Dashboards are in the truck and on the desktop in the new oil & gas economy

Legacy Reserves’ Joel Hughes says his job is “to make people more efficient,” especially the back office inhabitants such as accountants and engineers. The dashboard Legacy uses is called Domo. It puts requested data into easily read graphs and charts, letting managers and executives quickly analyze trends and totals that let them react in real time to avoid a problem or take advantage of an opportunity—without poring over charts until they go cross-eyed.

Tracking the accuracy of AFEs (Authorization for Expenditures) is Legacy’s main use for dashboards. It allows accountants and managers to quickly see if a workover, new well or other capital expenditure was over or under budget and, if at variance, where the issue was. This allows quick resolution of issues and improves planning for the next AFE.
Hughes—himself a former accountant and now IT Architect for Legacy—has the goal of using SQL Server to crunch massive amounts of numbers, producing reports in a dashboard an in other formats “at the push of a(n onscreen) button, saving hours and hours of eyeball-on-printout time.

 The concept of dashboards is relatively new. Chuck Blanton, President of OGSYS, which has been a provider of oil and gas accounting software since 1982, said his company saw in 2008 that reporting needs were changing and expanding faster than traditional programming could keep up with. “Clients’ needs change constantly, and what they need to make good business decisions changes constantly,” he said.

So, “In 2008 we released a SQL version of our software, which is the first step. Once you get the data into SQL…there are all kinds of tools you can use to access it.”

They released their dashboard a few years later. The dashboard quickly accesses the SQL-embedded data, putting it into a graphic format that allows the user to easily visualize whatever numbers and reports are needed. The dashboard is accessible from desktop or mobile devices, from any location such as an office or from the field.

 While it presents as a graphic summary, the OGSYS dashboard allows users to drill down into any details they want if they see an anomaly.

 Like the program Hughes uses at Legacy, the OGSYS dashboard is primarily volumetric data, along with land information, but that, too may change soon. “The next step for any dashboard is to begin to take other, third-party products and combine those into a combined view—basically break through the silo,” Blanton said.

Today, producers’ concerns revolve around collections. With a dashboard, an accountant can start the day by clicking on a report that will show every account that is 90-plus days out. “You can click again on individual customers and have contact information ready to email them or call them. Or, if you have a question come in during the day, the dashboard gives you the quick, easy way to pull up data while you’re actually talking to the customer.”

The dashboard helps with cash management in all directions, making planning and budgeting easier. All this is tied back to the general ledger.
All of this is geared toward efficiency in everything from the number of clicks needed to get information to the number of processes needed to get numbers ready for reporting. Because all is based on the SQL database, a single entry of data makes it available to every report.

“Our theory is, if it’s something you have to do, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t do it now, let the computer do it for you in the background,” Blanton said. When posting an API, to get ready an AP, it’s not in the general ledger yet, “With our system we do all of that in one step.” Once an item is approved, a single click gets it wherever it needs to be, whereas older systems require multiple steps, he noted. All of that happens in the background.

Getting OGSYS to becoming a truly cloud-based product is the next step, planned for later in 2016, which Blanton believes will make it the first truly cloud-based system in the industry.

Having the system on the cloud will allow a client to add computers and devices without having to install software on any device. He sees this as a particular benefit to smaller clients, who can get the system running in a short time without the need of an IT department, which many smaller companies don’t have.