After years of implementing integrated operational projects and installing collaborative environments around the oil and gas world, the message remains the same: it's not about the technology, it's about the people. This is key among all the lessons learned by anyone who has had a hand in implementing complex technology projects in oil and gas companies. Buy-in by the users and maintaining them at the heart of the solution can make or break the successful adoption of these initiatives. But has this been forgotten?
One of the large oil and gas companies we work with had an IT-led initiative to introduce electronic whiteboards and low quality video conferencing into meeting rooms across the company to make them into a network of simple collaborative environments. On the surface, this seemed like a straightforward roll-out of a beneficial technology, but only a few years after implementation and after spending millions of dollars, the vast majority of the whiteboards and VC units remain unused and are being withdrawn. The reason for this failure was because the end users and the business stakeholders were not engaged and no business benefits were defined and there was no change management and training element to the project.
Conversely there have been many successes in integrated operational projects with high take-up from users and measured benefits including tens of millions of dollars in efficiency savings, increased equipment availability as well as improved morale and reduced safety exposure. For many, however, the "it's about the people" message has become so much like a broken record that it has lost its edge. This blunting can change leadership's receptiveness to this critical success factor. Furthermore, in the current climate of efficiency and project cost cutting, engaging with people can often be seen as a nice to have. It is therefore useful to revisit it once again, looking at a people bias framework, based on lessons learned and best practice from successful Integrated Operations projects.
Framework for Success