Kerry-Grimes, Global-Head of Partners, AVEVA

Accelerating growth in the energy sector via digital transformation

Kerry Grimes, Head of Partners, AVEVA explores how digital transformation is modernising the energy sector.

There is a renewed growth in energy organisations globally. This is being driven by data to better inform current decisions in the here and now, digital innovation through the use of predictive analytics to better anticipate the future, digitization and automation to deliver speed and cost efficiencies. According to analyst research, organisations that have pivoted to digital successfully, are already seeing an up to 10 percent improvement in expanded production and up to 30 percent savings in cost.

PwC’s “2020 Digital Operations study for energy: Oil and gas” report found that the main barriers to the implementation of changes provided by digitalisation are due to limited knowledge sharing (77%), insufficient digital training (74%) and a lack of digital talent (72%). Regarding the lack of digital talent, 2019 data from oil and gas companies, collected by KPMG, found that chief information officers (CIOs) feel there are skills shortages in business analysis (47%), big data/analytics (41%), artificial intelligence (37%), cybersecurity (35%) and enterprise architecture (33%).

Industrial technology is key to realising a more resource-efficient value chain and will support circularity as well as enable the transition to renewables and low-carbon energy. Digital tools, powered by human insight, can leverage integrated data and analytics to make efficient, intelligent operations a reality, and AVEVA is working with leading EPCs and owner-operators to do so.

According to IDC, a new era of efficiency and profitability is upon the oil and gas industry. The Internet of Things (IoT) is improving business productivity and reducing cost, which is a game changer as it creates new competitive advantage. IDC predicts that investments in IoT will rise though partnership with technology companies that have proven solutions to deliver improved efficiency and profitability while combating risk and security threats. The critical success factors are now to deliver value to the business and increase return on investments.

As digital technologies transform the energy sector, channel partners need to be ready to play the role of innovative solution providers and strategic advisors for their customers. However, in the beginning, platforms and solutions involved in digitalisation will not be interoperable. Channel partners have an opportunity to map the expectations of the plant managers, CIOs, CDOs, and CFOs who have traditionally not had visibility to this level of detail within their operations.

Such proactive discussions by channel partners with their customers can build better long-term engagement, deep and strategic relationships, benefitting the bottom line, and medium and long term cash flow of their customers. Channel partners, therefore, need to skill themselves and build solutions for the following pain points of their customers:

  • Enabling remote work: Engineering subject matter experts need to be enabled to work remotely and must have data visualisation tools to monitor plant operations virtually.
  • Early warning systems: Predictive analytics as an integral part of the automated asset performance management strategy will be critical to avoiding unplanned downtime.
  • Younger workforce: A new generation of digital-native workers will have a shorter attention span, shorter base line of experience, and expect a highly interactive user experience through inbuilt industry best practices using AI and ML.
  • Production efficiency: As supply chain interruptions create havoc, digitally integrating demand planning with plant floor operations can help build agility.

As markets continue to evolve, the pace of change will also accelerate, and the possible gains are increasing. Combining information and artificial intelligence with human insight is crucial to optimizing engineering and operations in order to drive performance intelligence and support the energy transition.

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