Why is successful data management such a challenge?
Organisations lose an estimated $2 million per year due to poor data management. Not only this, but 95% of IT leaders claim day-to-day data management challenges lead to increased operational costs, poor productivity and an inability to compete.
Successful data management is a significant challenge for upstream oil and gas companies. It is said that ‘data lies at the heart of decision making’ but often inflexible software makes it impossible to truly know how accurate the data used for decision-making is.
Our own survey report on the Challenges in Production Accounting saw over 65% of respondents say they lacked confidence in their data. In a time where good quality data is critical to business operations, what can we do to ensure our own data success?
1. Flexible low-code software is key
Traditional IT systems can be restricting rather than rewarding. They can lead to companies slowing their productivity or downplaying their business goals. It shouldn’t be this way.
Having a low-code system offers superior flexibility to help you meet your business goals, not curb them. It’s easy to use without specialist skills or third-parties, ensuring your team can respond quickly to internal requests and make changes themselves. Reducing waiting time for critical decision-making data and ensuring the people that know your business best are in charge of the data.
Truly flexible systems also offer complete transparency so you can interrogate results rapidly. EnergySys has unique calculation logs you can download and analyse so any anomalies can be easily checked and fixed. Providing you with total confidence in the data you are reporting.
Cloud-native software is the only option that offers the flexibility and usability required to successfully manage your data in this way. It enables secure, flexible and effective data sharing across teams, locations, departments and even companies.
2. Automate everything
The Veritas ‘Realizing the Power of Enterprise Data’ whitepaper reports 97% of IT leaders say day-to-day challenges had a major impact on timely strategic decision-making, leading to missed revenue opportunities. Companies need to be able to react quickly on accurate data to stay competitive. Automation plays a vital part in this.
By automating mundane manual tasks your team are free to perform the skilled aspects of their role than no one else can do.
For example, many teams are faced with data coming in from multiple locations and sources. To manually upload and validate this data could take several days and poses a significantly higher risk to data integrity.
With cloud-native software you can automatically load and validate data, whether it originated from an email, partner report, data historian or other source. The team can be notified when the process is complete and need only get involved if the predetermined validation parameters identify an anomaly within the data, giving your team time to focus on the value-added work.
3. Secure role-based access anytime, anywhere, from any device
Role-based access allows team members to see only the information necessary for them to effectively perform their job duties. Combine this with cloud technology and your team are not bound by location, server or network. They can securely access the data they need at any time, from anywhere, on any internet-enabled device. No more waiting for reports or manual updates, just a seamless view of the data.
This is also beneficial as it becomes increasingly apparent that oil and gas companies need the ability to run operations undisturbed when unforeseen circumstances arise.
Using the recent COVID-19 pandemic as an example, vast numbers of organisations had to transition their teams to a remote-working model in a matter of weeks. Role-based access with cloud-based technology means you can plug and play anywhere, at any time. All you need is a browser and a secure login. Then you’ll see only the data you need and can pick up where you left off – whether that was the office, on the go or even in your garden.
4. Predictable costs that deliver maximum value
IT in the oil and gas industry is often undervalued and perceived as a huge cost centre. Spiralling costs can be a contributing factor to poor data management.
Pricey upgrades, additional data storage and add-ons can add up quickly and unexpectedly. Add in the cost of external consultants with the specialist knowledge required to make the system run and the expense becomes prohibitive to all but the largest companies.
Keep costs in check with cloud-native software. It runs like a service so you only pay for the stuff you need. Take EnergySys for example, we charge one annual subscription that includes everything: unlimited users, infrastructure, support, upgrades and disaster recovery.
Because it’s cloud you can easily scale up or down as you acquire or sell assets, and you don’t need to pay for hardware either. This means you know what your cost centre is, there are no surprises and you can invest in development without worrying about keeping a slush fund.
5. Keep it simple
Contrary to some beliefs, complex solutions are not always better. In fact, 40% of IT leaders find that the more data management tools they have at their disposal, the poorer their data and overall effectiveness within the organisation.
Keep it simple with a single system that can be configured and extended to suit your needs as and when they demand. An open source solution means you can easily integrate with third party software, ensuring a seamless network of systems that deliver the data you need.
For example, the EnergySys web services API, built on open standards, allows reports and dashboards to be built in leading tools like Microsoft Power BI and Excel. This not only gives your team the comfort of what they’re familiar with, but also has the benefit of reducing the number of data sources between departments. Reporting, sharing, and analysis of data across departments has never been easier for a seamless view of the business.
Successful data management is a vast undertaking, but critical to the success of your business. Done right it can reduce operational spend, increase productivity and, most importantly, take the risk out of decision-making with accurate data that’s available on demand.
There are few standards and several software options, so knowing what works best for you can feel like a stab in the dark. However, if we take all the information from above, it can be boiled down into 5 key features:
1. Find a solution that is flexible, scalable and configurable to meet your business demands
2. Use automation to free up your highly skilled team to focus on delivering value to the business
3. Make sure your service is evergreen and accessible from anywhere, at any time
4. Don’t spend more, spend smarter
5. Find a solution that easily integrates with your other business tools for a seamless picture of your business data
Once you’ve got these in place, you have an excellent foundation for successful data management.