A need to modernize while also integrating newly acquired companies set this Italian industrial manufacturer on the path towards overhauling its data estate
Dedicated to Safety
Established in 1956 to manufacture high-quality valves and actuators, PetrolValves is now a leading company in its field. Headquartered in Castellanza, Italy, it has over 500 employees and a global market for its product range. For over sixty years, PertolValves has remained focused on one core purpose – to deliver safe and efficient flow control solutions to the oil and gas industry.
One System Across the Whole Business
When PetrolValves acquired and merged several new companies, it compounded an existing problem with the way it handled business data. The addition of new data sources from these merged companies meant that the department needed to find a way to present company-wide data in a way that allowed fast and credible real-time analysis.
These acquisitions came at a time when PetrolValves had already identified the shortcomings in its data systems. It was using numerous QlikView apps running directly on top to AS/400, with some proprietary staging areas to optimize the overall performances. While migrating the ERP from AS/400 to Dynamics, most of these QlikView apps needed to be reviewed in the data collection and data modeling tier. The costs of maintaining this approach and the manual labor involved were becoming prohibitive, while the time-to-insight was so long as to render some analysis out-of-date before it was even delivered.
When it became clear that adding new companies to the business would introduce even more complexities, the decision was made to build a better, simpler and more robust system that would serve the needs of the entire business far into the future.
A Solution Built to Serve
It was decided that the way to modernize PetrolValve’s ERP system would be to move from IBM AS/400 on-premises to Microsoft Dynamics 365 on Azure. Due to the need to maintain historical and certified data, all ongoing new data would exist on Azure, while the existing ERP would continue to exist in parallel.
PetrolValves knew it wanted data collection, data preparation and data modeling to be easy to maintain and GDPR compliant. It also wanted the chosen solution to sit between all its data sources and the analytical layer, so that it could deliver a lasting data foundation platform for all current and future analytical needs.
The company assembled this shopping list and declared a tender, allowing interested system integrators to propose numerous different solutions. Rejected ideas included migrating to Microsoft Dynamics 365 then using Power BI, as well as code-based data management solutions.
The proposal that captured their attention, however, came from SDG Group. Based in Milan, SDG suggested, and ultimately supplied, a front-end solution based on Qlik that also includes TimeXtender.
Providing Stability and Traceability
SDG Group’s proposal was successful because out of all the proposals, theirs was the one that best promoted the benefits of a data management platform implemented between data sources and the analytical layer. With TimeXtender, PetrolValve’s ERP migration is now proceeding smoothly and with confidence. Davide Soliani, Head of ICT in PetrolValves, says, “While migrating from IBM AS/400 to Microsoft Dynamics, TImeXtender has been, and is still now, the only stable element that we can consider in our data estate to get proven insights.”
TimeXtender has given the company numerous additional benefits and capabilities. It provides automated data lineage, as well as a single business language across PetrolValves’ entire business. It provides the ability to test and then implement new data transformations, automatically documenting these processes without the need for manual intervention.
The high flexibility that TimeXtender offers has also stimulated a fresh approach to analytics within PetrolValves. By showing teams what is possible, many have gone looking at new and imaginative metrics based on the availability of up-to-date, company-wide data.
PetrolValves now plans to progressively leverage additional benefits offered by Azure, the cloud environment provided by Microsoft. Now that migration to Dynamics 365 is complete, TimeXtender’s on-premises, Azure-certification and Power BI compatibility means that the within PetrolValves is ready to become fully Azure-based at some point in the future.
“We had been limited to a single data discovery tool getting data directly from the ERP,” says Davide Soliani. “Now we are free to use parallel discovery tools getting certified data from a centralized data platform. This also allows us to progressively include new data sources without exponentially increasing the complexity of the architecture.”