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Yangtze Power Harnesses the Power Perhaps you’ve heard of the Yangtze River in China, and the…

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Yangtze Power Harnesses the Power

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Yangtze River in China, and the enormous Three Gorges Dam being erected to harness the river’s force for hydroelectric power. Due to be completed in 2011, the Three Gorges Dam will generate 22,500 megawatts of electricity, more than any other hydroelectric facility in the world. The company that will operate the dam is Yangtze Power, China’s largest publicly listed utility company.
For years, Yangtze Power has managed the Gezhouba Power Station and six commissioned generating units. It has maintained business data in five databases, supporting its five divisions: Power Generation Management, Finance, Human Resources, Contract Management, and Safety and Control Management. Keeping data in siloed systems—separate, unconnected systems—limited information transfer through the enterprise. If a manager from Human Resources wanted to evaluate data from Contract Management, he would have to e-mail someone in that department to have a report generated and transferred. As Yangtze Power looked ahead to growth and the addition of the world’s largest hydroelectric power generator, the company knew that its information would need to flow more freely through the enterprise in order for it to make the best business decisions in a timely fashion.
After evaluating products from Business Objects, Cognos, Informatica, MicroStrategy, and Oracle, Yangtze Power decided to go with Oracle to design one centralized database for all of its information because it was the only company that could provide one integrated system.
In March 2007, Yangtze Power’s technology team worked with Oracle to develop a needs analysis and begin data preparation. Requirements were defined to cover six major areas of the business, including 65 performance indices and 370 reports. Through extensive preparation and testing, the system was up and running by November 2007.
Oracle’s business intelligence tools allow senior managers to analyze performance on a daily basis, highlight areas for improvement, and monitor the results of business strategies. Each morning, reports on the previous day’s critical activities are waiting on managers’ desks. The new database stores three years of data, so that managers can draw on historical data when analyzing business performance. Communication between departments has improved, since everyone accesses the same data from a central system, and reports can easily be generated tailored to meet any business need.
Oracle’s BI tools are used to create customized reports and charts including pie charts, broken curve diagrams, histograms, and radar maps. Being able to visualize data and trends in data enables a deeper analysis of the organization’s business performance.
Yangtze Power has gained control over its flow of information through the enterprise. Now it is working to gain similar control over the raging waters of the Yangtze River.

1. What was wrong with Yangtze Power’s previous database system, and how was it affecting the business?

2. What solution did Yangtze opt for, and how did it improve business?

1. How does a centralized database improve communications within an organization?

2. In what situations might one centralized database not be practical for an enterprise?

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