Case Study

Legacy to modern at half the cost and time

The Pioneer Natural Resources Company is an $8 billion natural exploration and production company with operations in the United States, South Africa, and Tunisia. They are focused on delivering competitive and sustainable results as they responsibly produce oil and natural gas to help meet the world’s energy demands. In order to achieve this, their team of business users and geologists are reliant on Pioneer’s submittal application which captures exploration, business development opportunities, and submittals for evaluation.


Increase IT responsiveness while reducing costs

Pioneer is a large independent exploration and production company with operations in the United States, South Africa and Tunisia. In most cases, business development team members and geologists are away from the office when they capture data in order to
evaluate prospects and opportunities. Of the Pioneer submittal application, they can input  the data on a form similar to the online version and upload the data when they connect to the
application server. The application used to evaluate these opportunities was the Exploration & Business Development Submittal application or the Pioneer Submittals for short. The original application Exploration, Submittals and BD opportunities was built over 5 years ago using legacy systems. Few problems that they faced,

  • Expensive to maintain: any change required specialized skills only available through external contractors
  • Multiple code bases: Pioneer had separate applications for exploration submittals and for business development.They had separate databases (Oracle and SQL server) and only one had an offline capability. To address these issues. Pioneer decided to undertake a modernization project to replace the two separate submittal applications with a single web based application and a common database. In addition,Pioneer was determined that the new Pioneer Submittal application would be maintained by in-house staff.


In steps WaveMaker professional services

Pioneer looked for web-based development tools that did not require extensive Java development skills. As part of this search, they tried WaveMaker and found that it was ideal to build and maintain business applications like Pioneer Submittals. Happy with what they saw, Pioneer approached the WaveMaker professional services team for a quote to build the Pioneer Submittals application and provide sufficient training to Pioneer developers so that they could maintain the application themselves. Because WaveMaker enables high developer productivity, the WaveMaker Professional Services team was able to put together a very competitive proposal (in fact, at less than 50% the cost and time of the original development project). In addition, WaveMaker Studio was used to provide a prototype of the application along with the proposal, generating excitement among the business users and accelerating the budgeting process. Using an Agile development process produced excellent business results while delivering the project on time and on budget. Specific benefits included

  • Better business communication: WaveMaker worked closely with Pioneer IT and end users to evaluate business requirements. With each iterative release (generally spaced at 2 to 4weeks), business users had an opportunity to test out new functionality and refine their requirements.
  • Higher productivity: By working closely with business users, WaveMaker was able to optimize the usability based on extensive user feedback
  • Improved security: Pioneer personnel can now only see the records available in their division. Individuals can mark records as private and IT could assign permissions based on the position.
  • In-house maintenance: The masterand subpage architecture of the new application – easily created with WaveMaker – allows each page to exist separately and then be assembled into the larger application, making maintenance less complicated.
  • Visually appealing user interface: WaveMaker’s support for HTML and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) made it easy to create a compelling user interface that met Pioneer’s requested look and feel.


Working together, the WaveMaker professional services team and Pioneer developers created a new Pioneer Submittals application using Agile software development methodology. The application itself comprises 15 web pages and includes complex search with 14 search criteria. Specialized custom widgets include drop-down selectors, result grids with embedded images and sortable columns, and multi-select widgets. The application uses 18 custom database queries, 14 active directory roles, and 4 Java services. Users can upload Excel spreadsheets to the application and generate PDF report output using MS Report server. Pioneer was able to provide a modern web-based solution to combine two applications into one.

“WaveMaker gave us a series of iterative releases that helped engage our business users, enabled better testing along the way and produced a solution that exceeded our customer expectations in terms of quality and productivity.”

– Anne Dollar
Lead Analyst, Pioneer Natural Resources


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