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Energy companies with an onsite workforce are facing immediate communication challenges, many of which are compounded by inadequate technology infrastructure in an increasingly regulated industry. Energy workers often operating from remote, or even offshore locations around the world require fast, secure access in order to collaborate on complex file formats on a daily basis. With potentially limited equipment and restricted bandwidth in offshore sites, onsite workers face significant barriers when it comes to opening and collaborating on detailed project plans or large PDFs and CAD files. 

Unlocking the potential of information within energy organizations relies on implementing the right suite of digital solutions to improve efficiency and manage complex consumer demands, while mitigating evolving compliance requirements. This begins with empowering industry workers to optimize daily tasks, which means enabling streamlined collaboration from remote or onsite locations. This blog looks at three key ways energy companies can streamline secure collaboration for remote and onsite workers.

Remote Work Challenges in The Energy Sector

As energy companies face new pressures across the industry landscape, including increased competition, more complexity, and less predictability, profit margins are under pressure, and the need to turn to new and innovative digital technologies is more prominent than ever. At the same time, energy and materials companies transitioning to enable remote ways of working face widespread collaboration challenges, and lack the technological foundation to respond to the needs of onsite workers.

Decreased Productivity

Companies within the energy sector are required to use a range of different software solutions as part of everyday operations—most of which are poorly integrated with one another. When sharing and collaborating across a range of systems and document types, users are typically required to download the file and open it in its native application. Not only is this extremely time-consuming; it may even be impossible for off–shore workers working with limited bandwidth and resources to access the files at all.

IT Costs

Decreased productivity is even more damaging when accompanied by increased costs. Onsite oil and gas workers are expected to collaborate on large, complex CAD and autoCAD drawings and exchange regular feedback in order to carry out daily operations. 

Downloading these files requires a strong bandwidth connection and adequate storage space — both of which may be unavailable, and which cost a pretty penny to implement in remote locations. Deploying complex IT infrastructures to ensure effective collaboration in off-shore locations will blow any IT budget through the roof. 

Security Vulnerabilities 

Not to mention, without the right tools in place, content accessed in off-short or remote locations can be highly vulnerable to security leaks or breaches. Oil and gas as well as engineering and construction workers may be regularly managing sensitive financial data, production forecasts, survey data, invoices, or even personally identifiable information (PII). Energy organizations need a solution that enables real-time collaboration for onsite workers while facilitating the protection of sensitive data.

The Solution: Adopting the Right Technology Suite

Document Standardization

Quelling collaboration woes for energy organizations operating in off-shore locations begins with implementing the right tech stack. If finding the appropriate tools that enable fast, remote access to large, complex PDF and CAD or autoCAD files seems like an impossible feat, you likely have not yet considered web-based document viewing technology. By treating all documents the same, regardless of file format or host system, onsite workers can avoid operating multiple applications and enduring lengthy file downloads.

Web-based content viewing technology offers a standardized, centralized view over all enterprise content, across all major platforms, from any device or location. With a single tool that integrates to existing business applications, onsite workers can access the latest versions of project plans and drawings at all times, and view high resolution blueprints quickly and accurately, from anywhere in the world—regardless of bandwidth. 

Automated Document Processes and Workflows

No matter what business systems or applications your organization is using, document review processes for complex oil and gas projects and drawings require input from knowledge workers, managers, engineers, designers, and even regulatory offices. Collaboration on these documents needs to include all relevant stakeholders—and needs to be simple enough to not require dedicated training.

Centralizing workflows in a single, easy-to-use document viewer helps streamline document access and collaboration for all users, displaying updates and annotations in real-time and eliminating confusion around document versions. Rather than downloading the document to be opened in its native application, web-based document viewers can analyze the document, extract the data, and render the information to the user as an image, so onsite workers can avoid lengthy downloads while working on limited bandwidth — rectifying potential process bottlenecks when working with complex or time-sensitive files. 

Enhanced Data Security

Energy companies need to ensure that any sensitive data and technical content managed by off-shore or remote workers is proactively and automatically secured, without hindering collaboration. Web-based document viewers can accurately render content without transmitting the original file to the user, and include built-in security features such as automated redaction. This helps to remove many of the security risks associated with users downloading sensitive files, while allowing for greater visibility and traceability.

A Future Fueled by Streaming

The energy industry is under increasing pressure to maximize the value of information in order to meet evolving requirements and increased global demands, which means effective collaboration is more critical than ever. In order to successfully streamline operations and enable seamless collaboration globally, organizations must be willing to adopt and build the digital infrastructure necessary to disrupt the status quo.

High-speed document viewing technology offers energy organizations a flexible solution that integrates with existing business systems and applications, enhancing collaboration on large, complex file types without replacing or overriding the tools your workers already know and use. By using web-based streaming technology to display even the most complex CAD or DWG files as images—on demand and in real-time—onsite workers will be given a major leg up in carrying out daily operations. 

Investing in the necessary technological innovations today could lead to a total transformation of how work is accomplished, how teams collaborate, and how strategies are aligned to meet the evolving needs of the energy sector in the years to come.

Post by ARender
June 9, 2022

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