Viewing Operations and Production Data as a Critical Strategic Asset

Successful companies view their critical operations data as a strategic and unique asset, ultimately becoming the lifeblood of their operating divisions. Enterprises that have a long view and value their data generally tend to extend their critical data infrastructure to monitor as much of their value chain as possible. For oil and gas, this encompasses upstream exploration and production, midstream pipelines, downstream refining, and into petrochemical manufacturing.

Enabling a critical data infrastructure across this extended domain allows companies to integrate, abstract, normalize, and contextualize information so that it becomes a self-serve model for individuals, software systems, and applications to ingest the information they need.

This critical data infrastructure must be scalable, secure, open, and reliable.

Successful Teaming with Strategic Partners

Enterprises that have great technical leadership know the map of technology providers well. These providers have varying business models. Some suppliers provide a suite of products and applications suited to a particular industry, while others provide a single solution across many vertical industries. Some, as in the case of the EIDI discussed in this book, provide out-of-the-box, standard software without the need for custom programming to start monitoring production and operations activity. Others, such as software models, often rely on consulting and custom sendees to best provide an effective outcome for the customer.

Our viewf is that the solution or platform of choice should be purchased from a responsible vendor wdth a sustained track record in the industry. If they have provided a technology for decades, this technology is their lifeblood. The supplier is unlikely to discontinue an offering the customer has purchased simply because it is not in the best long-term viability of the supplier.

What we have learned over the years is that successful enterprises usually standardize on a technology provider for its critical data infrastructure. To re-engineer this for each asset or on a project-by-project basis is very costly and very human resource intensive. Things that are not easily calculated are total life-cycle costs for having different suppliers, such as integrating data into other critical software systems like maintenance and financial systems.

A relationship between a large manufacturing enterprise and its key software suppliers generally lasts decades, perhaps 30-40 years, or longer. When selecting something as strategic as this, great technology is important. But even more important is mitigating risk by selecting the right business partner. Failure to do so wall be far more catastrophic than the encountering gaps in technology over the life of the software.

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