This year’s Minds + Machines in San Francisco demonstrated momentum in connecting field services for beneficial business outcomes. Industrial IoT, and innovations in connected field services (CFS) in oil and gas, were among the highlights. Powerful CFS platforms with embedded analytics are enabling oil and gas companies to address complex field service challenges. First movers are realizing new business outcomes in speed, efficiency, customer satisfaction, and profitability.

A few of the ways companies can transform and benefit include:

Begin the digital journey now: Many upstream oil and gas companies are making great strides in turning their field services organizations into digital machines. Industry drivers include mounting price pressures, aging infrastructures, and a complex market where speed, precision, and efficiency are must-haves to avoid disruption. With the right approach, companies can achieve better operational performance, greater efficiencies and production uptime, revenue gains, and better health, safety and regulatory compliance.

Drive near-term benefits in context of your future goals: Consider solutions that enable immediate returns, while also serving as a foundation for continuous innovation and increasingly powerful outcomes. Capabilities in areas like planning and scheduling can provide immediate efficiency gains. Plot your journey with a digital roadmap, while looking to capitalize on low hanging fruit like tracking assets such as drill pipes to prevent losses, or capturing data electronically for consolidated billing and better safety and regulatory compliance.

Complement existing solutions: Like any asset intensive industry, the goal in oil and gas is zero unplanned downtime. Managing assets, modeling their behavior, and taking action before they fail is achievable today with enterprise asset management (EAM), asset performance management (APM), and advanced CFS platforms. Too often, companies don’t fully leverage their existing systems, which in turn become expensive inventory management solutions.  The right solutions connect APM and CFS platforms and integrate into current asset management (and other) systems to provide a holistic and seamlessly integrated platform.

Automate knowledge capture and management: As many oil and gas experts are retiring, consider skills to blend workflows and drive greater productivity. Next-generation mobile devices and apps should be part of your CFS solution, as those capabilities are increasingly becoming table stakes. Additionally, blending augmented reality and standard operating procedures inside of advanced mobile apps can build in knowledge capture and foster collaboration. This can empower companies to rapidly get the right teams with the right knowledge and parts to the right place at the right time.

Identify best-fit partners: As you consider your digital options, the right partnerships can make or break success. Look for partners with scale and a breadth of capabilities to avoid an expensive piecemeal approach. Companies that take ad hoc approaches often end up scrapping their investments and starting over. Look for solutions that are developed specifically for the asset-intensive needs of the oil and gas sector. Solutions need to encompass more than technology alone — and seamlessly integrate people, process, and technology.

GE Oil and Gas, for instance, faced limited visibility into its offshore field servicing operations and sought to improve utilization and uptime of its equipment. To achieve this, the company needed innovative ways to deploy and utilize 575 field servicing staff who were handcuffed to legacy systems resulting in slow service forecasting. The company deployed a mobile, offline-enabled solution that allowed access to service information while offshore. Results included real-time accounting for time and materials, faster invoicing, as well as customizable reporting for quick forecasting. The company experienced a 51 percent reduction in forecasting time.

We discussed these and other examples with ServiceMax from GE digital during a M+M panel Transforming Oil and Gas through Connected Field Services.”  Meanwhile, check out how PwC and ServiceMax are helping oil and gas clients transform their field services organizations here.

ABOUT Keith Rider

Avatar photoWith more than 16 years of consulting experience within the oil and gas industry, Keith is a Director within PwC’s Energy Operation Technology practice. He has extensive experience in helping Integrated Oil Companies (IOCs), National Oil Companies (NOCs), Independents, and Oil Field Services (OFS) companies with over-arching digital strategy and transformation. As a digital solutions architect, Keith has extensive experience in areas including real-time field architectures, data flow management from sensors to downstream business applications, and oilfield servicing. His client work encompasses all aspects of digital transformation. Whether it’s helping design a real-time platform, create a long-term digital roadmap, or fostering innovation through emerging field technologies and modern data architectures—Keith consistently helps his clients drive better business outcomes.