ASP document management for BP Amoco

A brand new plant, all digital documentation and a hi-tech environment made ideal conditions for BP Amoco Canada’s transition from commissioning to operations on the Prairie Rose chemical plant, Joffre Alberta. BPAC went the extra yard and outsourced management of the 200 GB document repository to Xerox. PDM learned how it was done from BPA Canada’s general manager Pat Larkin and Olivier Grouse, senior VP of Xerox’ Worldwide Industrial Business.

PDM – what was the rationale behind outsourcing document management at the new plant?

Larkin - The Prairie Rose chemical plant at Joffre Alberta was commissioned from constructor Bechtel last year. About the same time, the BPAmoco organization was gearing-up with a new slug of reporting requirements, reduced head count and a new vision of what was core business. We saw outsourcing the IT infrastructure of the document repository as an opportunity to capitalize on the all-digital dataset and at the same time benefit from the economies of scale that ASP promised.

Grouse – The ASP model lets BPA focus on the use of engineering documents without worrying about the supporting infrastructure. The secure extranet allows BPAC’s 800 epmloyees to access engineering, finance and contract documents. Xerox acted as systems integrator for the Documentum solution, but went a step further with a full blown off-site IT infrastructure.

PDM – we have seen other European implementations of engineering information systems built with sophisticated data models. Was this the case at Prairie Rose?

Larkin - This was a not data modeling exercise, though when implemented, the HSE, and ISO 1401 reporting for document control and management will deploy a structured DMS. We have however implemented Knowledge management technologies like Xerox’ AskOne natural language query to analyze accident causes

PDM - Why Documentum?

Grouse – Documentum is flexible and can be made to relate to the business process. It makes good use of key word search and allows for intelligent version control, change management and workflow.

PDM - What infrastructure is used for ASP?

Grouse - Hardware is in Xerox’ Calgary office. The BPA users are about 100 miles north and connect over the internet. Within the Xerox data center we run 100mbps Ethernet but T1 (1mbps) bandwidth is sufficient for client sites. All server software runs on Compaq servers and Windows NT. Storage requirements in 2000 are in the 25-50 GB range, growing to 150-200GB by the end of 2001.

PDM - What’s on the BPA client workstation?

Grouse – Just a browser! The ASP applications are web-based. They may require browser plug-ins, for instance to markup engineering drawings.

PDM - How much did it all cost?

Grouse - The up-front application design, development, and deployment costs vary substantially depending on the application being developed. Our applications at BPAmoco ranged from $40,000-$180,000 CDN for the upfront design, development, and deployment costs. Overall we have estimated the ongoing cost for a view-only user at $20 CDN per month.

PDM – what’s next?

Larkin - With an estimated 50% savings over what it would have cost internally I really believe that we have a valid solution for a difficult problem. I fully intend to “sell” the merits of this solution to other BPA units. In fact I’m already planning my next trips to Anchorage and Europe. Another aspect of doing business over the wire is obvious synergy of cable networks with our pipeline routes.

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