sure predict who will be affected. Tracking and that they were safe.” projecting storm paths and intensity are crucial to protecting employees and aiding In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, BP storm victims. The effectiveness of these crisis managers began to explore better ways operations depends on BP having fast, to obtain and manage information that would accurate storm information, as well as a keep their friends safe. They wanted a complete understanding of where people and solution that would integrate BP personnel facilities are. and asset data from disparate databases and marry that data to visual imagery to make it Traditionally, BP managed this process with easy—even intuitive—to understand who wall-mounted paper charts and pushpins to might be at risk, without the delay inherent in represent storm paths and employee the existing process. locations. The crisis team would use other physical tools to measure the distance BP staff wanted to take advantage of systems between a hurricane and BP facilities. To that existed outside the company—weather obtain the data for this setup, Brian Autio, feeds, traffic feeds, housing feeds—and to Principal Mapping Lead for the BP crisis overlay them with internal data to speed team, would spend three or four hours before planning and aid. They also wanted a fully a planning meeting pulling data manually Web-based solution to eliminate the need for deployment and maintenance of client BP Fast Facts software and to enable BP people anywhere Global operations 100 countries in the world—at the U.K. world headquarters, Global employment 96,000 people (27,000 in North America) at the Houston regional center, or even on Revenue (FY 2006) U.S.$265 billion the deep-water platforms—to view and share Solution helps protect • Thousands of miles of pipeline the same intelligence. • 100 fuel terminals and offices • 1,500 people Meanwhile, another BP functional area was Time to benefit Cut by 50 percent considering a solution to engage a similar Application platform capabilities Development, data management, business forecasting ability in the service of identifying intelligence risks to BP physical assets. In this case, BP was reconsidering its method of assessing the after-the-fact impact of hurricanes on its
  3. 3. “It was extremely helpful facilities. The company needs to know very hurricane season. This gave the development quickly if damage has been sustained to team just three months. that we could create the drilling platforms, underwater pipelines, and solution using the SQL other infrastructure so that it can begin repair The developers met that goal, as well as operations as soon as possible. requirements for cost-effectiveness, by taking Server databases that further advantage of BP’s existing Microsoft- we already had and Traditionally, BP would send out aircraft, as based infrastructure, rather than trying to re- soon as it was safe, to take aerial create a new solution infrastructure from understood at BP.” photographs, which would be evaluated back scratch. For example, much of the asset data Stephen Fortune, Information Management at regional headquarters. But, aware of that BP wanted to use already resided in the Director, Gulf of Mexico Strategic Performance advances in satellite imagery, BP wondered if company’s SQL Server databases. The Unit, BP there was a solution that could not only take developers used SQL Server Integration advantage of that imagery to depict damaged Services to pull continually updated asset sites, but also capture predisaster images for data into the solution’s SQL Server spatial comparative analysis, decreasing the risk to data warehouse. The same technology staff deployed to perform reconnaissance. enabled them to pull in personnel data from an Oracle PeopleSoft database, and base- Solution map information from their ESRI Oracle To help solve these challenges, BP turned to database. Microsoft® Gold Certified Partner IDV Solutions. Together, the companies created The solution also incorporates real-time the BP Hurricane Management System weather feeds from external sources such as solution, which combines three-dimensional ImpactWeather and Horizon Marine through satellite imagery and real-time weather data the use of Web services that easily integrate with symbols representing BP people and with SQL Server, thanks to that software’s assets. The result is a highly visual native support for XML. The developers representation that enables crisis managers estimate that using the existing infrastructure to see weather patterns—and their potential and Microsoft technologies cut their impact on people and facilities—more clearly development time in half, making the three- and quickly than before. month deadline possible. IDV created a working prototype of the “It was extremely helpful that we could create solution in just two weeks by taking the solution using the SQL Server databases advantage of technologies that were already that we already had and understood at BP,” part of the Microsoft application environment says Stephen Fortune, Information deployed at BP—including the Microsoft Management Director, Gulf of Mexico Visual Studio® 2005 development system, Strategic Performance Unit, BP. “That was a SQL Server™ 2005 database software, and benefit during development, and it will mean Office SharePoint® Portal Server 2003—as more cost-effective maintenance of the well as technologies new to BP, such as solution on a continuing basis.” Microsoft Virtual Earth™ mapping software. BP chose the Web services–based Virtual With the prototype created so quickly, BP felt Earth software to provide the geographic it was reasonable to see the completed imagery for the solution. solution in production on an equally fast track: in time for the start of the 2006 “Virtual Earth is a very natural fit for us, one that integrates well with our existing
  4. 4. Microsoft infrastructure, including our All this information—the integrated asset and intranet portal,” says Fortune. “It’s mapping imagery—is housed in IDV’s Visual architected to support rapid application Fusion Client interface components, which development, which contributed to the rapid are contained in a SharePoint site through development of our POC [proof of concept] which BP personnel access the information. and our ultimate solution. It also provided (See Figure 1.) better imagery than the alternative we considered.” “We’ve always faced the challenge of integrating data from multiple sources so IDV Solutions’ Visual Fusion Suite, consisting people could do their jobs more efficiently,” of Visual Fusion Server and Visual Fusion says Fortune. “We’d been working for some Client, was another crucial component of the time with SharePoint Portal Server, an solution. IDV’s Visual Fusion Server uses important part of our Microsoft application Microsoft ADO.NET technology to pull asset platform, as the place to bring together Figure 1: The BP Hurricane information from the SQL Server 2005 information. So it was key for us that the Management System provides a warehouse, convert it to spatially formatted Hurricane Management System took highly visual representation of data, and send it to an Office SharePoint advantage of this work, that it brought weather-based threats and the BP Portal Server collaboration portal in XML together everything in the SharePoint site. It employees and assets threatened format, where it is layered onto Virtual Earth was based on a tight integration of by them, enabling people to make mapping data. SharePoint Portal Server, Virtual Earth, and better and faster decisions in a SQL Server.” crisis.
  5. 5. “The Hurricane The use of a Web portal eliminates the need Visualization of Data Enables Better to install special desktop software. This cuts Understanding, Decision Making Management System… client deployment time and costs to zero, and “This data visualization solution is changing brought together enables any authorized user to immediately the way we do business,” says Fortune. access the solution from anywhere in the “When the data is presented through a map- everything in the world. Similarly, as the solution is updated based interface, it’s amazing. It gives you a SharePoint site. It was and extended, there is no need to deploy richer, bigger, more intelligent picture of additional software across BP’s global what’s going on. And that picture is one to based on a tight enterprise network. The use of other which you can respond more effectively.” integration of solutions would have required client software to be installed on every workstation. For example, hurricanes can have a SharePoint Portal multilevel impact—affecting production and Server, Virtual Earth, BP personnel immediately and fully drilling platforms on the surface of the water embraced the Hurricane Management as well as pipelines along the ocean floor. For and SQL Server.” System. Every BP group that has seen the the first time, the Hurricane Management Stephen Fortune, Information Management solution has expressed strong interest in team can see how various weather factors— Director, Gulf of Mexico Strategic contributing to it or adapting it for additional hurricanes on the surface and the Loop Performance Unit, BP applications. Management, which had Current underwater—affect different assets at responded positively to the prototype, was the same location, enabling a more equally enthusiastic. The solution was ready comprehensive response. on June 1, 2006, for the start of the hurricane season and was immediately put The solution enables more BP people to into use by the Hurricane Management team, monitor the crisis and the crisis team’s replacing all previous methods. response, and to collaborate in shaping that response. All authorized BP personnel, The 27,000 employees of BP in North anywhere in the world, can view the same America can all be identified and aided by data and crisis response in real time over the this solution in the event of any type of crisis. global intranet. The information is not only Plans are in place to expand the solution to better and more useful, but also available include all 96,000 employees of BP hours earlier than before, because the worldwide. mapping lead doesn’t spend hours accessing and processing data from disparate sources. In March 2007, Computerworld honored the The solution does that automatically. BP Hurricane Management System with its Computerworld Honors Laureate award. “Data visualization is the future at BP,” says Autio. “It has totally freed us to look at the Benefits data and process the data, rather than spend With the Hurricane Management System time locating the data. And that means we solution, BP personnel have a better, faster can do a better job of protecting our people.” understanding of weather threats, enabling faster and more effective responses. And Solution Cuts Hours Off Emergency because the solution is built on the Microsoft Response application environment, it can be readily Another exceptional aspect of the solution, extended and reused for other purposes. according to Fortune, is speed. The use of Web services to integrate weather data feeds means the solution is always displaying real- time information. Moreover, BP crisis team
  6. 6. “When we’re in crisis members don’t have to wait for the screen to Extensibility Enables Broader Use for catch up with their actions. Other Needs mode, people can’t wait The Hurricane Management System was for the technology to “One of the things that differentiates this originally conceived to respond to the narrow application from a lot of what we’ve seen is threat of hurricanes. However, two factors catch up with them. the lack of screen recovery time,” says have combined to extend the solution to Even a delay of 30 Fortune. “You pan in and look at your data, communities throughout BP. First, individuals and it just happens. Other mapping and groups at BP who see the data seconds for the screen applications can stall or take a long time for visualization solution are excited by it and to refresh represents screens to update. When we’re in crisis conceive new uses for it. mode, people can’t wait for the technology to the loss of valuable time catch up with them. Even a delay of 30 Second, the architecture of the solution during a crisis.” seconds for the screen to refresh represents readily lends itself to extensibility. That’s the loss of valuable time during a crisis.” because the components of the Microsoft Stephen Fortune, Information Management application environment can be integrated as Director, Gulf of Mexico Strategic This greater speed, combined with the needed for extensions and new uses, and Performance Unit, BP intuitive, visual user interface, also reduces because there is a ready supply of developers the time that it takes to get BP personnel skilled in Microsoft software to create those trained to use the solution. “We wanted to extensions and new applications. make it easy for the users, so all they had to do was pan, zoom, and hover to get BP is already at work enhancing the data information,” says Autio. “They can access all visualization solution by extending the types this data very simply, without much training. of assets that it can include, for ever more They can immediately get into the solution comprehensive understandings of how and access all that depth of information.” hurricanes and other disasters can affect the company. Supply chain data, for example, is Real people are benefiting from this speed being imported into the solution to identify today. When tornados struck central Florida what parts are stored in the company’s in February 2007, the BP Hurricane various warehouses, which will expedite the Management team used the solution to retrieval of parts needed to start repairs after identify employees in harm’s way. The an incident. The real-time locations of ships information was exported to a Microsoft and helicopters are being added to Office Excel® 2003 spreadsheet and sent by accelerate the dispatch of supplies to e-mail to the humanitarian aid team. production and drilling platforms as part of rescue and aid efforts. All these assets are Team members there could open the data sets that can be easily imported and spreadsheet and click an employee’s name displayed in exactly the same manner as the to bring up a Web page with a map of the original data sets. person’s location, real-time status of roads and weather, and relevant details on the Beyond enriching the original Hurricane employee. The team then used that Management System, BP audiences are information to contact the employees as interested in creating new applications that quickly as possible to ascertain their status take advantage of the solution’s data and deliver aid as needed. visualization and mapping intelligence capabilities. For example, a drilling unit could use the Microsoft application environment to overlay deep-water current data with drilling
  7. 7. For More Information platform locations to identify when currents Microsoft Solutions for the For more information about Microsoft will hinder drilling operations. The Web portal Manufacturing Industry products and services, call the Microsoft and Web parts make it easy to replicate the Manufacturing enterprises must compete in Sales Information Center at (800) 426- solution’s base functionality in such an an increasingly global environment. Success 9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft application. depends on finding ever-greater efficiencies Canada Information Centre at (877) 568- throughout the enterprise, while developing a 2495. Customers who are deaf or hard-of- “The full, intuitive picture you get from data greater agility to react to local and global hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone visualization makes you more proactive in market opportunities. These challenges are (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234 in your work, and this isn’t unique to crisis best answered with technology from the United States or (905) 568-9641 in response,” says Fortune. “We’re only Microsoft and its partners. Microsoft-based Canada. Outside the 50 United States and beginning to understand the range of uses to solutions offer much needed value to Canada, please contact your local which we can put this technology.” manufacturers who are under increasing Microsoft subsidiary. To access information pressure to generate greater returns on the using the World Wide Web, go to: A powerful aspect of the solution is its ability assets that they have employed. This focus to be used for crises unimagined when the on efficiency scales across all the critical solution was conceived and designed. For functional areas—from getting products to For more information about IDV Solutions example, BP used the solution during a market faster, to streamlining the supply products and services, visit the Web site at: bombing incident in Philadelphia in 2006— chain, optimizing the manufacturing unrelated to BP and not directed at the operations, and generating new revenue company—to identify employees at risk and to streams. For more information about BP products deliver aid. While the solution was created for and services, visit the Web site at: the Gulf States region, the worldwide For more information about Microsoft coverage provided by the Virtual Earth service solutions for the manufacturing industry, enables it to be used for any crisis or go to: situation, anywhere in the world. g Software and Services Partner Microsoft Server Product Portfolio IDV Solutions − Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003 − Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Microsoft Virtual Earth Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Document published April 2007