Digital Platform Mania - Returning To The Scene Of The Crime

The Big Tech Way

Recently, I entered a particular term in the search form on Twitter. After pressing enter to retrieve the results of the search, I was interrupted by a phone call. Sometime later - after forgetting about the Twitter search - I opened up LinkedIn and was presented with an advert. The advert was for the item I had unsuccessfully searched for on Twitter.

This is a clear demonstration of the use case of data platforms and how they communicate across large Big Data networks for the advertisement and marketing industry. Sharing of data amongst Big Tech - Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple (GAFA) is seamlessly executed. It's a sensitive topic amongst consumers and regulators at the moment, but I won't delve into those issues here.

The motivation behind this article is to highlight how the Oil & Energy sector is adopting digital platforms and stimulate action towards avoiding past mistakes with data in the sector.

Platform Mania in Oil & Energy

With a surge in digitalization and transformation activities in the sector, a digital platform has emerged as the best way to harness the power of data, foster team collaboration, real-time monitoring etc.

Companies today - operators, service contractors, vendors and classification societies - have developed/or will develop their own digital platform to host applications or provide analytics to teams and customers. This is a great initiative. Yet, this brings more unforeseen bottlenecks.

Let's take the example of a large oil field operator. For a single offshore development, several dozen contractors and vendors will be part of the project. Each company will probably have a platform or offer some analytics capability.

How can each of their digital platforms "speak" to one another? Can they be swapped out and replaced by another platform in the future like a "plug-and-play" format?

Now, imagine if you are an oil major. You'll have dozens of oil fields.

Digital Silos?

Without a co-ordinated framework that allows seamless communication between platforms, it seems like we are returning to the scene of the crime. By this, I mean, in the past, we have accumulated treasure troves of unstructured data across excel spreadsheets, word documents, pdf documents, photos, and videos. The business value of data was largely ignored.

Now, we are moving toward an industry where we are leveraging insights to achieve more with less cost. This difference this time is that all of this data will be contained within an individual digital platform with no industry agreed upon communication protocol. Basically, we could end up with "digital silos".

How Can We Avoid Past Mistakes?

Many years ago, there was a large collaborative project in the banking industry. As a result, the IBAN was created to allow people to transfer money from one account to another with security and trust in mind. More info can be found at iso.og.. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the IBAN system, it is described as follows:

"The International Bank Account Number (IBAN) is an internationally agreed system of identifying bank accounts across national borders to facilitate the communication and processing of cross border transactions with a reduced risk of transcription errors." Source: Wikipedia

Does this sound transferable and relatable for the Digital Oil Fields of tomorrow? Could an IBAN style system work for Oil & Energy?

The best and most effective way to achieve, seamless digital communications is to develop a standard like IBAN with a Joint Industry Project.

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