“Cautious optimism” was the mood of June.
Deidre Michie’s comments as she opened Oil and Gas Industry Conference, were followed by Aberdeen Grampian Chamber of Commerce’s release of its 26th Oil and Gas Survey – presenting statistical credence to this mood. Later the same week, Scottish Enterprise released its annual Survey of International Activity in the Oil Gas Sector – highlighting that international activity still accounts for more than half of total supply chain sales.
Dare I say it; I am cautiously optimistic. But, leaving the strategic predictions to those I mention above, let me share with you what I am cautiously optimistic about, and what sparked this hope.
My ears pricked early in proceedings of the Oil and Gas Industry Conference with the comments of Aker’s President and CEO, Øyvind Eriksen who talked about data sharing and data lakes, obviously unbeknownst to him, the very theme of my presentation later in the day.
I’m aware, to quote Ms. Michie again, that “bold steps have been and are being taken and we have great examples of companies working differently to improve cost and efficiency and working hard to lock these benefits in for the long term.”
To my mind, however, this has not been bold enough, at least where it should be happening, on the coal face, particularly when it comes to one key asset…data.
As a panellist in the plenary session focussing on supply chain resilience, I had the opportunity to share Return To Scene’s journey, and what we have learnt as a business about this very area.
As our own R2S technology has evolved into a visual data hub, where asset information can be accessed and shared from images, linked to other client systems, databases and live data feeds, we have already proven that technologies like R2S have presented industry with the opportunity to “do things differently” particularly when it comes to data.
By encouraging data democracy, challenging habitual hoarding and breaking down the traditional industry data silos, collaboration where it counts can actually happen. By sharing data, we allow others to work, creating barrier free, multi-organisational teams. We avoid duplication of efforts, remove barriers, retain information and take cost out of industry.
There are challenges, of course, but through our own engagement with our clients and wider industry, I don’t believe these are insurmountable. I was also encouraged by what I took away from the Oil and Gas Industry Conference in terms of commentary and feedback to my questions on this theme.
Visibility of and access to these data lakes is one fundamental challenge, and others include, but are not limited to; established fiefdoms; the procurement process; access to supply chain, and dependence on client champions.
The opportunities this shift in the way we share data will, as I alluded to above, change the way we use this valuable resource, and are worth the effort. By challenging data hostage takers, we can realise the various mantras audible from the operators “standardise and digitise”, “pay once; use often”, etc… We can positively contribute towards the leaner, fitter industry we must maintain and drive technologies to support our new ways of working.
I remain cautious. I know how difficult it can be to challenge established norms.
I remain optimistic. I know it can be done, and sense a want and need at both ends of the supply chain that I am confident will release the damns on those data lakes.
Bob Donnelly is managing director with Return To Scene Ltd.