How To Re-invent The Digital Oil And Gas Enterprise Workplace

Ken Landgren

As the digital economy continues to grow, the oil and gas workforce is changing. With that change comes the need to reinvent the oil and gas workplace.

How do you incorporate total workforce management in the digital economy? How do you protect your business against another downturn?

There have been many changes with the introduction of the Internet of Things (IoT), and a digital energy network is just the beginning. What resources are needed to support an adaptive workforce during the transformation? How does it change what your employees do, how they learn and interact, and how the industry will grow? Does it change the way we enable workers to work safely in difficult environments? With an aging workforce, how do we attract the next generation of workers? How do we keep things moving with contingent labor and constant change?

Here’s a look at how we can reinvent the workplace in the oil and gas industry.

Reimagine the workplace

The new business models and processes emerging from the digital economy mean your workplace will need new tools and skills for the adaptive workforce. Digital business automation will streamline processes by reducing work that is manual or transactional. Exceptions that still require manual work can be streamlined through digitalization. This will make work both more productive and more meaningful. Assets, both human and machine, will be connected through the IoT. Humans will oversee dozens, then hundreds, of connected devices. Humans themselves will be equipped with sensors that help to monitor their work environment and their physical safety, in real time.

This will provide decision makers with access to real-time, on-demand data through the cloud. Rule-based decision making allows computers to take over even more tasks. This in turn will drive better decision quality, profits, and production. Smart systems with predictive and self-learning capabilities will improve machine-to-machine collaboration. This process will need workers with improved skill sets to manage these systems. Text and audio information will be on hand for a better user experience with interactive and touch-free technology, allowing machines and people to operate safely and effectively in hazardous environments.

This means a change in workers’ roles. Their value will grow as their skills increase. The oil and gas industry is also dealing with an aging workforce, with 71% of oil and gas workers age 50 or older. Because of the easy access to information, energy companies will need to focus on effective, adaptive digital communications to share the knowledge of the experienced workforce. This will need to happen both within and outside of the company. Flexibility in relationships and operations are essential to a re-imagined business. This also applies to the value specialist building and running it.

Reimagine workforce engagement

Though the oil and gas industry has usually been technical, there are serious changes to come. As the workplace changes, so does workforce engagement. The digital economy is making our world smarter. Issues such as increased business complexity are overwhelming to the existing workforce. Less than 12% of CFOs can respond to real-time information requests due to IT complexity, and complexity kills workforce engagement. We need to re-imagine workforce engagement to compensate.

The oil and gas industry requires high levels of safety and compliance. This need can create complexity while increasing overhead and reducing efficiency and profitability. Though companies can do business internationally, they must follow complicated regulations for each different countries. By creating standard, localized processes, you can reduce complexity. But currently, only 34% of executives think they’re building a workforce that is able to meet upcoming business needs.

At the same time, our workforce is changing. Millennials will comprise more than half the energy workforce by 2020. That’s why 30% of executives are paying attention to the wants and needs of millennials. To attract the best talent, oil and gas companies need a comprehensive workforce strategy. Freelancers and contract workers are becoming more common, with a 41% increase in the past five years. This allows companies to match workers to work with lower costs. Because of safety and regulatory issues, we can outsource the work, but not the responsibility. Contingent workers need to be digitally integrated into business processes.

The oil and gas workplace and upcoming workforce are becoming increasingly complex. This creates new problems that must be addressed and new solutions that must be developed. One solution that many oil and gas companies are turning to is digitization. By creating a seamless system for all aspects of your company’s workplace, you can automate and streamline much of the work that needs to be done without adding much complexity. Digitization allows you to automate rule-based decision making. This means you can reduce mundane work tasks and focus on value adding work performed by workers who are more skilled. At the same time, you’re improving safety and productivity, which improves profitability.

To learn more on the value of digital transformation for the oil and gas industry, visit here.


Ken Landgren

About Ken Landgren

Ken Landgren is a director of Upstream Solutions for SAP. He retired from Schlumberger after 31 years, and joined SAP in 2010. He has over 35 years of experience in upstream oil and gas. He developed an E&P information management consulting methodology that is still in use today. He has broad experience in defining and implementing data management systems including both G&G and production. His expertise includes real-time drilling, real time production operations, G&G interpretation, VSP processing and interpretation, well service, and workover. He has published numerous papers including several on the topic of the digital oilfield.