When COVID-19 hit, like most businesses, the energy industry had to adapt to remote operations and in-person dealings on a digital platform. Companies that weren’t already moving to a more digital arena were forced to transfer their data and business processes from a paper format to a cloud platform. Compared to other industries, rather than having five years to slowly integrate digital technology, these oil and gas companies now had mere months. At this point, many companies have proven the success of digital transformation and the positive impact it has on their business and employees.
One reason organizations have been hesitant to move towards the idea of digital transformation is the additional investment required. While the technology that can push a company to the next level does require some capital investment, it will deliver results. In recent years, a survey was conducted by Oil and Gas IQ asking oil and gas executives to assess their own businesses and shed light on how they perceive digital transformation and the adoption of new digital solutions. Of those executives, 80% claim to have either planned or begun some type of integration towards digital technology.
Moving forward, companies need to look at these technology investments as foundational to their business operating model and as long-term, strategic investments. These investments shouldn’t be looked at as expensive sprints but rather as a cost-saving marathon.
The Right Steps To Take
For companies looking into transforming their business operation, moving it to the cloud, or looking to add intelligent automation to their day-to-day processes, several factors should be considered to ensure a transformation is executed as efficiently as possible. Below are five key considerations involved to protect business value when going digital.
- Assess What You Have: Prior to investing in new technologies and platforms, it’s important to evaluate the company’s current business operations before considering what additional investments will be needed to bring the most value. In today’s digital world, there are so many ways to digitize a business, but it’s important to examine your specific needs and size of your business before making a change.
- Develop A Plan: After assessing what parts of the operations should be improved, the company needs to formulate a plan to act on that analysis by executing a capability delivery program that focuses on value and establishes momentum for change. Change is key to the success of a business but knowing how and what to change is also important.
- Start Off Small: It’s critical to build on the success of new developments even if they’re minor. If an implementation is too large and complex, the business could scrap the entirety of the idea of even moving forward. It’s important to take the small victories and build on them to create something new.
- Communicate Change Within The Business: Change should be communicated with both employees and with impacted clients, customers, and vendors. It’s crucial that employees and business partners are on board with a new change, and their voice is heard when capabilities are enhanced, and changes are implemented. Ease-of-use is also critical when developing a new process and should be understandable to the user.
- Seek Strategic Partnerships: Companies can find great benefit in partnering with a consulting firm that can provide an unbiased, objective view on the business and technology. This step can provide a valuable external perspective on how operations are conducted and allow a consultant to offer a fair assessment on what can be improved and bring new value to the company. Consulting can especially be important when it comes to seeing what new technology is available and how it may be applied to improve the business.
In all, 2020 gave the oil and gas industry the opportunity to seek out new ways to operate and conduct business. For companies that struggled the past year because of a lack of technology integration, it can be noted that the ‘new normal’ is to move to digitalization and revolutionize the way businesses operate—efficiently and profitably.
About the Author:
Mark Valdez is a Consultant in Opportune LLP’s Process & Technology group based in Houston, TX. Prior to joining Opportune, Mark worked for the United States Marine Corps as a Data Systems Administrator and was a Scheduling and Operations Intern for The Personal Office of Barack and Michelle Obama. Mark graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.S. in Business Management Information Systems and a minor in Cybersecurity.
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