Cargill Masters the Energy Supply Chain with TIBCO Spotfire and ZEMA
Reduces data collection, mashup, and analysis time; secures clean master data; enables data sharing and insightful decisions
Like many companies in the energy industry, the challenge for Cargill was the volume of its diverse data and the difficulty of processing it quickly to enable fast response to market events. “Without a strategic partnership, we would be required to try to develop these solutions internally, which would not be ideal for Cargill,” explains Geoffrey Lakings, technology analyst.
To meet its challenges, Cargill brought ZE PowerGroup and TIBCO together, combining TIBCO’s strength in self-service business intelligence with ZE’s data management competency. ZE’s ZEMA software suite of products, which delivers and describes data, has TIBCO Spotfire® as an embedded capability.
Cargill began its strategic partnership with TIBCO and ZE by building a crude refinery research analysis dashboard. What had been a 300,000-row spreadsheet turned into the ability to quickly see and understand results for all units across the refinery complex—their turnarounds, capacity, and results including yields and margins. “We can show data for a refinery, a group of refineries, a region, or globally for both output parameters and the crude slate being fed to them,” says Lakings.
With its new analytical framework and market intelligence solutions, Cargill can also turnaround trading tools in a matter of days rather than the six- to threemonths previously required.
Operational Efficiencies From Data Visualizations
Lakings describes how important Spotfire data visualizations are to sharing insights. They prompt “strategic conversations,” that are bringing about truly positive business outcomes. “This type of communication was not possible before, or took place in a silo,” he says. “Now, instead of talking to five people, we’re talking to 20, and those 20 are all around the world.
“Improved communications means that regardless of what desk they’re tied to, analysts across the platform can communicate about what they’re producing and how it can help assist others in modeling, research, and market studies.
“Not only are we engaging platform leaders, but also business unit leaders in North America power and gas, as well as crude and petrochemicals, and then trading-desk leaders. So we’re able to take the information, the modeling that we’re producing, and reach the people best able to make informed decisions on market opportunity and execution,” explains Lakings.
Reduced Time to Collect and Mashup Data
Today analysts can easily mashup data sources, produce an analytic profile ofthe data, and apply statistical quantitative modeling integrated services, such as Matlab and Spotfire. “Turning on 70 data sources and 5 terabytes of data means that analysts have the specific pieces of data they need. Data sourcing into a repository that used to take anywhere from three weeks to a month is now on hand for analytical visualizations,” says Lakings.
Clean, Consistent, Comprehensive Master Data
Master data is also key to Cargill’s mission, and the solution provides it. “It’s essential and pertinent,” says Lakings. “Without a canonical data model across a multinational organization like Cargill, analysts would be working with differently structured and incomplete data, which would affect their analyses.”
Cargill’s supply chain business also requires real-time analysis. “If we are not able to move as quickly as these market events are transpiring, we’re at a disadvantage,” says Lakings. “As world events surface, analysts need to be able to quickly gather the data and present the analysis of what’s happening based on that real-time market event.”
Cargill plans to take data transformation to the next level, including data pattern recognition, multi-dimensional analysis, and trending, “So we can see things in the data that we could never see before,” says Lakings.
“The improvement to business results will be both on trading and in the nature of the conversations we’re having on market opportunity identification and execution,” says Lakings. “Our analytics will show clients what Cargill is capable of, and our thorough understanding of how we can help them thrive.”