Imagine drones flying up and down an oil pipeline sending multiple types of data to an analytics platform to detect anomalies? Or taking data from a petrochemical plant, sending it to the same analytics platform to run analytical models to optimize energy consumption without impacting production? That’s exactly what South Africa’s global, integrated chemicals & energy company, Sasol, is doing. They are taking advantage of the do-it-yourself deployment of Teradata Software via Azure Marketplace. No longer satisfied with status quo, Sasol’s executive team initiated a massive step-change in their analytics and data strategy which also uncovered huge opportunities in understanding supply chain, maintenance, and customers.
“They have a captured market in South Africa, but that's changing in terms of world competition and that's one of the reasons why they needed to change-- create a step-change in evolving and getting to know their customers a little bit better so they can stay competitive.” Ana Moreira, Sr. Manager for Group Data Management
The decision to go cloud took many strategies into account. And you know the big benefits - flexibility, agility, scalability, and operational expense. Sasol’s main benefit is that they didn’t want to gamble on the future with heavy infrastructure.
“We decided to go cloud because we said we were going to build a tent and if people didn't arrive, we could shut it down without major capital investment. And that's exactly what we did. We implemented Teradata and it took us two months to really get Teradata up and running and start loading the data. We ran a couple of POCs just to test the process and the methodology that we had defined.”
- Ana Moreira, Sr. Manager for Group Data Management
So they built it. Did anyone arrive? The answer is a resounding YES! Sasol teams rallied around projects they refer to as ‘microbattles,’ using the data lab concept allowing them to do discovery against production data to determine which project will deliver the strongest business outcomes in support of their digitization journey. Currently there are 5 microbattles in play.
Maintenance and operations reliability
Finance reporting, specifically AR/AP
Supply chain, specifically category management
Energy, specifically order to cash
Energy efficiency, and
The original cloud strategy with Teradata and Hadoop is paying off as teams realize the sheer amount of data and data types they want for advanced analytics.
“It's just been proven now because all of the sudden these micro-battles are kicking off, and everybody's going, ‘Oh my gosh, where are we going to put all this unstructured data?’ We can put up our hand and say, ‘That's what we built this for. It's right here. It's really for you." It's great to see it all coming to fruition. We have the right technology in place to help take Sasol to the next place.” - Ana Moreira, Sr. Manager for Group Data Management
So, what about the drones? That project is a natural next step for Sasol as they use data scientists, alongside Teradata consultants, to monitor and transmit multiple types of sensor data to the analytics platform that is using algorithms to detect anomalies, specifically pipeline asset health and boiler wall thickness inspection.
Congrats to the Sasol for using analytics and data in the cloud to create and deliver cost efficient energy around the world.