In-Depth

Gulf Canada Resources Ltd.

Every year, each company faces the same ritual: the annual budgeting process. Management’s biggest, and sometimes only, priority is to complete the budget for the next fiscal year. This slow-down in productivity trickles to the rest of the organization.

Gulf Canada Resources Ltd., a publicly traded oil and gas company based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, has developed a system that is helping to eliminate the one month slowdown attributed to its annual budgeting process, said Kevin Rasmussen, an application architect for Gulf Resources. The Operational Development Information Network (ODIN) provides production and forecasting information for all of Gulf’s North American operations via a standard Web browser. ODIN gathers forecast information for cost, production and capital projects at each field and brings all the data together into a single resource, one to which all employees have access.

"It has allowed us to look at our business in a different way," Rasmussen said. "Instead of an annual budget cycle, we have a living environment with the forecasts. We’ve blown away the [traditional] budget paradigm."

The key to ODIN’s success is its browser base. First, using a browser as the client shaved off two to four weeks of development time; a considerable amount given the fact the project only took three months from design to initial deployment. Secondly, there was no special software to deliver to Gulf Resources remote users -- northern parts of Canada are the definition of "remote" -- which could take up to three weeks by hand, Rasmussen said.

Having a longstanding relationship with New York City-based Information Builders Inc. and its Focus for mainframe database tool, Gulf immediately chose to use IBI’s Cactus and Web/Focus tools to port their database applications to the Web. A Netscape Enterprise Server and Oracle database serve data to the Web, while IBI’s EDA server ties the legacy and Oracle system together. Consultants from IBI worked closely with Gulf Resource’s development staff to deliver the entire solution for "under $300,000." Currently, all maintenance and updates to the system are handled internally by Gulf Resources.

"IBI provided us with a one stop shopping solution, which was needed given the short time frame of the project," said Rasmussen. "IBI was also willing to take ownership of delivering results."

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