Attention Oil and Gas IT Professionals: Looking to Put an End to Your Reporting Stress? Here’s How.06/08/2017
Self-service business intelligence takes the reporting onus off IT teams and empowers individual business users
You’re an IT professional at an upstream oil and gas company.
You’re sitting at your desk working on an important data-security project for your boss’s boss.
Then, dinggg. It’s an email from one of your drilling engineers. You open it. Yep, just as you suspected – a request to create another Lease Operating Expense report. You just spent a good chunk of your day yesterday working on an Authorization for Expenditure variance report for one of your operations managers. Now this. “Great,” you think. “Here we go again.”
You drop what you were doing and go to work. You dive into one data source and pull some information. You head on over to another data source and grab some more information. An hour or so later, the report is done. You put everything into an email and fire it off to the drilling engineer.
“Now I can get back to doing what I was hired to do.”
Twenty minutes go by.
Dinggg – another email.
It’s the drilling engineer: “Hey. Sorry, I know you worked hard on this report, but I think we also need to add…”
Again, you drop what you were doing. You look at the report, make several changes, and resend it to the drilling engineer.
Ten minutes pass.
Dinggg – another message from the drilling engineer.
“Hey, it’s me again. This new version isn’t…”
You put your forehead in your palms. “This is going to be a long day.”
This Isn’t An IT Problem … It’s A Business Process Problem
My team has spoken with hundreds of our customers over the past several years and stories like the one above aren’t uncommon.
IT professionals say too many of their work hours are devoted to creating reports for their colleagues, and the people who rely on those reports to make important business decisions feel like the IT department bottlenecks the process.
But don’t go blaming the good folks in IT for not creating reports fast enough or sending them in the wrong format. This isn’t an IT problem … it’s a business process problem.
Over the past 20 years or so, business intelligence solutions have progressed – but very slowly. As a result, the level of technical knowledge needed to create accurate and actionable reports has remained high. How have company managers responded? Yep, you guessed it – by having IT teams handle all the reporting duties.
My colleagues and I recommend a different approach.
Our Recommendation: Use Self-Service Business Intelligence
First and foremost, a self-service approach takes the reporting onus off IT teams. Individual users across the organization can perform data discovery, create reports and dashboards, and uncover actionable insights – all on their own. This kind of approach dramatically reduces the all-important “time to insight” metric – the amount of time it takes to reach an insight after a piece of data is first recorded in a system – and allows IT teams to focus on what they were hired to do.
OK, I know what you’re thinking: “As an IT professional who’s responsible for ensuring the integrity of our data, how would I govern a self-service environment? How would I ensure that my employees are using the right data when they’re creating their reports?”
And here’s what my team and I would say: Have rules in place that specify who can access what and make those rules consistent across the organization. That way, when one of your drilling engineers and one of your accountants, for example, search for the LOE data associated with a specific well, they see the exact same information. Because here’s the thing, if a common data layer isn’t in place and users need an answer right away, they’re probably not going to wait for their friends in IT; they’re going to take it upon themselves to look for what they need. They’ll get information from different sources, mash it all together, use it to make decisions, and hope that what they used was accurate. Of course, when that kind of approach is used, teams run the risk of making decisions off inconsistent data. That’s never good.
On this note, it’s important to be sure that the solution you choose has the ability to connect the data from all of your solutions: accounting, AFE, land, and production. By bringing all this data together in a central location, you can provide your colleagues with a single source of truth and make certain that decisions are made with the bigger business picture in mind instead of in a vacuum.
One last recommendation for all you oil and gas IT professionals out there: leverage in-memory-processing capabilities. With in-memory processing, your teams can perform aggregations and calculations on hundreds of millions of rows of data if necessary. In-memory processing also enables your users to scale. For example, if a specific query is used by 10 different people, it only has to be cached once, not multiple times.
So there you have it – our advice for putting an end to your reporting stress once and for all.
That way, the next time the drilling engineer emails you, the two of you can chat about your Saturday plans or the big game this weekend, not about what should and shouldn’t be included in what has now become the 16th iteration of an LOE report.
Click here to see how a self-service business intelligence solution empowers your business users to create their own reports and perform their own analysis.
About The Author
Alex Schultz works on P2’s corporate marketing and communications team. Prior to coming on board at P2, Alex worked as a news and sports reporter in California’s San Joaquin Valley, where he covered everything from local politics and citrus farming to college baseball and senior slowpitch softball leagues. When he’s not writing about the innovative and resilient upstream oil and gas community for P2, you’ll likely find Alex in one of two places: at Folsom Field in Boulder, CO, watching (and usually regretting his decision immediately) a University of Colorado football game, or trying (and usually failing) to hook a rainbow trout from one of Colorado’s mountain streams. Alex holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from CU-Boulder.