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Digitalizing Energy: A Cure-All Salve or Expensive Placebo?

Digitalizing Energy: A Cure-All Salve or Expensive Placebo?
Digitalisation is here to save the day. Cut your costs, improve your efficiency, rescue your industry, and salve all wounds. The digital transformation balm instantly heals and soothes. Simply apply liberally and rub in.

Well, maybe not.

There is no doubt that vendors of digital transformation have promised near miracles. Many CEOs have in turn publicly pledged big results. For example, "$2.5bn in cost savings by the end of 2021 through digitalisation and integration of the business" is a bold statement for Energy giant bp to make.

In my last blog I touched on superficial change, and how many Energy companies become entranced by shiny new dashboards, screens, and AI pilots (well, ML in practice, but AI sounds better). The reality is that the value, and unfortunately hard work, lies beneath the surface.

For me this is especially true when it comes to digitalisation. To be clear, when we talk about digitalisation we are really talking about the conversion of information into a digital format – into data.

In most respects, the Energy industry is one of the founding industries when it comes to digitalisation. From the Schlumberger brothers recording the first-ever electrical resistivity well log in Merkwiller-Pechelbronn, France in 1927, through to gathering the first computer-ready data in the field in 1952 – this is an industry that has always pushed the limits in terms of gathering and interpreting data.

There’s certainly more data today, and even different types of data, but I would argue this increased scope and scale is actually not truly revolutionary. The same challenges exist below the surface in how you manage your data: the real-time data feeds, connections between datasets, integration, metadata, and the governance and ownership that goes along with it. In short, how you handle integration, simplification and speed in order to derive business value.

During the ‘Big Data’ hype of the last decade, large operators were trying to emulate the eBays and Apples of the world. Rather than big data, it turns out, what these companies really had was a ‘lots of data’ problem.
Unlike the big data leaders they were trying to emulate, oil and gas companies back then did not truly integrate, analyse or curate their data in a professional way. They often equated big data to big storage. They were just piling up lots of data, but not actually doing anything particularly useful with it.

No operator ever made, or ever will make, a single cent or penny from purely storing data – they need to do something with it! To put it another way, there needs to be clear business drivers and outcomes that focus on putting the customer at the heart of the business, and more importantly the data management approach to enable results.

Speed matters

It has become increasingly evident that speed and innovation are the most critical factors when it comes digitalisation and change, particularly within the Energy sector. I say within Energy in particular because of the sheer size of the operations we are talking about. It requires an unprecedented commitment to change, with a more adaptive IT department that can respond swiftly to the business.

I see lots of tremendous initiatives; building cloud-based data environments, corporate data repositories and even an open data universe, but many are still struggling to deliver significant cost savings, efficiencies and operational change. These infrastructures are not yet supporting business needs.

The business needs results now, not in 12, 18 or 24 months. They need to be able to integrate, curate and analyse data today, and build the insight on top of timely, high-quality, and connected data.

This is where Teradata excels. We are at the heart of many digital transformations, and the remedy that delivers savings.

Working within the larger cloud initiative and partnering with the enterprise cloud providers such as Microsoft, AWS and Google, Teradata delivers business value faster and ensures the data management foundation supports both the business and IT.

Think of Teradata as a specialist foundations construction company. We ensure your digital building stands the test of time while meeting building regulations, environmental goals and the day-to-day work requirements of every employee. We do that by providing the correct underpinning to keep existing systems running, plus piling, ground anchoring, diaphragm walls and tie-back anchor systems to not only support the current design, but any future extension you can imagine. You won’t often see the foundations, as they’re only a small part of the overall building; hidden below the surface. But these foundations are vital – enabling the architectural delight that is your business, while ensuring it doesn’t fall down!

In my next blog I’m going to start talking specifics, with details of areas in which Teradata supports real, positive change and accelerates time-to-results in the Energy sector, starting with supply chain. In the meantime, please get in touch with me to learn more immediately.
Portrait of Niall O'Doherty

Niall O'Doherty

Niall O'Doherty leads a team of business and industry focused consultants that are helping leading global companies to do more with their data and drive value through analytics.  Niall has responsibility for entering and growing new industry, markets and customers for Teradata, in industries as diverse as Energy,  Oil & Gas, Automotive, High Tech, CPG and Industrial Manufacturing. He is very focused on the value of detailed and complex data and especially the proliferation of the “Internet of Things”, Digitalisation and the associated analytics that are required. Before joining Teradata in early 2002 Niall worked for BearingPoint (KPMG Consulting), Johnson & Johnson and E&J Gallo Winery.
Niall holds a B.E.and an M.Sc.(Eng) from University College Dublin.
He is married with two young children and is a fully signed up supporter of Leinster Rugby.
  View all posts by Niall O'Doherty

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