Integrations: The Strength of Land Systems06/11/2019
The oil and gas industry is continuously evolving and changing. As upstream oil and gas systems get more sophisticated, the software used to track and manage those systems continues to evolve.
Integration between different core functions within an upstream oil and gas organization has become increasingly important. These integrations offer more than just automated processes; they lend themselves to increased productivity and a centralized repository of information that’s integral to any growing upstream oil and gas company.
By creating an integrated network of software, all critical systems can seamlessly communicate. The ability to integrate systems that upstream oil and gas organizations use for day-to-day management makes sharing integral data seamless and increases productivity. Furthermore, these integrations lend themselves to better decision-making and allow management to stay ahead of their competition.
Have you ever played the party game, telephone? If so, how easily does a word or phrase break down when passed verbally through a group? Now, imagine important data and leasing information passing in person and over the phone. Would you be able to ensure accurate information was communicated across the board? In upstream oil and gas organizations, a lot of what we do as professionals is tied to the information we share with our coworkers.
As the upstream oil and gas industry gets more sophisticated, so should the way we get data from one department to another. We shouldn’t have to rely on emails, phone calls, or good ol’ paper handling to know which lease payments have been processed and if a landowner’s address has changed. That email with a typo in the date, that misheard phone call, or that forgotten conversation could result in a lost lease. In-person communication, phone calls, and emails are easily subject to misinterpretation and miscommunication. And, even if they make it to the party on the other side intact, how will you ensure everyone who needs the information can access it?
As, we live in the era of collaboration, it’s imperative that we function seamlessly across states, countries, departments, and often other organizations to truly succeed in the business climate. The robust integration options available within our land systems allows us to do just that. While this type of harmony and automation between business functions was only a far-fledged dream decades ago, the future of land systems is finally here.
One Source of Truth
Creating duplicates of the same data isn’t just a waste of resources, it also creates a higher chance of data inconsistencies. If one version has an error, then the process for finding and fixing that error is doubled or quadrupled based on how many data sets now need to be compared and corrected. For example, if someone wants to update their address and talked to an employee in land, the land system now has the updated version, but accounting might still have the old address.
Owning a land system with integration capabilities means you have seamless access to the most current set of data. With such capabilities, all departments have access to view the same data – all while increasing productivity. Additionally, sophisticated land systems will be able to track who changed the information and when.
As mentioned above, upstream oil and gas organizations rely heavily on sharing information between departments – with thousands of reports, numbers, and decisions that need to be tracked and accessed across them. However, with spreadsheets and manual processes this transaction of data suffers. Think about all the ad-hoc reports requested by the management team whenever decision needs to be made. Not only do these reports disrupt the day-to-day processes, they allow for different static versions that become out of date the moment they’re created.
For example, take a look at the payment and obligation process of a company that has stand-alone land and accounting systems. The land team creates a list of these events and shares it via email or a print out. Maybe they simply write “yes” or “no” on the printout, scan it, and send it back. Maybe they create a new template or spreadsheet to fill out. This information is then sent to accounting, who inputs it into the system and cuts the checks. Maybe payment confirmation is sent to land administration, maybe not.
An integrated land system can automatically send data to different departments. With automation, small, repetitive, record-keeping tasks happen on the backend. Your team now has time to use the processed data to make proactive decisions. They have seamless access to data without having to disrupt each other’s daily routine, nor do they have to wait around for data/report requests to be fulfilled.
Peace of Mind
Timely lease payments are integral to maintaining leases for any upstream oil and gas organization. When it's difficult for accounting and land departments to communicate, it’s also difficult to confirm payment information and schedules – which can have a costly effect on a company. The land team is responsible for looking into upcoming obligations and determining which leases are about to expire, which can be extended, and which can be walked away from. These decisions are then approved by a managerial team and sent off to an accounting department.
An integrated system transfers this process to automated software, ensuring accurate and timely communication when it comes to important lease payments.
The Future of Integrations
Leveraging application program interfaces (APIs), you can use futuristic features, like artificial intelligence, to help save time while populating lease data. Also, some sophisticated land systems offer integrations that automatically monitor public well production data, combine it with your internal lease data, and suggest actions, such as paying an extension payment. This integration and automation acts as a safety net, protecting your most important assets – your leases.
Closing the Gap
Being able to integrate your land system with other upstream oil and gas functions is essential to success as the industry turns a page into the future. Integrations offer value in terms of increased collaboration, seamless access to data, increased productivity, and the peace of mind of never losing sight of a lease. Not only will the oil and gas organizations of the next era demand their systems be integrated, successful companies won’t accept just any options to integrate. Rather, they will judge land systems by the quality of software it integrates with in order to have an edge on their competition.
About The Author
A graduate of U.S.L. in Lafayette, LA with a Petroleum Land Management degree, Richard has over 35 years of experience as a practicing Landman. As co-founder and Vice-President of iLandMan, he oversees all company operations for its Land and Lease Acquisition and Management software application; some areas under his management are business continuity, implementation, marketing, database, staff and record management. Richard is the recipient of the 2008 AAPL Best Director’s Communication Award and currently serves on the AAPL Board of Directors as the Director from the AAPL Local- Lafayette LA Association.