So, when we talk about energy product assets, what kind of things do we mean exactly? We’re referring to a broad range of facilities and operations that include anything from petrochemical plants to solar power stations and from wind farms to oil drilling wells.
These assets will vary in size, but some of them can be enormous. So, take a large refinery or drilling vessel, this is also likely to include a supporting infrastructure, possibly with a hotel, a medical centre and countless more facilities.
The more complex the asset, the more beneficial seamless communication and collaboration across the site will be. We also need to include all the external stakeholders in the equation as they have an equally important part to play in the running of the asset.
Assets like this are facing a whole array of different challenges. Typically, operational efficiency would be at the top of the list for most organisations. The need to optimise performance and minimise cost. Also of paramount importance are safety considerations, strong secure communication and on-site security.
So, how would energy companies tend to deal with these challenges? The kind of steps they’d need to take would range from strong governance with third part suppliers to strict access controls for the site.
The good news is that Microsoft Teams can help with these challenges and more. Oil and energy companies can use Teams to facilitate single point communication for anything and everything to do with the asset in question.
Instead of using email, pagers, text, desk phones, chat and mobile phones, everyone can access the same information in real-time on their smartphones. This benefits everyone, but particularly those who work on the front line, away from the comforts and organisation of a central office.
Microsoft leads the way in end-user IT within the oil and energy industries. They have published extensively on their reference architecture for oil and gas technology, and this has informed the suite of tools and applications they now provide for the industry.
Some of the key features they offer include delivering a secure, scalable, easy to deploy infrastructure that is location agnostic, enabling rich interactive user experiences to drive broad-based collaboration and allowing the connection of domain-specific equipment to the operational network. This enables unified communications to manage compliant devices, from wellheads to downhole sensors, and flow the data back into appropriate systems.
Indeed, one of the keys to success with any energy asset is fast and reliable reporting into the business from field teams. These employees can establish remote work environments and share data as quickly and effortlessly as possible with Teams.
One side benefit of enhanced collaboration across remote locations with Teams is that it will reduce the need for physical travel. The fact that everything is hosted in the cloud rather than with an on-premise data centre will further reduce emissions for the business.
With a typical asset in this sector, which might be a large refinery or drilling vessel, there are likely to be several teams within the business involved with operations, as well as several external parties who will have been subcontracted to provide services ranging from catering to cleaning.
For assets like this, Teams would be the central repository giving all stakeholders, inside and outside the business, real-time updates on anything that is relevant to them. This could include maintenance schedules, performance targets, HR admin and coordinated emergency responses in critical situations.
Whatever the use case, Teams will give all the stakeholders, both internal and external, across different locations and time zones, access to the same information at the same time.
Another Microsoft technology well worth considering for your oil and energy business is Power Platform. This is an umbrella term for Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate and Power Virtual Agents, which together enable users to uncover data insights in real-time, access intelligent apps and automated workflows tailored to their individual business needs.
The Power Platform can and indeed should play a central role in increasing operational efficiency through the deployment of business process automation, applications, integrated reporting and even chatbots that can be used internally within Teams or as a customer-facing service.
The best thing about the Power Platform, other than the fact it natively integrates with your entire Microsoft stack and in many cases, the fact that it is included with your existing licenses, is that it is possible to quickly make solutions that are tailored to the specific needs of your business. Be it an approval app for faster management decision making on oil rigs, an app for energy research team collaboration or simply an automated workflow, the possibilities are endless.
Not sure how best to use Teams and Power Platform to bring out the best in your operation? That’s where Resonate can help. As a Microsoft Gold partner, we can help you optimise collaboration across any asset by helping you realise the benefits of wider Microsoft Teams benefits faster.
We’re confident that no other company can offer the same wealth and experience or the same level of expertise in the Oil and Energy sector in the Microsoft UC space. We have the added appeal of being able to offer a highly innovative Power Platform practice, which can lead to greater productivity and efficiency.
Why not get in touch and one of our friendly experts will explain what we could do for your Oil and Energy organisation?