Cortell takes IBM Cognos TM1 solution in Mali

Greg Bogiages, Director at Cortell

The AngloGold Ashanti group, headquartered in Johannesburg, is a leading global gold producer with 20 operations across four continents. Following the successful implementation by Cortell Corporate Performance Management of IBM’s Cognos TM1 solution into the South African operations, the decision was taken to carry this product into four sites in the Continental Africa Region.

Cortell was once again contracted to implement TM1 at Semos and Yatela in Mali, the third of the AngloGold Ashanti Continental Africa TM1 rollouts after Obuasi and Iduapriem in Ghana.

The Semos and Yatela mines, based in Sadiola and Yatela, were both previously using manual spread sheets to calculate monthly and annual budgets. The first phase of the TM1 rollout in Mali included implementing the system across all ‘level one’ costs such as actual, budget and forecasts. This will then be extended in further phases. The second phase will incorporate opex, capex, headcount, operations physicals such as geology, mining and plant, as well as ancillary services which can be keyed in manually. Phase two will help Semos and Yatela to realise the power of the TM1 solution by eliminating spreadsheet based processing up to costs at level ‘five’. Future phases will see rollout of TM1 to other sites in Continental Africa as part of an effort to standardise budgeting across the region.

“One of our biggest challenges with this project was to build a system around the people and resources at Semos and Yatela. We needed to ensure that the TM1 solution enabled them to capture budgets in the same way as they had previously to make the new system familiar and easy to use. This would assist with change management and enable users to intuitively take up the solution,” says Greg Bogiages, Director at Cortell.

“TM1 is a highly customisable offering, and we tailored the solution to meet the precise needs of these two mines. We began the project by developing the model for deployment in South Africa, and then sending a team to AngloGold Ashanti’s offices in Mali. The team was responsible for working with the finance department at both sites to establish how budgets were run, to train the staff and to migrate the budgeting system onto TM1,” he adds.

By eliminating the manual spread sheet processes and implementing the TM1 solution, following phase two AngloGold Ashanti’s Mali operations will benefit from centralised rules for budgeting, which eliminate the risk of incorrect calculations. The solution also allows for better data integrity, thanks to the ability to create comprehensive audit trails. This in turn enables monitoring of the flow of data, which creates tighter security, critical for the large budgets of a global organisation of the scale of AngloGold Ashanti.

“We expect to see benefits more specific to our operations as the project moves into the next phase. Phase one does not cover all of our costs, and does not enable us to optimally use TM1 yet. Once the solution covers the full spectrum of costs for the mine we will be able to realise the full advantages of the tool,” says Rudi Bodar, Financial Manager at AngloGold Ashanti Semos/Yatela.

“Although functionality is currently limited, acceptance of and feedback on the new system have been positive. Once the staff saw the potential for the TM1 system and what it will be able to achieve in the future, there was a good response. Our next step is to move rapidly onto phase two of the project to enable TM1 to cover all of the cost aspects of the business,” he adds. This implementation is part of a company-wide initiative aimed at streamlining and standardising the budgeting process across Africa. Once phase two has been completed at the sites in Mali, the TM1 solution will then be rolled out to further locations in AngloGold Ashanti’s Continental Africa Region.