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Breaking Silos: DCP Midstream Creates Collaborative Data Culture

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Overview of Use Case

DCP Midstream is one of the largest U.S. natural gas processing companies, producers and pipeline operators of natural gas liquids (NGL). DCP Midstream is going through a transformational journey and Alteryx has been a critical piece of this. With Alteryx, Finance can integrate data from Operations and Commercial into our financial analysis to provide all parties with a more complete picture and reduce fiscal waste — over 40,000 hours on one project alone. And talent acquisition can now prioritize its resources throughout the recruiting lifecycle on a real time basis reducing Time to Fill by 25%.

 
Describe the business challenge or problem you needed to solve

At DCP Midstream we are an asset intensive industry. We have billions of dollars invested in our industry. In order to get the best value out of it, we have to come up with the different solutions to answer key questions to maintain our productivity, to make sure that we're working efficiently and optimizing all of our assets. With Alteryx that's where it really shines, because you're able to merge all your data and bring people together to help answer those big questions from all perspectives. Every question that you may have from one department is probably affecting a different department a different way, and that's why we want to make sure that we're working in collaboration with others.

 

System Optimization
We house various drivers of our financial performance separately in systems with limited connectivity. Historically we would then look statically at the data in one system. We would pull out data and manipulate in Excel. This is also where we would link between systems. This is labor intensive and neither easily repeated nor sustainable. In fact, for DCP this problem was critical to solve because in order to maximize our profit we needed to have a more complete financial picture and to accomplish this we had to better integrate our systems.

 

People Analytics
One huge cost to an organization is turnover - or the cost when an employee exits the organization. Research shows that turnover costs can range any from 12-40% of the employee’s salary. The costs could come from team members working overtime to ensure the work is being done to the time it takes the new employee to come up to speed and be productive.

 

Describe your working solution
How to solve our problem? First and most important, working cross functionally! At DCP, we created the Alteryx COP Manifesto! We committed to attend the required meetings, engage in broader Alteryx User Groups, identify and track the value Alteryx provides, contribute to helping other Alteryx practitioners solve analytics challenges, identify other areas/business organizations where Alteryx will be valuable and pursue continuing education with Alteryx.

 

  • Alteryx Weekly Lab

We meet every week from 12:00 to 2:00. We bring our lunch. It's not mandatory and there are no bosses around. It's just people helping each other, and they bring up their ideas and challenges. We start brain-storming and that's where the magic happens. The Lab helps us identify any kind of hurdles that we're having in the technical side.

 

  • Hackathon 

We come up with different ideas from different departments. We use a ticketing system so that we can track everything that it has been submitted. We select a number of projects that we are going to prioritize and develop. We take two weeks out of the quarter, and we get together in a conference room to tackle those projects one by one. 

 

System Optimization Model

This is just one example of how Alteryx is empowering DCPs collaborative transformation process. One area where we’ve made progress is in our finance organization. We aligned our systems, knocking down those application silos and compile a single transparent source of the truth to drive our financial business decisions.

 

We needed to integrate data from our measurement system with data from our accounting system. This would allow us to tie our settlement data (producer payout housed in the accounting system) back to a physical location (housed in the measurement system). The ability to monetize each portion of our gas flow was dependent on this connection.

 

Normally these systems pass measurement once a month. A measurement technician prepares a file that a revenue accountant loads into our accounting system. The system then applies a series of allocations in the background that passes that measurement to various meters. We developed an iterative macro that allows us to step through business logic linking the settlement meter back to the physical meter.  

 

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The iterative macro allows us to repeatedly cycle through a series of logic. We have input that we filter based on several use cases we have in our system and then apply logic to determine the likely measurement source in each case. We then join our accounting dataset with our measurement dataset and ask, “Is the settle meter’s predicted physical meter found in measurement?” If it is, we output the linked settle to physical meter combination; if it is not found then we cycle back to the beginning and apply the same logic to the predicted meter.

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People analytics: From paper pushers to people pushers

At DCP Midstream in Human Resources, we are using data to help tell the story of our people and there is a lot of rich data that can be used to help tell that story. Alteryx has been pivotal in that. We currently have 12 workflows in production in Human Resources. Alteryx has brought on new capabilities that we have not seen before and those include API connectivity to third-party data sources, real-time reporting that allow my end users to have live reports and make decisions on demand, and predictive analytics.

 

One area that we’ve seen extreme success with Alteryx is in Talent Acquisition. At DCP Midstream, through the data analytics solution I built in Alteryx, our talent acquisition team can, in near real time, identify which requisitions need the most resources and prioritize their workload on demand based on the analytics provided to meet the needs of the business. As a result, between 2017 and 2018, our time to fill has decreased by 25%.

 

Describe the benefits you have achieved

The iterative macro has resulted in time-savings; it would take one person working for 46 weeks in order to manually determine the associated physical meter for our 22K settlement meters. By comparison, the Alteryx workflow we developed using the iterative macro can be run company-wide in under an hour. Now with this time-savings we can move from transactional work into analytical work—unravelling the true financial implications of our contractual settlement.

 

As we move to integrate all our systems, the ability to work collaboratively and involve the subject matter experts for each area is imperative. This is where Alteryx has proven invaluable allowing these SMEs to collaborate and become the designer of the data extraction and transformation.

 

At Human Resources, Alteryx has been able to help automate manual processes that we used to do, mostly in Excel.  Alteryx has saved us roughly 1100 hours a year in manual processes. That time saved means being able to conduct research on how to better drive the organization from its people, how to build new workflows that tackle more complex issues, or vacation.

 

 Key Benefits:

  • No need for extensive coding knowledge;
  • The automation Alteryx provides has meant that the data is available faster and at a larger scale then would be possible manually;
  • No need to wait on IT team for development solution;
  • The end result is that the data can be utilized today make business decisions!
 
Related Resources

The entire PowerPoint presentation can be found here.

Comments

Great to see this article and the results Alteryx has delivered. You all have really rocked it!

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