Working in the oil and gas sector for the past 15 years, I can safely say that I have used my fair share of information management systems. Over the years I have utilized systems that have been created and maintained inhouse, and systems that were acquired ‘off the shelf’. The competition for the next best system is vast, and the value of an information management system is based on the benefit to the business needs and wants, and - let’s not forget - the cost impact.
How do you determine the value of an Information Management system?
Information management system functionality and attribution can be capitalized upon to capture the what, where, why, when, and how of the information’s related metadata. Maximising this use of management systems enables one to capture, maintain and search for valuable information by utilizing critical metadata. Users must be able to search systems with ease and locate critical information without having to open and cross-examine documentation.
Managing legacy information management systems
What was once a state of the art system can become a hindrance. As organizations evolve, legacy systems can become obsolete and out of date. Inconsistent metadata management can lead to additional expense and lost opportunities with the addition of manhour loss while users spend hours interrogating systems trying to locate critical information. Users become reluctant to utilize untrustworthy legacy information systems which often contributes towards the exploitation of personal drives to store information, thus impacting the integrity of ‘true source’ information. Bypassing information management systems impacts the health and safety of personnel, increasing the likelihood of accidents.
Organizations recognise the risk and safety impacts of not identifying, capturing, populating and maintaining critical metadata within systems. After all a system is only as good as its functionality and accessible metadata. When both are combined it makes a system user friendly and efficient. And with proper data governance it will be trustworthy and accurate.
One client shared that it took them 4 months to find all the correct information when it should have taken a maximum of 4 hours. Scenarios like this occur on a regular basis and can have major health, safety, and cost repercussions during performing activities such as:
- Start-up/shutdown duties
- Critical maintenance of instrumentation or equipment
- Performing daily duties and sharing critical information
- Drilling and exploration activities
21st century digitization
Digitization is vastly becoming an integral cog to the oil and gas machine. Data interrogation, deduplication, and optical character recognition is just the starting point to enabling identification of critical metadata. Once identified, metadata needs to be extracted and accessible, thus resolving some of the many issues we currently face today, such as:
- Increased manhours spent locating documentation and data
- Technology constraints through the inability to identify and retrieve metadata with ease
- File duplication, with no true source of information when files are duplicated/copied within systems and drives
- Enhanced risk of personnel working on historical revisions
- Increased exposure to safety or environmental risk
- Increased storage cost of redundant information
It is essential that companies carefully consider the value to their organization, of locating and utilizing accurate true source information, rapidly.