Atomic Weapons Establishment improves business intelligence with Oracle

The Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), the UK's nuclear missile manufacturer, has improved its project reporting capabilities by implementing Oracle's business intelligence (BI) software.

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The Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), the UK's nuclear missile manufacturer, has improved its project reporting capabilities by implementing Oracle's business intelligence (BI) software.

AWE's only product is the missile, and all the work at the company is managed as an integrated programme with all costs and revenue input through the project ledger.

The programme comprises more than 1,500 projects, which AWE was managing through its Oracle E-Business Suite software. It did its entire programme planning in Oracle's Primavera solution, and programme management in E-Business Suite for areas such as payroll and financials.

It quickly outgrew the available reporting capabilities, however, and needed to find a way to extract more information from its data.

"We had lots of data being captured, but were getting very little information out," said Craig Stirk, head of business intelligence at AWE, at the UK Oracle User Group (UKOUG) Conference in Birmingham.

To address the problem, AWE has been using Oracle's BI tools Essbase and Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) since 2008.

These tools allowed AWE to create dashboards that displayed information extracted from E-Business Suite and Primavera. The dashboards created included programme financials, programme manpower, project information and resource balancing.

One of the successes of the project was that the tools were implemented and went live for 900 users on OBIEE in just three months. It now has more than 1,400 users on its dashboards.

The dashboards also made it easier and quicker to identify issues and locate errors.

However, one of the issues AWE found with the system was that it could not drill down to the transaction level to find exactly which issue needed to be fixed.

Another problem was with the integration of Essbase and OBIEE. Although this was a fast process, which meant that AWE did not have to worry about data warehousing, it also posed an issue.

"The first time it was integrated, we could see the cost of the project but not who the project was, what type of project it was and other classifications. We couldn't get transaction details," said Stirk.

AWE therefore brought in Oracle experts from Projected Consulting, who implemented and customised Oracle Project Analytics to provide transaction-level visibility.

In addition, the consultants helped built a proof-of-concept dashboard for AWE, which allows it to take a snapshot at any point in time in its 25-year financial plan.

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