Using Data Management to Drive Business Objectives

At the 19th International Conference on Petroleum Data Integration, Information and Data Management, there was a striking common theme regarding the need to achieve strategic business objectives from data management initiatives.  Many presenters touched on this topic, if not focused their entire presentation around it, including Noah Consulting, EP Energy, ConocoPhillips and CLTech Consulting.

Strategic Data ManagementMatt Tatro of Noah Consulting presented on the idea of applying Lean manufacturing principles to oil and gas data management.  In Lean, one is always considering how to continuously improve and along with that you must have a definition of success.  He made a key point that “everything revolves around the improvements and the resulting impact on the balance sheet.”  Entrance strongly believes in this concept and in our client projects we employ Agile scrum methodology to facilitate continuous improvement.

As other presenters would go on to note later in the conference, management buy-in is key to data management project success.  The best way to ensure to success is to have quantifiable metrics which demonstrate real financial benefits to the organization.  Especially in light of the recent industry downturn, the focus on bottom line results should give the back office all the more reason to ensure that projects are aligned with the strategic objectives of the business.  In the Envision phase of projects, Entrance always works with clients to identify the business value that is ultimately to be achieved at project completion.

EP Energy presented on how they transformed their IT operation to improve results by turning their focus from technology objectives to business objectives.  ConocoPhillips discussed their strategic approach to prioritizing subsurface data workflows with an end goal of accelerating delivery of value to the business.  Entrance sees many firms in the upstream space embracing the idea of IT alignment with strategic business objectives and we structure our projects to do the same.

Jess Kozman of CLTech addressed the issue head-on in his presentation entitled “Rebranding Data Management for Executive Relevance.”  He calls out three particular challenges around the low visibility of data management in most organizations but most significantly in my opinion is the perception of data management (and frequently IT in general) as a cost center and not a value-add to the organization.  At Entrance we pride ourselves on delivering real business value to our clients, not just a technical solution – this is the most exciting part of what we do to drive efficiency in our clients’ businesses.

In conclusion, ensure that your data management initiatives are value-creating projects.  Quantify the expected results up-front and validate them at the end.  Use Lean or Agile principles to enable you to make changes on-the-fly to keep projects well-aligned with strategic business objectives.