Roc Oil Company Limited (ROC) is one of Australia’s leading oil and gas companies with offices in Australia, China and Malaysia. The company conducts exploration, appraisal, development and production projects in China, South East Asia and Australia, and employs a highly distributed workforce made up of full-time knowledge workers and contractor staff working across four office locations and at project locations offsite.
- Latency issues in accessing legacy system housed on corporate server
- Lack of automatic notifications meant additional administrative burden in chasing employees for hours worked at end of month
- More scalable system needed to support multiple projects and multiple currencies
- Limited reporting capabilities to compare hours against annual joint venture costs
- Inability to customize system to include in-country regulations and requirements
- Cloud-based system to centrally capture and access employee time off and hours worked against projects
- Fast time to implementation – six weeks from initial evaluation
- Highly intuitive system with minimal training required to the end user
- Automatic notifications to accelerate month-end billing cycles
- Highly configurable system to address in-country project audit requirements and workforce regulations
- Real-time visibility into employee time worked across projects
- Immediate, custom reports to assess labor costs
- Ability to track hours worked in multiple currencies according to employee billing rates, and convert into single currency invoice for client
- Scalable solution to support future project and business growth
"What attracted us to Polaris was its high degree of configurability to how we wanted to see the information, when we wanted to access it, and what actions we could take upon reviewing the time and project data. Polaris has helped us be more efficient in how we close out each month and complete our billing cycles."
IT Operations Manager
Outgrowing its legacy solution
Previously, ROC used a system that was installed on the company’s servers for its staff to enter time worked on projects and submit time off requests. As the company expanded and employed a more distributed workforce across multiple sites – including full-time engineers, oil and gas specialists and other knowledge workers, as well as contractor staff, the legacy application became more cumbersome to access and use. ROC attempted to use Citrix’s application delivery solution to improve user access, but found that it did not resolve fundamental functional and usability problems with the software.
According to Yuri Litvinov, IT Operations Manager at ROC, most of the company’s joint ventures were budgeted for on an annual basis, with employees typically working concurrently on these projects and tracking their time at the end of each month. With the lengthy process to log in and enter the hours worked, many users became increasingly frustrated at the time tracking process, which resulted in further delays in assessing labor costs, as payroll would need to follow up with employees about their hours worked for the previous month.
“We’d outgrown our prior system, which struggled to handle the increasing volumes of data being entered in the application,” said Litvinov. “Being in the oil and gas industry, our projects can continue for many, many years, yet it’s important for us to drill down into this information and break down our monthly costs. We needed a more intuitive and automated system that was easy for everyone to use, and could take on the complexities of multiple projects, currencies and geographies spanning long periods of time.”
“We'd outgrown our prior system, which struggled to handle the increasing volumes of data being entered in the application.”
Meeting a 100-point criteria and enabling greater strategic focus
Litvinov and his team conducted an extensive evaluation of other systems in the market before deciding on Polaris. ROC selected Polaris’ solutions in client billing and time off to centralize and simplify how the company managed its workforce and tracked the time worked against its various oil and gas projects.
“We had a very comprehensive, 100 point criteria, which we had broken down into four categories, including cost, support, functionality and usability. Polaris met all of our requirements,” said Litvinov. “After the challenges involved with our old system, we were impressed with Polaris’ cloud-based solution and felt confident that it could scale as our business continued to adapt and expand.”
The implementation process took only six weeks from the initial evaluation. An internal document was developed so that employees knew how to use the system, however very minimal training was conducted as the system proved to be very intuitive for all users.
A key driver for ROC in choosing Polaris was its configurability to the requirements of multiple markets – including specific workforce and business regulations. For example, ROC was able to easily add national holiday schedules to the system to prevent employees from entering time on mandated days off, while a comments section next to each time entry provides ROC with further insights into how people are working on specific projects. A deep level of time tracking was required to capture in-country versus out of country work, as there are certain tax breaks that apply when work is conducted across different markets. Polaris also needed to cater to tracking time that people worked in different currencies, which would then be adjusted to a single currency when it came to reporting costs and sending invoices to the client.
Delivering high configurability and functionality in an ever-changing industry
According to Litvinov, the feedback from its users has been overly positive. Whereas previously employees would complain about issues in accessing, submitting and approving their time, today there are no major issues and people can use Polaris on-the-go. Meanwhile, payroll receives automatic notifications from Polaris should there be any delays in month-end time entries, making the billing and reporting process much smoother.
“What attracted us to Polaris was its high degree of configurability to how we wanted to see the information, when we wanted to access it, and what actions we could take upon reviewing the time and project data.”