As we look forward to the rest of 2020, we expect that oil and gas company investment in digitalization and innovation will continue – despite low oil prices. Through snippets from news articles and interviews in the last week alone, it is clear that the energy industry continues to invest in and benefit from digitalization. And successful companies continue to invest in data, disruptive technologies, and culture to gain value from digitalization investments.

Shell is a great example. Their data strategy is closely embedded with other technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and is focused towards building a culture where their people have the skills and ability to access and use data. By aligning data and business strategies, Shell believes its data infrastructure will lead to better data-driven decisions. Shell has built perhaps the largest curated data set across all companies. However, the value of data does not depend on a company’s size but in their ability to find actionable insights and foresights. Curating data, setting up a data governance model and building data infrastructure are the first steps – and the value from the data will be emerging in the months and years to come.

Wood, an oil field services company, with a workforce of over 60,000, is pushing boundaries to build a culture that embraces and invites disruptive technologies. They established an innovation hub, Co-Lab, to bring together wisdom of industry experts, partners, and customers. Wood is actively collaborating and co-creating new solutions with customers to focus on some of their biggest problems. Examples of such collaborations include drones to monitor operations, predictive analytic models to prevent disasters and provide real-time connectivity for workers on-site. For the oil and gas industry, the concepts of open-innovation and co-creating solutions with clients are new – but the energy industry is learning that investing in these kinds of behaviors and models drives value.

Hess’ focus has been on digitalizing the workforce. This concept goes together with its exception-based surveillance, which allows digitalization technologies and equipment to ‘speak to you’. The organization continues to roll out a connected worker solution to bring together engineers, middle management, frontline users, and other stakeholders across a single platform. Together a connected worker and exception-based surveillance will change how work is done at Hess – thereby driving a fundamental cultural shift. Starting with the individual – making each worker more digital – Hess’ approach should drive an organic adoption of innovation and digital transformation.

While this blog only covered three Houston companies, the oil and gas industry is embracing innovation faster than ever before. We expect continued investment in 2020. Companies should realize that there cannot be a standalone data strategy without investing in culture or other technologies. Similarly, there cannot be a pure technology investment without looking at culture or people. Data, technology, and people – the three pillars of digitalization drive value.

Sources: Forbes, Data is the New Oil, ARC Interview with An Interview with Sten Tham, Area Head for Hess Corporation, BIC Magazine Oil &…

Rakhee Das, Technology & Innovation Practice Leader – Sirius Solutions, L.L.L.P.

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