The importance of IT in business should never be underestimated. It is essential to the operations of multi-national organisations in towering office blocks, entrepreneurial boffins in underground labs and on board oil and gas industry vessels in remote locations.
An up-to-date IT infrastructure can enhance business activities by bringing geographically spread teams closer together and speeding up a myriad of functions. A company with a comprehensive grasp on its IT infrastructure can function with an assured confidence. More importantly, a tight and efficient IT network can act as an enabler to a safer culture.
A recent survey by global professional services firm EY showed some IT issues were not of the highest priority within many companies. Its “Privacy Trends” report showed 22 per cent of respondents considered compliance monitoring their top priority. Implementing security standards was the top priority of 20 per cent and security governance and management was most important for 15 per cent. The number one priority was business continuity and disaster response. This balance could be considered a reactive rather than proactive attitude.
Oil and gas is a high stakes industry and operational safety is of foremost importance. Too often, effective IT is taken for granted like water or electricity. It is only when it stops working that people take notice.
There is little room for error when drilling a deep sea well, negotiating complex underwater infrastructure or piping hydrocarbons to shore. IT must be secure and employees must know the associated rules and regulations.
Training programmes and safety briefings are useful for delivering company information, but public speaking experts have noted that typically only 10 per cent of information given in presentations is retained after a week.
Employees often want to review material again, this is particularly vital with health, safety, business rules and the law. If a company’s governance, compliance and litigation practices can be found in one easy-to-access portal or channel, risk is reduced and data is less likely to be leaked.
Streamlined business processes are valued by both management and employees. If regulations are easily accessible there is no excuse for non-compliance. We have helped numerous organisations with their strategic IT and communications services.
Our methods have been tested within one of the world’s largest offshore mooring specialists, Viking SeaTech.
We installed a cloud-based infrastructure which aided the company through a period of growth. It continues to serve a functional role by creating an international single point of access for a variety of programmes. Taking the responsibility for IT and telecoms away from Viking SeaTech allowed staff to concentrate on core business activities.
This was a solution which worked with one particular company, but there is not a one-size-fits-all option. One business may need help with its security audit and compliance activity, while another may require a full upgrade, including network design, deployment and management.
Oil and gas firms are finally waking up to the risks associated with IT, including cyber-crime and terrorism. Implementing the right infrastructure not only works to eradicate these threats but also helps cultivate a healthy safety culture.
Paul Talbot is adept4’s chief technology officer for infrastructure