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Disconnected data holds back 80% of oil and gas companies

Published by , Editorial Assistant
World Pipelines,

Research from digital workflow leader Intoware, found that over three quarters, 80% of oil and gas companies post-pandemic, are relying on legacy systems and spreadsheets to get tasks done, believing this inflexible, often out-of-date, disconnected data is sufficient to support corporate decision making.

Disconnected data holds back 80% of oil and gas companies

This independent survey of 1030 UK-based industrial firms showed that the vast majority of those working in oil and gas, 92% claimed to be data-informed and 76% said that they trust data enough to complete tasks, this is despite most of them relying still on disparate legacy systems.

Intoware’s CEO, Keith Tilley, said: “The research shows that for most of those surveyed believe they are data-driven, when in reality they could be relying on old, out-of-date data. This disconnected data acts like a ball and chain, tying down your staff as they spend a huge amount of time trying to unlock data trapped in spreadsheets and legacy systems to meet the demands of businesses, customers and regulators.

This research shows that 80% of decision makers have access to data and 84% believe that data is an asset, which is very good news. However, 47% use data only occasionally to help get the job done – as the reality is that their data is siloed.

While 72% are interested in using digital software ‘tools’ to support their role, it seems that a significant minority simply don’t have the skills to use the new data these systems provide, with 21% feeling overwhelmed and another 24% feel only slightly confident when using data to back decision making, 45% of those surveyed.

Despite this, when it comes to passing on critical skills and expertise from ageing workers to help plug the skills ‘gap’ for the next generation, 76% see digital ‘tools’ as playing a valuable part in sharing knowledge. So, it’s no surprise that 80% of companies intend to invest in data skills, training and development in 2022 to help meet this challenge.

While it seems that a culture of uninformed decision making still persists for many, with 40% having made decisions based on ‘gut-feel’ during their careers, with 32% doing this on a monthly basis and a worrying 8% each week. This was particularly prevalent in the oil and gas industry, where uninformed decisions are relied on by 40% of those surveyed.

This culture goes right to the very top of businesses, with 28% of senior decision makers and 27% of managers relying on ‘gut-feel’ all the time. This can have serious implications, such as when managers need to introduce engineering changes without assessing the impact on current works or raw materials for example – which are all factors that are detrimental to business performance.

Intoware’s CEO, Keith Tilley, said: “A reliance on siloed data severely hinders business operations with accountability and visibility issues, as each department has their own interpretation of data, which is a problem for businesses that are increasingly under pressure to evolve how they manage resources and communicate data insights.

“If you digitise paper-processes with work-instruction ‘tools’ that integrate with connected smart devices and third-party systems, this information can be more easily shared, providing staff with access to quality data, and a ‘single source of truth’ right across the business, for more proactive and rapid, ‘real-time’ insights to improve productivity and satisfy compliance.”

As oil and gas operators persist in the belief that they are data-driven by relying on spreadsheets, legacy systems and ‘gut-feel’, it will negatively impact on their efforts to be more competitive as staff spend time gathering and cleaning data just to respond to requests, which means they risk not focusing on the insights that will really add value and future growth.

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Digitilisation news Trends and analysis UK pipeline news