ARK Platform: Bespoke ERP for a US Based Oil and Gas Corporation

Hamayun Zafar

Product Designer
Phoenix Capital Group

Bespoke, scalable ERP for Phoenix's mineral rights wing.

We crafted a scalable & dynamic solution for their mineral rights acquisition wing's day to day operations. The ERP helped them save millions by moving away from Salesforce while their internal increasing efficiency.

We began with a blank slate, the only reference we had the adapted workflows on their Salesforce account. The goal was to craft a solution that encapsulated the day to day needs of all their operations.

Overview, Goals and Objectives

The Ask

Phoenix Capital segments its operations into investment, operations, and mineral rights with specialized teams. Their ask was to design a custom, scalable enterprise resource planning (ERP) system was developed to handle diverse data interactions, including daily operations and analytics, within the mineral rights division.

My Role in the Project

I spearheaded the design initiative, beginning with the collection of initial insights and user narratives, establishing the project’s scope alongside the client, devising a tailored design system, delivering a responsive design across the platform, conducting user testing, integrating feedback, and overseeing the final transfer and ongoing support throughout development, including quality assurance of the design implementation.

Research, Insights and Challenges

Gathering Insights From Current Experiences and Session Recordings

We mapped out each team's key workflows. By analyzing user-recorded sessions of daily tasks, we precisely delineated the project's scope, resulting in a highly effective strategy. Some of the features were conceptualized, ideated and designed later on. We uncovered opportunities for enhancement, including the addition of administrative tools and refinements in usability and interactions.

We Faced Diverse Challenges During the Development Cycle

These included keeping familiarity for a trained team, scalability, adaptability as well as multiple paradigms consolidated within a limited digital real estate.

1. Elevating Experience and Productivity While Keeping Familiarity

The goal was a seamless shift from Salesforce to ARK, keeping familiar structures and interactions intact. Yet, we took the opportunity to reconstruct complex workflow elements like revenue analysis, boosting productivity and simplifying processes.

2. Scalable and (Re)composable Design System

Crafted a flexible, modular design system enabling post-launch product evolution and customization.

3. Consolidation of Multiple Paradigms in a Limited Space

Merged key functions like mapping and reporting into a unified screen for efficiency.

4. CMS-Type Functionalities Baked In

Designed a user-friendly system integrating data management and history tracking to support backend operations.

Ideation, Execution, Testing and Final Designs

The General Look and Feel was Established First

We started with the screen people use the most to guide the visual style of the platform. Through multiple tweaks of this key page, we found the design that set the tone for everything else.

Our strategy hinged on a need-based scalable design system approach, composing design elements as we went along and faced various requirements and contexts.

Evolution of Design: From Wireframes to Final Structure in Detail Page Development

(Re)composable, Scalable Design System

Starting with our preliminary design concepts as a foundation, we developed an array of basic reusable components along with more essential elements.

A cohesive, scalable and (re)composable design system

The Entire Platform Was Built To Be Responsive

The entire platform and all it's interactions and flows were designed from the ground up with responsiveness in mind. This allowed the team to access and refer the data on the platform in any setting (during negotiations, reviews etc.).

The ARK Platform was built from the ground up to be responsive

Ability to Generate and View Intricate Reports

The design incorporated the day to day composition and viewing of complex reports.

Advanced Reporting Dashboard: Analytics and Insights at a Glance
Advanced Reporting Dashboard: Analytics and Insights at a Glance
Custom Layer Creation Wizard: Streamlining Complex Data Visualization

The Ability to Analyze and Compare Complicated Data At a Glance

The new platform made it easy for Phoenix's teams for analyze, compare and reference complicated data in various contexts at a glance. It also gave them the ability to drill down and fine deeper insights.

Comparative Payment Analytics: Simple vs. Compound Interest
Revenue Tracking: Actual vs. Expected in Real-Time
Financial Forecasting: Visualizing Production and Profitability Trends

Easily Navigable Map View with Varied Data Points and Mapping Data

The platform came with a map view for the team to glance at their mineral rights data in the context of the mapping data. The platform established an easy and adaptive way to look at the variety of data available and an easy way to filter through it.

Geospatial Analysis Interface: Detailed Well Mapping with Robust Filtering

Familiar But Specialized Task Management Views

The team at Phoenix needed some traditional and familiar mechanisms to manage some of their internal tasks. A familiar but more specialized Kanban view was designed to fulfill that requirement.

Title Assignment Workflow: Streamlined Kanban View for Efficient Tracking

Admin Tools - An Internal CMS for ARK

The ARK platform came with an internal integration of Admin Tools for the management of the platform for the devs. This included tools like a bulk data uploader, data model manager, workflow manager etc.

Data Model Manager: Ability to manager the data architecture of the platform as well as detail page structures
Workflow Manager: Provided ability to have baked in workflows for the team's day to day operations

Usability Testing and QA

Internal Tests and Feedback

As we began developing, we tested the platform with Phoenix's team to see what parts of the design worked and what didn't. We kept track of the feedback, looked it over, and made improvements. We were pleased to find that the team liked the platform's overall look, how it worked, and how it felt to use it.

We conducted user testing and derived actionable insights from it, optimizing core flows

Week by Week QA of Developed Paradigms

Parallel to the development process, I led the design QA effort providing visual feedback to the developers ensuring design consistency across the entire platform. The process is still ongoing at the time of this case study being written. Our workflow and rather simple methodology has proved rather efficient. The developers find it super easy to track and report changes back.

QA tracking and execution management

Impact of ARK & Key Takeaways

Immediate Cost Savings

As mentioned at the start of the case study, the Phoenix team was using an adapted solution on Salesforce that cost them thousands of dollars on an annual basis. The ARK platform cut that cost down to zero in its first year. The designed platform not only met all the current needs of the team but also optimized workflows allowing the team to seamlessly carry over their work to ARK.

From Analyzing 5000 Records to 50000 Records At a Time

Phoenix Capital's line of work is dependent on the ability to collect, parse, analyze and present data to their team on a daily basis. Their previous solution not only hindered the ability to view that data in it's entirety but also did allow them to utilize the data in the ways that they wanted. ARK provided them the flexibility they needed to utilize their data to the fullest.

A couple of instances of robust data presentation in ARK

Personal Key Takeaways

A major portion of my last year has been spent working for the ARK platform. The takeaways have been far reaching but I will try to summarize them to the best of my abilities.

🔑 Takeaways

I hope I have been able to convey the scope and versatility of this powerful platform. I had a lot of fun leading the design effort on this project and it lead me to know a lot about the world of Product as well as myself. Hope you enjoyed the content!

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