image of a chemical plant

Even though the sustainability agenda, pricing challenges and events like the Deepwater Horizon spill have placed the oil industry under increasing pressure, the world still relies heavily on petroleum-based products. Analysts are predicting continued growth in this important sector that is estimated to support 10 million US jobs.

The pressure to maintain compliance and achieve cost savings while reaching growth targets is leading to revolutions in end-to-end processes in this demanding environment. Seamless integration of business systems, including sales and purchasing processes, will be one of the keys to maintaining performance in these volatile times.

Collaboration

To remain competitive many companies in the Oil and Gas industry are developing partnerships and collaborations to make the most of emerging opportunities in supply chain integration, logistics, trading and payments. In this fast-changing environment, companies are embarking on a digital transformation journey.

A robust ecommerce platform that supports a procure-to-pay approach and which works seamlessly with other internal and external business systems is critical. A platform built specifically for B2B ecommerce like Cloudfy can be configured to help companies meet industry-specific regulations such as environmental guidelines, operational reporting, and supplier qualification.

With a distributed workforce, time-critical and highly cost-sensitive requirements, reliable and easy user interfaces are essential. Your ecommerce platform will also need to accommodate widely-used standards for data exchange, such as the Petroleum Industry Data Exchange (PIDX).

Data dynamics

Procurement in the oil & gas sector is complex and doesn’t easily fit in to the ‘Amazon-like’ buying experience that many B2B customers are looking for. Heavy investment in exploration, equipment and resources mean that change is slower than in some other sectors, but cost and efficiency are as important here as anywhere else.

Converting data into business intelligence (BI) is driving innovation. Analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) applications are starting to be used to transform performance in the sector. To date, however, back-office operations like procurement haven’t kept pace with the digitisation that is transforming other parts of the industry.

Time is still wasted manually searching for and buying parts and supplies. Email orders and pdf quotes can’t deliver an accurate, real-time business-wide view of overall cost and performance.

Human error and a lack of transparency for business operations, spending and the performance parts and machinery are all having an impact on efficiency. This can lead to a gap in understanding between the executives and professionals, limiting capacity to improve performance based on accurate real-time information. Having a single source of information across your business systems is becoming essential.

Technology trends

Four key technology trends will influence oil & gas company strategies in the future.

  1. Business in the Cloud – Cloud-based solutions are now used for drilling, land and production systems, allowing infrastructure management, data sharing and security management. The next step is to extend this approach through integration with major business systems to provide a real-time view of whole business, giving more control and personalised self-service options.
  2. Optimising asset management – risk and reliability are key considerations, so understanding the key performance indicators (KPIs) in real time from sub-surface visualisation to optimising the purchase, delivery and use of field assets is essential. Augmented and virtual reality is already used in ecommerce and can seamlessly integrate with wider applications to deliver new ways of working.
  3. The Internet of Things (IoT) – interoperability and data interface protocols make automated ordering or replacement parts and products part of the business workflow. By providing an ecommerce solution that can easily interface with plant and production processes, it is possible to create rules that automatically keep everything running smoothly. Device connectivity, data processing and application workloads will help to optimise two-way transactions with other business and operational systems.
  4. Learning from the past, planning for the future – AI systems mean that previously unmanageable volumes of historical information can be used to create new working models. Self-diagnosing systems can automate maintenance programmes, scheduling inspections and ordering parts without human involvement. Costs can be predicted and managed and performance can be optimised.

Find out how your business can be ahead of the industry curve. Talk to one of our experts today.


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