The Current Data Infrastructure

Peter spent the next several days listening and charting his understanding of the current business practices at the Proclndustries refinery where the explosion occurred (see the box "Information Gathering"). He took extensive notes and kept the following questions foremost in his thinking:

  • • What are the business processes in the oil refinery plant that use data and how is that data used?
  • • Are there ways to change the work processes to make them more aware, or respond sooner, to problems that occur? Are there opportunities to run things more effectively?
  • • What are the steps needed to take to make these changes a reality?


Any enterprise that embarks on a digital data infrastructure project will face the challenge of understanding exactly how things work so that data creation, collection, and analysis are relevant to the organization's work and so that everyone involved can agree on what the data shows and how to act on the data analysis. This consensus creates the momentum for positive change.

The next day, the South Texas refinery held a meeting to investigate the current situation at Proclndustries. The plant manager, Tom Jordan, introduced Peter to the operating team at this facility. For Peter, the meeting revealed some important facts about Proclndustries' current capabilities and some important gaps in the plant's ability to gather and manage information (see the box "Collaboration Is Key"; Figure 1.1).


Proclndustries organization.


In every industry, people must collaborate to create an environment in which workers in different roles share data about their work and find ways to improve production. The following table illustrates the roles at the Proclndustries refinery.


Job Title

Role and Relevance to Digital Data Infrastructure Project

Peter Argus



Oversees the digital data infrastructure implementation with the goal of finding ways to have people apply their knowledge and creativity to solve business process problems.

Tom Jordan

Plant manager

On-site facility manager and team leader. Leads on-site staff (operations, production, and maintenance).

Tim Olsen

Production manager

Charged with meeting production plans and schedules. Ensures that the refinery runs in the most profitable and efficient manner given available resources. Aligns the refinery profit objectives with Proclndustries' corporate strategy.

Paul Morgan

Maintenance manager

Manages maintenance activities and budgets. Processes work orders and schedules their execution. Responsible for providing instrumentation and electrical support to operations.



Planning and economics coordinator

Defines weekly production plans to achieve company goals. Integrates information on raw material inventories, including different types of crude oil, with production process capabilities and constraints.

Chen Wang

Laboratory manager

Analyzes the conditions of production processes in the refinery as well as product quality. Interprets results for other refinery staff members.

Ron Erickson

Energy and utilities coordinator

Manages the consumption of steam, electrical, and water utilities for the refinery.

Raj Singh

Process safety manager

Supports refinery compliance with workplace safety regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Monitors and records change-management activities for all operations and equipment maintenance activities.




Job Title

Role and Relevance to Digital Data Infrastructure Project

Pat Verlaine

Information technology (IT) manager

Responsible for IT assets, networks, and activity at the refinery. Coordinates with corporate IT.

Alex Moretti

Process engineer

Supports engineering for one section, or process unit, of the four-section refinery. Monitors operations of the unit, including product quality, and informs the business team of results. Troubleshoots operational problems as they arise.

To be hired or promoted from within

Refinery operational intelligence manager

Reports to the plant manager and vice president of refinery operations. Key player in managing employees during the implementation of automation systems. Assigned to implement integrated information systems at the refinery and to identify opportunities for implementing new technologies to increase the effectiveness of the operation as it applies to corporate goals.

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