Embracing Big Data And Multi-Function Analytics To Better Manage Complexity

Guest post by Mark Ferman, Sr. Oil & Gas Analytics Advisor

How Oil And Gas Firms Can Best Leverage Technology To Enhance Business Agility

Oil and Gas companies operate within one of the most demanding business environments on the planet with an array of complex challenges that regularly test their ability to innovate, plan, and execute strategic objectives. 

With a wide range of unique risk factors impacting the sector, including political and geographical complexities, continual price volatility, issues around supply and demand, intricate cost of business estimates, and capacity management forecasting, there are a multitude of rapidly evolving factors that significantly influence business outcomes. 

Compounding these issues for businesses in the space are complex regulatory requirements that may differ across federal, state, and local agencies, health and safety requirements for a diverse workforce distributed around the globe, growing environmental risks, and service partnerships with third party suppliers.

While no two O&G companies operate in exactly the same way, the common denominator in meeting such a formidably diverse array of challenges and ensuring continued operational efficiency is a strong push toward digital solutions that work across various lines of business. 

In order to more effectively manage complexity, firms must be able to handle, analyze, and share vast amounts of data across a variety of interconnected parts of the business quickly and easily. Doing so allows them to function more effectively, responding to changing conditions in an agile manner. 

Increasingly, businesses in the space are relying on tools like AI, predictive analytics, cloud technology, and automated workflows to collect and interpret complex series data and improve critical decision making. 

This data comes from a wide range of places including assets, machines, people, and teams in the field as well as from 3rd party partners and analysts. This makes it imperative that C-suite decision-makers and management get clear, actionable insights in real-time in order to respond to complex business issues. 

The value of true digital transformation in tackling complexity issues is considerable and puts firms that have the right digital architecture in place at a distinct advantage, supporting business operation in a more flexible, agile way. These firms can:

  • Better manage and evaluate shifting risks while forecasting and modeling potential impacts 
  • Improve innovation processes to deliver faster solutions at scale
  • Enhance production yields and better control costs 
  • Optimize the performance of employees and assets in the field 
  • Improve the visibility of critical insights across the business to drive better decision making   

So, how can companies within the sector best leverage technology to tackle the complexities they face while also future-proofing processes around how data is shared, stored, and analyzed?  

In this blog, we’ll look at how well the sector is set up to handle the complexity of operations and identify key areas where technology can help bridge the gap between current performance and greater operational efficiency. 

We’ll also look at which issues compound complexity at an operational level and the solutions firms can leverage to significantly improve overall business agility.     

Why Managing Complexity Is Critical To Success Within The Current Oil And Gas Landscape 

The scale of data collected within the O&G sector means that managing, analyzing, and understanding how best to leverage it is key to strategic planning at every touchpoint of the business.

The start of 2020 has shown just how rapidly conditions and forecasts can change for the industry with a number of global events depressing sentiment, impacting supply and demand, and downgrading growth estimates.  

Events over the past few months have shown how critical business agility is within the space with firms relying on projections, predictive modeling, and multi-function analytics to better understand how to respond to fast-moving events. 

The complexity of the current climate may be relatively extreme, even within an O&G context, but it provides a good example of the knock-on effects events can have on every part of business operations. 

As an illustration of why the ability to manage complexity is so important, especially in times of volatility, it is worth broadly mapping the vast array of data points and processes which currently inform decision making and strategic planning across the sector. Common data input points include:

  • Geosciences – geological subsurface models, risk assessments, target formations, Petrophysical analysis
  • Land – Property ownership research, lease maintenance, audit and reporting processes
  • Drilling – Well designs, drilling plans, drill bit analysis, drilling rig mobilization logistics
  • Reservoir Engineering – SOX reporting, well production targets, simulation studies, reservoir recovery monitoring
  • Completions – Well stimulation design, well perforations, wellbore cleanups, multi-lateral design, well logs
  • Operations – Well operation and maintenance, well performance and targets, health and safety feedback, tank preparation
  • Marketing – Sales contracting, gas swaps and trades, future sales forecasting, company projections, network monitoring for retailers and resellers

Clearly, the volume and scale of complex data across lines of business within the sector, as well as specific interrelated dependencies, means that effectively managing information and analyzing data is critical to sustained success. Adding to this complexity is that much of this data is provided from service-providers and other third-party entities

In order to do so, firms must have the capacity to utilize data lakes which can promote a more holistic approach to analysis and greater insight sharing. 

Breaking down information silos and increasing collaboration between different parts of the business also increases visibility and improves overall business agility. 

How The Right Technology Can Help Manage Big Data And Related Complexity More Efficiently 

At Cloudera, we specialize in supporting complex businesses, like those in the Oil and Gas space, that process large volumes of data, whether that is in the tens, or hundreds of petabytes per day. 

Our advanced Cloudera Data Platform runs seamlessly with Microsoft’s Azure to provide hybrid and multi-cloud capabilities for improved business flexibility and greater agility. 

Cloudera on Azure allows O&G firms to leverage high-performance SQL analytics on big data from every touchpoint across the business from assets in the field to deep-dive risk assessments, drill bit analysis to well operation, and maintenance. We help bring it all together to provide decision-makers with high value, actionable intelligence.

With Microsoft Azure integration companies running Cloudera can expand data processing between Cloudera Enterprise Data Hub 5.12 and Azure Data Lake Store too. This means businesses can run Spark, Hive, HBase, Impala, and MapReduce workloads in a Cloudera cluster on Azure Data Lake Store (ADLS).

Businesses can better manage complexity with increased visibility and data discovery across even siloed systems. The flexibility of the Cloudera Platform also supports the building of predictive models from historical operational data which can be applied to real-time data to help inform more nuanced future decisions.

See how we can work with your firm to help bring the power of intelligent digital architecture to bear in solving complexity issues across all touchpoints of your business.

Click here for more information about CDP on Microsoft Azure.

Mark Ferman
Sr. Oil & Gas Analytics Advisor
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