It seems clear that a focus on digital oilfield has delivered real value to the industry, but the impact was not as broad as it might have been. As William Gibson said: “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed”. One key problem highlighted in our review of digital oilfield was a lack of a broadly understood definition of what digital oilfield actually means. Without general guidance and widely applicable process and technology, the spread of best practice will be limited by an individual company’s ability to identify and apply developments that might bring benefits to their business.
Looking forward, the energy around digital transformation is very positive, but the key question is how we maximise the impact.
Definitions exist (https://www2.deloitte.com/insights/us/en/industry/oil-and-gas/digital-transformation-upstream-oil-and-gas.html) but the concept still lacks industry acceptance and understanding. The danger is that we fail to focus on the process changes and the technology pillars to support them, and instead revert to repurposing of existing product under a new branding.
Our starting point is very simple: we must increase productivity and lower cost while operating safely. The next step is also simple: every company must define its own targets for each of these metrics that digital transformation will have to deliver.
Making it happen
As we’ve discussed, the challenge of digital transformation is only weakly related to product selection. The most important step is to deliver fundamental change in a company’s world view. This means doing things differently – in order to move to a modern working environment, we must embrace new ways of working and new ways of thinking. Even after all this time, improving collaboration within and across teams, and across companies is still one of the fundamentals.
Supporting this effort are our three technology pillars of transformation:
1. Machine learning
2. Industrial Internet of Things
Of these, cloud is foundational, as it enables both of the other pillars, and a broad range of new practices and opportunities. For most, the first essential step to digital transformation, and the most likely evidence of progress, is a move to the cloud. However, cloud is not about lifting and shifting physical servers into a virtual environment, but about a different way of procuring and using software. It is about buying service, not software, and this requires broad industry change.
The EnergySys Cloud Platform is a very real example of the new world and is nothing like traditional systems in either its goals or design. We have re-imagined Oil and Gas IT as a service rather than as a software. It’s no longer about buying bits or boxes, but about a guarantee of service. The ability to do hydrocarbon accounting or well management or analytics with no fuss at reasonable cost: on demand. No need for infrastructure or licenses or database administrators or anything else that is really nothing to do with the job of producing oil and gas. Get real value in days or weeks, not months or years.
When approaching digital transformation, the first thoughts of many companies is to try to work out how they do machine learning or analytics or whatever. This might be necessary, if it delivers competitive advantage, but it is not a prerequisite for digital transformation. Thinking about buying cloud services, whether that’s email or calendar or video conferencing or hydrocarbon accounting, can deliver incredible value incredibly quickly.
Everything is managed, with new features available regularly and without hassle or fuss. All you have to do is to focus on the things that only you can do. EnergySys customers have experienced increased productivity and more flexibility in managing their businesses as a result. Open standards mean that users can use a range of third-party tools to manipulate and understand the data in the platform, or integrate with other cloud or legacy on-premises systems.
The web and mobile banking has transformed the way people and companies carry out banking. The EnergySys Cloud Platform is providing the same transformation for Oil & Gas IT.