Category Archives: Spring 2014

Five ways to please your report lover

Business managers love reports. You need to ask yourself if you prefer to make decisions with confidence or gut-instinct. To please any report lover, our challenge is to give management reports, how and when they want it, and this can be achieved in 5 ways:

  1. Bring it all together: When your data is stored in multiple spreadsheets, systems and applications, it’s difficult to see the big picture, and more importantly to understand trends. By delivering all your data in the right context, you eliminate unnecessary guesswork, increase productivity and improve the decision making process.
  2. Make it timely: Waiting for daily/weekly/monthly reports, results in missed opportunities. These opportunities aren’t evident until after the reports are delivered by this time the window of opportunity has bolted and opportunity lost.
  3. Deliver one version of the truth: Draw data directly from the source, eliminate internal debate over data integrity and spend more time focussing on other tasks.
  4. Break down silos: By establishing good processes to share accurate and timely data, you increase efficiency and improve the decision-making process by accessing legitimate data.
  5. Make it mobile: Managers need reports on their own schedule, whether it’s a taxi ride to and from the airport or between meetings. They need the ability to tap into their reports wherever and whenever they want.

If the issues above sound familiar or other reporting problems make you feel like you’ve lost your mojo, give us a call, we can help.

Mipela complements its X-Info Suite capability with new dynamic reporting

The amount of data businesses handle each year grows exponentially as the business expands, as does the number of users who require access to this data in report format. The complexity of reports is also increasing as management at all levels demand access to up to the minute information on which to base business critical decisions. It is no wonder then that reporting is increasingly demanding more time and resources; and as a result contributes additional costs to the business.

The Mipela GeoSolutions team understands the importance reporting plays within a business and recently developed an X-Info Connect reporting module, X-Info Report suite. X-Info Report suite is a fully customisable solution that allows users to store, maintain, track and analyse business information. X-Info Report suite’s essential functionality not only enables end users to easily manage their data and effectively perform their duties, it now offers dynamic reporting capability.

The reporting module gives end users the ability to generate meaningful reports that will empower management to monitor their business progress and make better informed business decisions. With X-Info Report suite, businesses can define and automate their reports then print or export as a PDF file at any time.

X-Info Report suite administrators are able to develop and customise report templates based on business requirements, and by applying security to the templates, make them available to individuals or to user groups. The reports can be styled to suit the business brand, be used for mail merge activities and be scheduled for distribution to multiple email recipients on a daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly or annual basis. The flexible reporting module comprises of elements such as text, images, tables, maps and charts.

In an increasingly competitive marketplace, businesses need to ensure they stay ahead of their competition and having dynamic reporting capability can contribute to business benchmarking and decision making. X-Info Report suitegives businesses access to professional branded dynamic reports that provide legible information on demand.

Like any other innovation, the X-Info Report suite will evolve over time and will offer X-Info Connect end users more dynamic reporting functionality into the future.

ECHO – What is it?

All significant Aboriginal cultural heritages in Queensland are protected under the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003 and penalty provisions apply for any unauthorised harm. Under the legislation, a person carrying out an activity must take all reasonable and practicable measures to ensure the activity does not harm Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage (section 23 (1), the cultural heritage duty of care). This applies whether or not such places are recorded in an official register and whether or not they are located in, on or under private land.

Expert Cultural Heritage Optimisation (ECHO) is a workflow solution for predicting the likelihood of finding a cultural heritage site or artefact. ECHO can estimate the cost of field monitoring as well as helping enterprises prioritise tasks. ECHO can play a vital role in providing valuable information to you, demonstrating conformance with ‘Cultural Heritage Duty of Care’ in terms of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act.

ECHO can assess where and to what extent cultural heritage may impact projects within the native title claim area. In doing so you have the ability to reduce risk and improve your project delivery services. The solution delivers a management regime for cultural heritage that is technically sound and business based. Risk reduction, improved scheduling and cost savings can be achieved not just in cultural heritage management but also in any other project component or process that might depend on cultural heritage clearance.

ECHO enables you to quantify the project area and effort required for Cultural Heritage (CH) surveying and more importantly prioritises areas for CH field monitoring. Remove subjectivity from cultural heritage management and centrally manage integral data and processes. With ECHO, you have the power at your fingertips to map the CH compliance framework.

Key Benefits:

  • Centrally manage cultural heritage data and systems
  • Understand risks to reduce onsite investigations
  • Map the compliance framework
  • Quantify the reasonable cost of compliance
  • Instil pragmatism into cultural heritage negotiations and service delivery

In conclusion, ECHO delivers improved scheduling and cost savings not just in cultural heritage management but also in any other project component or process that might depend on cultural heritage clearance.

Top: Sample categorised activities in terms of the Act.

Bottom: Sample ECHO cultural heritage low, moderate, and high likelihood indicator.

Spreadsheet or Database – the ongoing debate!

The big question: how do you want to organise your data?

A database is designed to work with relational data – your information is divided into multiple logical tables that can be joined, while a spreadsheet works best with flat data structures – in a single table or list of information that isn’t related to other data.

How can you tell if you need a relational structure for your data?

Firstly, if you have a lot of repeated data (eg. contact names and phone numbers) and secondly, if you want to track actions or events, a relational structure works best. If you only have a small amount of data and don’t mind looking at repeated information, then use a flat structure.

If storage is your primary goal, then use a database, but for analysis use a spreadsheet. A database can store a large amount of data – spreadsheets are designed to store numbers and perform sophisticated calculations.

Spreadsheet advantages include:

  • Analyses and numbers
  • Great for answering the ‘What if’ question
  • PivotTable reports provide interactive tabular summaries of your data.

Database advantages include:

  • Simple verified data entry that can be audited and contributed to simultaneously by multiple users
  • Great for creating professional reports containing a variety of data sets and searching through large amount of data
  • Data accumulation is in real time and has automatic aggregation capability.

Before making the decision on what to use, consider your business process needs, develop a capability wish list and cross reference your needs with those of the spreadsheet or database ability.

Sentanil completes CMS upgrade

Sentanil Systems has expanded the capabilities of its construction management system to include highdensity polyethylene gas and water pipelines.

Leighton Contractors invited Sentanil to expand the capability of its construction management system (CMS) to meet traceability and reporting requirements for the Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG) Upstream Phase 1 Project: Gas Gathering Systems, with the aim of improving efficiency and adding value for its client, Origin, on behalf of the project.

Sentanil has supported Leighton Contractors’ request and developed the CMS database to track more than 1,200km of varied sized gas and water high density polyethylene (HDPE) pipeline.

Key steps in adapting the CMS for use on the APLNG Upstream Phase 1 Project included:

  • Project welding and quality assurance (QA) personnel collection of butt and fusion weld data using hand held personal data assistant scanning devices
  • Importing of welding machine logger data into CMS and integrating with other weld datasets
  • Integrating project work pack data into the CMS
  • Completing standard CMS data integrity checks
  • Applying barcodes to the HDPE pipe to ensure correct linkage of weld numbers during the as built data collection
  • Receiving automated reports of field inspection checklists and other weld and pipe books for the various welding systems
  • Upgrading the CMS back end database to the SQL Server to enable the provision of a corporate dashboard of progress maps and charts and daily production reports, by integrating the CMS with Mipela GeoSolutions’ X-Info Connect software.

This collaborative approach achieved a successful transition from a paper based QA welding reporting system to an electronic system, resulting in increased efficiencies, enhanced traceability and advanced corporate reporting capabilities.

Sentanil would like to thank Leighton Contractors, its client Origin on behalf of the APLNG Project, and the project’s field and office QA personnel for their enthusiasm and support during this transition.

Leighton Contractors, a wholly owned subsidiary of Leighton Holdings Limited, is a leading contracting and project development group, delivering projects for clients across the infrastructure, mining, telecommunications, civil construction, industrial, energy, health and services sectors.