Noble Corporation drives better decision making with SAP BW/4HANA

1116_CaseStudy_Noble_Logo-(1).pngDecisions decisions… where’s the data when I need it fast? Here is how Bluefin and Amazon Web Services (AWS) enhanced Noble Corporation’s reporting performance, showing them the true power of SAP HANA and rolling out the world’s first Proof of Concept (PoC) for SAP BW/4HANA.

The client

Noble Corporation owns and operates one of the most modern, versatile and technically advanced fleets in the offshore drilling industry. The company is focused largely on ultra-deep water and high-specification jack-up drilling opportunities in both established and emerging regions worldwide.

The business challenge

Noble recognized the need for agility and flexibility in the digital world in which it operates. Noble understands that its end-users want answers, and they want them now. For Mary McLemore, Business Analytics Manager, and her team, it was evident that there was a hunger from within the business for quicker access to real time data to make better business decisions. “We had to rethink how we were doing things today Mary explained, and how they will be tomorrow”.


The move to SAP HANA platform seemed an obvious choice, being the only in-memory platform in the world. However, the migration was proving tricky due to Noble’s BW environment. The original solution was implemented utilizing an SAP ECC system, not a standard BW environment. SAP suggested bringing on-board Bluefin Solutions, its go-to HANA innovation partner. Bluefin completed a PoC illustrating the simplicity and potential of SAP BW/4HANA, thus demonstrating to Noble how to overcome the challenges it was experiencing in the reporting performance.  

The solution

Bluefin set out to understand the main problems Noble was facing, alongside identifying four specific use cases which would be leveraged to illustrate the key benefits. Amazon Web Services worked together with Bluefin to stand up a 2TB HANA instance in under an hour, allowing the project to kick off without having to wait for hardware to be shipped and racked. Within the short timeline of two weeks, a production copy was set up from Noble’s existing SAP BW 7.4 on Microsoft and migrated to SAP BW 7.5 edition for HANA. This intermediary point allowed new objects to be hosted in addition to legacy objects. The legacy objects were then converted, or painstakingly deleted, before finally flicking the switch to run in BW/4HANA mode. The tests and specific use cases executed and the system converted.

The Proof of Concept results

  • More time to focus on revenue generating tasks,  less time spent running reports
    The performance of an existing BW Inventory report had been a source of dissatisfaction among Noble’s end user community. In particular, the time it was taking to run across multiple rigs. The report in question went from 35 seconds to run for 1 rig to 1 second to run across the entire fleet.
  • The business no longer has to ‘stop’ for data modelling
    BW/4HANA is lean and simplified with only four modelling objects used: InfoObjects (optional), aDSOs, Composite Providers and OpenODS Views. This cuts out many of the architectural layers and enables data modelling to be undertaken without any disruption to business-as-usual.
  • End users can easily access real-time data from which more informed decisions can be made
    Waiting for the IT department to implement reports was becoming increasingly frustrating for users. However, with front-end tools like Lumira self-service, analytics will be a breeze.
  • Capabilities to run increasingly complex reports to provide deeper insight into the business
    In the previous year, a business team had requested an Inventory Stratification Report illustrating 3-year trends. Unfortunately, due to the complexity of code and limited system resources, the request had not been met, until BW/4HANA.

The technical results

  • The database size is now tiny: 700GB to less than 100GB. 
  • Performance is excellent.
  • Back-ups are faster.​

Why Bluefin?

"Bluefin has helped us to understand where we are, where we want to be, and what we need to do to clean house. We are now laying the foundations on which to build and innovate." Mary Mclemore, Business Analytics Manager, Noble Corporation

From cleansing old data and deleting old data objects which are no longer valuable (or even needed), to looking at the commercial benefits of the data captured, the path forward is clearly highlighted. Noble challenges its end users to think about the information they require to improve decision-making and ultimately accelerate growth.

As for the implementation? Noble is moving forward with its BW 7.5 migration with BW powered by HANA and will then be on course for BW/4HANA for future opportunities.

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