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Operational Excellence in Oil and Gas Houston – Pre-Con Recap

November 4, 2014

20141103_131104So I just got back to the hotel fresh on the heels of my afternoon workshop at the Operational Excellence in Oil and Gas conference, which explored the ways that information management practices can impact O&G operations, both positively and negatively. There was too much discussion to try to reproduce here verbatim, but I wanted to capture the key takeaways I got from the session.

First, trying to stress the importance of information management to O&G operational excellence was definitely preaching to the choir for the folks in my session. Some of them certainly knew more than others about information management processes and technologies, but no one in the room doubted the centrality of information management to the success of their work.

Second, when I asked whether IT understood information management and was able to deliver value to the business in that space, the answer was a resounding no. Out of the fifteen or so firms in attendance, not a single one had anything good to say about how their IT shops handle information management.

Third, there was rampant skepticism about enterprise class software, like ERP platforms, to deliver value and meet business needs. Most of the folks in attendance felt like they were too expensive to buy, painful to use, and weren’t delivering a value commensurate with the effort (and pain) it took to get them up and running.

Finally, folks were universally looking for simple, blocking and tackling information management capabilities rather than futuristic, rocket ship type solutions. When I asked whether the document management systems at their assets allowed workers to type in a functional location, for example, and quickly retrieve the latest and greatest documentation, the answer was definitely no. In fact, most of the participants thought that having the ability to do this would be transformational to their operations. Of course, they also thought having the ability to manage asset documentation throughout the entire life cycle, from design and construction, to turnover, operation, and end of life using workflow would be great, too. But everyone agreed that simply having a good place to store their docs with a simple, effective way to retrieve them would be game changing…and a necessary first step to reaching these more advanced capabilities.

The Final Word

So much for the pre-con. Excited to be a spectator for Day 1 (I present tomorrow) and see what folks have to offer across the industry.

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