It’s difficult to ignore the emails, conferences and discussion around digital. There is huge focus on what digital technologies can do for our businesses, moving beyond some of the existing digitalisation of our working practices. It’s been helped hugely by the pervasive nature of technology in our lives, Alexa, Siri, couriers arriving at the door and passing you a handheld computer to sign. These technologies help our industry realise that much of this technology is very mature and, in a lot of areas, largely unexploited in the oil and gas industry.
The industry is becoming much more aware of this, and it’s interesting to see the increase in collaboration to exploit more of these technologies. The rise of organisations such as ONE, OGTC and the Technology Leadership Board plays a significant role in bringing organisations together and leading the industry forward. Learning from each other, sharing best practice and lessons is the first step to ensuring we are at least all at a similar level in gaining benefit from the technology.
Although existing in some form for many years, the Heads of IT forum has been reinvigorated and formalised to bring all the IT leaders of the major companies operating in the oil industry together to share experiences and provide some industry leadership in this area.
We are a data rich industry but the exploitation of that data to get insights and drive decisions has been more sporadic. Seeing huge investments from the likes of BP in artificial intelligence companies gives some indication of where the future can lie. However, there are a lot of real life, strong technology stories already being exploited in the industry and gaining real benefit. The question is becoming more, “why wouldn’t we make decisions with the right information at hand”. And if we aren’t turning our data into insights which drive value, why not?