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April 14, 2014

Simon Cowart


VP of Growth

This article originally appeared in the Silicon Bayou News.

I’m writing this because we have had a lifelong relationship – not just for obvious reason, but because I was born and raised on the Louisiana Gulf Coast…I’ve unknowingly been dependent upon and directly affected by your successes and failures. You’ve employed my brother, friends, uncles, aunts and boyfriends – we’ve had a pretty interesting relationship. I’ve monitored your behaviors, activities and been privy to some interesting conversations during late-night Bayou bar talk. You’ve been stereotyped as the old stogy man, beating down change with a cane, but I know you know better than that – traditions may be important, but survival is too. While you find yourself influx yet again with declining prices, lay-offs and uncertainty, will this time around be the time that you finally embrace new technology to help you streamline efforts, ensure accuracy and ultimately increase ROI?

The multigenerational energy industry should begin to fully embrace technologies of all kinds in order to remain efficient in an uncertain economic climate. Mobile applications, SaaS solutions, cybersecurity innovations and even fin tech technologies being develop everyday can save, and even help make, O&G companies millions of dollars a year. The very rise of the entrepreneurial ecosystem along the Gulf Coast should raise industry executive eyebrows. Both New Orleans and Houston, long-known industry hubs, have also been touted as up and coming startup scenes, and investors are on the hunt in these areas for energy technologies to invest in such as Maritant, a SaaS solution that connects engineers, shipbuilders and vessel operators with preferred vendor equipment data, that recently raised a Series A round of funding.

Still, there are barely whispers on technology’s impact in this industry. Big O&G seems to be doing a lot of watching, and maybe even a little investing, but adoption still seems rather slow in comparison to the amount of money and executive leadership residing here. Seems to me like Silicon Bayou should look a lot more like Silicon Valley right now. Adoption of these innovations is key to oil and gas companies working smarter.

According to a VentureBeat article that ran in 2012, some analysts believe digital oilfield technologies could increase the net present value of oil and gas assets by 25 percent, and continued their argument by mentioning that “one major oil company cut operating and staffing costs by 10 to 25 percent while increasing production by 5 percent.” That was three years ago.

Today, groundbreaking technology is being created by top tech talent in the south that can truly benefit the industry such as Project Insiders, an O&G SaaS-based platform providing sales intelligence on large capital investment projects, or Petrabytes, a big data management platform that uses oilfield measurements to provide predictive analytics for the O&G industry and even, Sea Forge, a mobile reporting platform that uses a “FatFinger” app to streamline workflows while eliminating paperwork, providing real-time operational analytics to management.

With Millennials now the largest generation in the workforce, you have employed digital natives who not only understand, but expect their companies to utilize the latest technologies to help keep the company successful. Empowering these employees to explore these opportunities will not only help your brand but also increase team morale and build a better company culture – it’s a win-win-win.

Top 5 ways the digital age can help the O&G industry:

  1. Increase Efficiencies: Between social media networks, SaaS platforms, mobile apps and revolutionary hardware, new technology can increase overall productivity and expedite processes that may traditionally take days, to mere hours.

  2. Ensure Accuracy: These aforementioned technologies have significantly decreased the margin of error. Potentially saving you millions – yea, remove the inaccurate spreadsheet from your daily workflow.

  3. Increase Safety: Safety is key in your world. New technologies like cloud-based GPS and operator behavior solutions have introduced new ways for you to monitor and quickly correct unsafe behaviors.

  4. Increase ROI: Add up all of the above and you are saving time and upping the ante on how much work gets done in a day, which means your return on investment will certainly go up – it’s just that simple.

Here at Alloy our lifeblood is new technologies. We represent them, live with them and help them to tell their stories. We bring tech brands to life not only through new mediums like social media networks, but traditional industry publications and other content marketing strategies and tactics like whitepapers, webinars and case studies.