myQuorum TIPS: The Past, Present, and Future

ByStacey Hensley

August 27, 2020

Throughout my 18-year career in the gas processing industry, I have had the opportunity to work for, and with, some of the largest midstream operators in North America in a variety of roles. I have closed plants, supervised accountants, trained users, worked with counterparties, and worked on implementations and upgrades of midstream accounting products. I've worked with a variety of midstream solutions, system integrators, and industry participants, many of whom came from Quorum. I can unequivocally tell you that myQuorum TIPS is a cut above the rest. That's why I was excited to join Quorum and lead the future of an application that I've seen drive continuous innovation and increased efficiency throughout this industry for over two decades.

With its unrivaled functionality, transparency, and flexibility, TIPS has been the trusted standard for gathering and processing companies, big and small, for 20 years. myQuorum TIPS continues that evolution by leveraging the myQuorum platform to optimize and, in many cases, completely re-imagine the workflows of the plant accountants, contract administrators, gas schedulers, operators, and shippers that use TIPS every day. Let's take a deeper look at why myQuorum TIPS continues to be the leading midstream solution.

Empowering Users with Unparalleled Flexibility and Transparency

Midstream operators face unique challenges. They work in real-time to manage and account for complex, fungible delivery systems that combine the operational rigor of running critical infrastructure with the art of deal-making that rivals any industry. Operators need software that empowers their users to handle whatever they need.

myQuorum TIPS is designed for flexibility, putting the accountant or scheduler in the driver's seat with an intuitive platform that is adaptable to handle exceptions without complicating the ordinary.  Rules-based allocation and settlement engines allow for powerful and extensible configuration to handle plants with fewer than 10 meters or more than 10,000 meters with simplicity and transparency.

As the TIPS product manager, I'm constantly looking for ways to improve transparency into all aspects of the close process as well as removing data silos. This isn't the same TIPS from 10 years ago. We frequently add capabilities that help customers extract more margin or efficiencies from different processes as they pull them into TIPS. Some of these capabilities are a result of Quorum approaching the problem in a different way or of technology advancing to help us solve the challenges more effectively. Some examples:

  • Embedded reporting means there's no need to open a separate application, and one-click export to Excel allows the user to build additional reports at no cost.
  • Audit / PPA / CMA tracking easily tell when a change will affect current month processing and choose to accept the change or let it roll to a PPA to be corrected at a later date. Automatic PPA logging is not only configurable at the customer level but can be configured by the customer - no Quorum intervention required!
  • Allocation Audit Trail provides transparency into allocations. This screen will also undergo an overhaul as it's moved to myQuorum in the spring 2021 release. We will be using input from our Customer Advisory Board (CAB) to create the re-envisioned screen for the web.
  • A "subway map" style graphic was added to the Allocation Group screen to allow users to see allocation points and the order of their allocations easily.
    Subway Map
  • Rate Resolution, when this screen was first introduced, it focused on a specific meter and contract to view the detailed settlement calculations and results. We are completely re-imagining this for myQuorum and working with a small, focused task force of customers from our CAB. The redesign for this screen will provide an even deeper look into all of the calculations and continue to be a proven audit tool. This will be available with the upcoming fall 2020 release.

As a former plant accountant, and with the various roles I've held in the industry, I know how important a timely close process is. In my work at previous companies, I have written queries to identify missing data setups and other miscellaneous items. myQuorum TIPS delivers all of that information on the dashboard when you first log in, so no need for manual queries to identify these things. That information is at your fingertips!

Operators can schedule, account for, and settle natural gas, crude, and NGLs across processing, field treatment facilities, and nomination-driven gathering systems all in the same application. That breadth is matched with an unparalleled depth that's been built over 20 years to ensure your assets' requirements can be met out-of-the-box. Hundreds of standard business rules are complemented by highly intuitive formula builders to handle the exceptions – no coding required.

Proven and Scalable

myQuorum TIPS manages over 650 plants and over 300,000 physical meter locations daily. This has led some to a false perception that TIPS is suited for only the largest of G&P companies. While our five largest customers account for almost 50% of the meters scheduled, allocated, and settled in TIPS, the majority of our customers are much smaller organizations, half of which manage only a handful of plants. More than half of all of the plants accounted for in TIPS have fewer than 200 meters.

So why does this matter?

First, Quorum customers can manage more assets per accountant and scheduler than any other commercial system. Operator efficiency and user productivity continue to be key focal points for our development team every product update.  

Second, in an industry with assets that range from the teens to tens of thousands of meters, each plant is unique because of the number of physical meters and contracts, along with contract complexities plus whether or not daily or monthly settlement is required. In the end, a particular asset could have tens or tens of millions of transactions to process. The only common thing is the vast majority of them, big and small, continue to choose myQuorum TIPS. Regardless of size and complexity, the core foundation is the same. We are more proven and scalable.

Expanding Both Functionality and Workflows

Midstream operators require an expansive and diverse set of capabilities that mirror the services they provide their customers. myQuorum TIPS' depth of functionality and breadth of integrated workflows give our customers peace of mind that their plant accounting software can not only drive operational efficiency but also enable business agility to support new lines of business.  

As part of a regulated industry, Quorum has long worked with the market to ensure we are helping address compliance needs, with controls and reports addressing 11 of the highest producing natural gas states, along with Federal and State royalty reporting. We are tuned into State and Federal agencies to proactively stay in compliance and ahead of changes that are coming.

Midstream gathering system operators focused on improving their customers' service will find no better ally than TIPS' Customer Activities Website (CAW). This web-based, dashboard-driven user portal is for third-party shippers, volume accountants, and agents to conduct daily activities. To drive even greater efficiency, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) facilitates interactions with downstream intra and interstate pipelines.

Finally, midstream operators rely on measurement data to connect them to reality in the field as the basis for making important operational decisions and accurately settling with counterparties. FLOWCAL by Quorum Software has been at the forefront of natural gas and liquids measurement for more than two decades, working with the industry to evolve processes, develop standards, and evangelize the importance of hydrocarbon measurement. Over 80% of the meters that are accounted for in TIPS are also managed in FLOWCAL.

We are incredibly excited to combine FLOWCAL with myQuorum Midstream and Transportation to remove measurement data silos, reduce risk with unified system balances, help accountants close faster, and eliminate PPAs. This integration goes beyond existing volume interfaces and delivers a unified workflow that spans the field and the back office. We call it the "Close Process of the Future," and we will be discussing this more with our joint CAB meetings and in upcoming posts. We are working hard to fully integrate and give visibility into FLOWCAL from the myQuorum TIPS dashboards.

Final Word

I'm excited about the future of myQuorum TIPS. We are building out improvements to the product based on direct feedback from our customers in the CABs as well as User Voice, where users can submit ideas and interact with each other. I have a different perspective from being in the industry for so many years; I speak the same language and understand the concerns and struggles a plant accountant or accounting manager may have around day-to-day operations. We have built on an incredible legacy of transparency, flexibility, and scalability, and we continue to re-imagine the user workflows across the industry. More customers choose Quorum every year than any other vendor, and that's a fact!

Interested in learning more about our Gathering and Processing solutions and seeing them in action? Watch our webinar to learn more from our experts. 

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