Now more than ever is the time to focus on high-quality, efficient processes that connect and integrate data points across the enterprise.

Access to critical data is crucial for those in the field and working remotely.
Access to critical data is crucial for those in the field and working remotely.

We are all faced with a terrible reality—some of us are just a little bit luckier for now than others. If there is one thing that has become critically visible for any organization, it is that accurate and trustworthy information is key to sustain and survive.

The energy sector was hit extra hard, and as one could say, even more unfairly than others. Unprecedented dwindling energy demands and energy war that puts the oil price to a never thought possible territory, a healthcare crisis, and in the middle of this a challenge to retain hard-fought for institutional knowledge because a generation is in the process of retiring.

With pretty pictures from clear canals in Venice highlighting how good we are at polluting our blue marble, it puts an extra spotlight on the already pressured reputation of the energy sector. Finding well-educated talent is becoming harder as people make more conscious decisions in working for companies that truly follow the 3P principles for People, Planet, and Profit.

So how does all of this relate to your data? Just take the following example, the once so easy task of processing documentation to ensure your P&ID’s comply with LDAR (Leak Detection and Repair) is now incredibly difficult. Staff members are remote with poor access, it is difficult to verify information, or worse staff is battling this horrible pandemic. This crisis has put a major spotlight on old ways of doing business and the cost and risk associated with this. There is no new normal yet – nobody fully understands what our future looks like. Still, one thing is sure; you cannot make any decision if the underlying data is not correct, and achieving that level of confidence has just become a lot harder.

So why this focus on data? After the great recession that started in 2008, a lot of research has been done for how companies came out of this. One article, as published in the Harvard business review [1], describes how organizations deploy different strategies for resource allocation. Based on the research across 4,700 companies, four different strategies were identified of how companies weathered the storm across six different elements being; Employee count, COGS, R&D expenditures, general cost (admin, sales, etc.) CAPEX and company stock levels. The four different strategies are identified below:

Prevention-focused companies focused on cutting costs more relative to their peers on one or more of the items and no increase in expenditures more than the competition.

Promotion-focused companies, Increased expenditures on at least one of the items and don’t cut more cost than their peers

Pragmatic companies Adopt both prevention and pragmatic focus by reducing COGS or employees but promote R&D, CAPEX, more than their peers.

Progressive companies, Reduce COGS, don’t cut employees cost more than their peers but also invested more than their peers in R&D, CAPEX, and other market-related items that improve their position.

Based on the data, it turned out that progressive companies with a well-balanced approach to reduce cost but invest in specifically operational efficiencies proved to have the greatest chance of steaming away from the competition in the years post the event and outperform their peers by at least 10% year over year. When focused on a holistic optimization effort, costs will remain low, keeping efficiencies in place, while retaining a motivated workforce is what proved to be an excellent combination to outperform the competition.

Many parallels are true for our current situation. Now is the time more than ever to focus on high-quality, efficient processes that connect and integrate data points across the enterprise. Too often we are in conversations with customers that struggle to maintain and govern their master data in a consistent manner, take the sample for a piece of equipment used in a production facility. The data describing this is stored in at least half a dozen systems. All these systems are equally important for specific reasons, but the data is often not aligned. These systems are owned by different departments.

With limited availability to critical resources, working from remote environments, its easy to see how this disconnected data hampers decisive decisions. With current technology, these systems can be connected and govern data across system boundaries, reducing precious time whilst improving the accuracy of the decision.

It is often said that data is the new oil, however just like crude oil, that data needs to be refined for it to be of real value, just like building a refinery—data needs to be processed end to end to achieve maximum efficiencies. Looking at individual data points only uncovers part of the puzzle.

edwin elmendorp kinsmen group
Edwin Elmendorp

Edwin Elmendorp – leading Information Architect with Kinsmen Group. ​Edwin has over 15 years of experience in the world of Engineering Data Management. He started working with Microsoft SharePoint early in 2003 and has implemented and designed solutions for small and Enterprise customers worldwide.

[1] Gulati, Ranjay, Nitin Nohria, and Franz Wohlgezogen. “Roaring out of recession.” Harvard Business Review 88, no. 3 (2010): 62-69.