One of the largest midstream energy companies in the US operates more than 100,000 miles of pipeline spanning most of the lower 48 states. Its right of way crosses hundreds of state, county, and municipal regulatory and taxing authorities, presenting a large scale accounting challenge. However, geospatial data related to actual pipeline locations was inconsistent due to myriad systems of record for initial route planning, permitted, and final/as-built pipeline location. Even small variances in actual vs. reported fixed asset location pose substantial risk to the operator’s tax compliance and created uncertainty around which cost centers assets were actually associated with. In cases where GIS data was missing, the fixed asset cost center defaulted to its headquarters.
The midstream energy company wanted to better understand its current state data management processes related to fixed asset accounting in order to establish best-in-class data stewardship, ensure remittance to the correct taxing authorities, and timely unitize assets within the appropriate cost centers to uplift margins.
Seeking an independent audit of its fixed asset accounting data management, the pipeline operator set out to find a trusted business partner with extensive knowledge of oil & gas accounting processes, enterprise software (e.g., SAP), and master data. The operator wanted to review current state data mapping for pipelines and other fixed assets and document pain points and future state data management requirements. This includes high level data governance recommendations, data quality profiling for master data elements, and a future state process optimization roadmap for system of record and the data lifecycle, from initiation and construction to in-service and unitization.
Results from this data audit would be used as inputs for an enterprise-scale digital transformation initiative to apply the process optimization roadmap and master data management best practices across the company’s extensive operational footprint. Through the assessment, the pipeline operator also wanted to evaluate current data management technology for capturing, integrating, and governing.
The midstream energy company turned to Stonebridge Consulting to conduct its fixed asset accounting data management audit. Leveraging its deep oil & gas industry knowledge, proven track record in energy-specific data management, and reusable project IP and solution accelerators, Stonebridge delivered the project in less than 16 weeks. The data audit included current state validation workshops, documenting pain points and requirements for identification of quick wins, stakeholder/change management assessments, and roadmap for sponsor engagement. Future state workshops were then shepherded by Stonebridge with outputs that included recommended data management process flow, identification of systems of record, data library of more than 100 data elements, create/read/update/delete (CRUD) process, and recommendations for improved data capture based on pain points and requirements. Recommendations for data matching and unique identification (UID) were also generated along with data governance recommendations for model, roles, and responsibilities.
Supporting the audit with enhanced data discovery and visibility, Stonebridge deployed EnerHub, a modern, rapidly configurable MDM solution that incorporates Stonebridge’s extensive energy-industry experience and project IP in the forms of pre-built connectors to 50+ commercial databases and software packages as well as pre-built business rules for energy-specific data quality assurance. During the audit, EnerHub was temporarily connected with key project data sources, including SAP, ESRI, and a variety of internally developed systems. Close to 50 data quality assessments were configured specific to the pipeline operator’s information landscape to provide rapid insights into areas of improvement. EnerHub also surfaced the aggregated dataset to drive PowerBI data quality dashboards and pain point heatmaps that further informed the fixed asset accounting data audit.
The data audit followed Stonebridge’s proven project management methodology where management and team members well understand project phases, objectives, deliverables, and approval points. This methodology takes a holistic approach to delivery and included the following three phases.
Planning sessions to scope out meetings, agendas, and success criteria. Review of current state process flow, data catalog and integrations. Identify and validate current state pain points and areas where data management is working well. Assess existing data governance and stewardship structure, identify the stakeholders, and engage Sponsors to support the change actively/visibly.
Future state workshops to identify data collection approach and tools. Align on process flow, reporting, and data quality checks/business rules. Implement data quality assessments in EnerHub and create PowerBI dashboards. Assess the impact of future state data management changes to the organization (processes and people) and sustain sponsor engagement.
Create the master data management implementation roadmap. High level recommendations for right size data governance and process updates, including data entry and reporting. Document and present the value proposition for enterprise master data management implementation at the pipeline operator.
Following its data audit, the midstream energy company gained the insight needed to efficiently undertake a larger scale master data management initiative armed with recommendations from Stonebridge, best practices tailored to the pipeline operator, and implementation roadmap. This includes a well-defined data library and a starting point for assigning publishers and subscribers to the mastered data. Bolstered by this success, the midstream energy company is moving forward with its digital transformation in partnership with Stonebridge who is expected to lead both the master data management process optimization and related MDM solution implementation leveraging its vendor-agnostic software selection process.