Precision Drilling was living with an ERP system that was a lot like an old house. It started out as Canada’s largest drilling contractor but picked up acquisitions over time in the U.S. and the Middle East. That growth brought complexity and technical debt to an SAP system that had existed in some form since 1996.
Tear Down or Renovate?
“It was like we were living in a 20-year-old house that needed a major renovation,” said Darren Ruhr, chief administration officer of Precision Drilling. “We had to decide, do we renovate the existing system, or should we just implement a brand-new one?”
Ultimately, Precision Drilling decided to build a new system based around a greenfield implementation of SAP S/4HANA. The project—completed in just 12 months—has helped the company innovate and deliver high-value services to customers.
Start with Clean Data
Ruhr assembled a team of top talent across Precision Drilling to work on this ambitious project, beginning with the data. “We had 20 years of data sitting in our old SAP environment,” he said. “We had interfaces to a lot of custom applications. Our whole billing process was outside of SAP, sitting in a custom application.” Much like you’d clean your closets before packing up to move, Ruhr’s team concentrated on cleaning up the company’s data, which they kept separate from the new SAP S/4HANA system.
Take It to the Field
Part of the project involved bringing the SAP system to Precision Drilling’s rig sites through mobile data collection. “We wanted to do a lot more with paperless forms,” Ruhr explained. “There was a lot of paper being generated out at the rigs, and we wanted to go electronic with tablets.”
Ready for Innovation
The transition to SAP S/4HANA has set Precision Drilling up to innovate more quickly. “Now we want to use some of the newer tools, like SAP Analytics Cloud,” Ruhr said. “The big thing for us and our board is we now have the brand-new house. We’ve got the foundation and the building blocks. We can look at adding on new mobile functionality, new reporting, and analytics. We can get insights into our business that we were never able to see before.”
Ruhr spoke with Ann Marie Gray, VP of content at ASUG, about the advantages of being an early adopter, getting executive buy-in, and some of the critical decisions that allowed Precision Drilling to move so quickly through the implementation process.
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