The global demand for energy is growing rapidly. The need for mining, oil and gas, and utility companies to generate new resources while managing an aging infrastructure is widespread. Oil and gas firms must handle a growing number of documents on a daily basis, including project plans, personnel records, invoices, compliance documentation, leasing agreements, inspection records, and much more. Not to mention, as one of the world’s most highly-regulated sectors, these organizations require immaculate business operations that comply with evolving requirements.
The industry is under increasing pressure to maximize the value of information, which requires effectively managing enterprise content of all forms across global sites and disparate agencies. Conversely, poor information management can seriously impact business success for energy and oil companies. According to the ARC Advisory Group, poor information management can cut annual revenue for energy organizations by up to 1.5 percent.
One way to inherently improve overall information management is to facilitate information access across all teams and departments globally. This blog looks at the various information management barriers in the energy sector and how standardizing access — creating a single view over all information — can improve daily operations.
Too Many Systems, Too Little Time
According to the same study by ARC Advisory Group, performance management professionals in oil and gas companies surveyed claimed to spend up to 75 percent of the workday manually collecting data from disparate and segregated systems and applications. This is primarily due to oil refineries and processing plants running a number of different software solutions for everyday operations — most of which are disconnected and poorly integrated. Creating and maintaining integrations between systems becomes increasingly challenging as additional systems are compounded to respond to new industry regulations or accommodate new and growing amounts of content or as these organizations scale.
Many of the disparate systems controlling processes, measuring fluids, and performing other key functions were never designed to communicate, leaving teams scrambling to keep them working effectively and resulting in greater chances for human error. Keeping energy plants or facilities productive, efficient, and secure calls for tight control over processes, which necessitates ongoing, easy access to information from anywhere.
Remote Agencies, Global Demands
Unlike most industries, the Energy sector has always had a remote and distributed business model with operations and assets spread over wide geographical areas. Oil and gas companies are commonly part of multi-site, global enterprises, many of which even have off-shore platforms to account for. Not only does this naturally lead to information silos, with assets geographically dispersed, but a reliable connection to all remote assets is critical. From permits and invoices to large-sized PDFs and CAD files for project blueprints to compliance documentation, leasing agreements, inspection records, and more, onsite workers need the ability to collaborate effectively on complex, rich file formats.
Accessing the highly detailed PDFs or CAD files necessary for energy workers to do their job can be complex enough when using high-powered hardware and an ultra-fast network. When operating with potentially limited equipment and restricted bandwidth on remote or off-shore sites, more frequently, the result is process bottlenecks and climbing IT costs.
Oil and gas companies face the challenge of providing centralized, real-time access to projects from any device, so onsite workers can view, annotate and edit documents onsite as needed without relying on high-powered servers, hardware, or other external dependencies.
The energy industry is an increasingly common target for cyber-attackers, and organizations deal with a huge amount of sensitive data that needs to be proactively secured. Even a relatively small and remote operation might handle several confidential company documents, such as plant maps, production forecasts, survey data, and personally identifiable information (PII) about their contractors and employees.
On top of this, oil and gas remains one of the most highly-regulated industries, and organizations must continuously meet evolving compliance demands while dealing with the aforementioned information challenges. Mitigating security protocols such as Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) demands complete control over regulatory compliance. In addition to accurate regulatory submissions and reporting, HSE has to be embedded in day-to-day operating procedures, which means workers must be equipped with access to the most up-to-date information for business operations and maintenance.
The Solution: Standardized Access
Energy companies must enable fast, centralized access to enterprise information – including rich, complex PDFs and CAD files – to all sites and workers spread globally. While this may sound like an impossible feat, modern streaming technology can allow for a standardized view over enterprise content, ultimately streamlining all operational aspects of the business.
Web-based document viewer technology lets onsite workers effectively collaborate on documents in real time from any device, anywhere in the world. By streaming content from any system, in any format, users don’t need to rely on minimal bandwidth or computer access.
With advanced content streaming technology, workers using a web-based document viewer can access any information they need in milliseconds, significantly reducing expensive bandwidth consumption and eliminating lengthy data downloads. This can prove invaluable if the document in question is a large, complex file such as a technical drawing or a high-resolution map that could take extensive time to download and upload again.
Fueling High-Speed Information Flow with Modern Technology
Keeping oil refineries and processing plants or energy facilities productive, efficient, and secure calls for tight control over processes, which requires tight control over and easy access to information. Due to the sheer size and complexity of these systems — drilling, refining, transportation, among others — these companies are inevitably working with multiple systems and complex, rich file formats.
High-speed content viewing technology offers a flexible solution for oil and gas workers to view and access a wide variety of document types, including CAD files and associated documents such as office documents, PDFs, emails, etc., from any device — without the need for additional licenses — all while embedding the necessary security features to maintain ongoing regulatory compliance.
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