A CWC implementation broadly entails
- Physical structure or a CWC facility with audio-video technology
- Business process design
- Development of IT tools
- Change management
The gamut of activities involved in a CWC facility set up, right from constructing the physical brick and mortar with specific seating arrangements and audio visual equipment to designing business process and developing of IT tools and applications with a continuous change management exercise suggests the enormity of its implementation.
Five elements discussed in this paper are concentrated towards post CWC implementation sustenance which if not practiced will result in CWC being just a very expensive office space with no significant ROI to the organization.
Achieving CWC sustenance - Key elements
Element 1: Develop adequate training programs to equip staff to use CWC effectively
Training is an integral part of CWC adoption. Following are the key areas where training is needed for working efficiently n CWC:
New technology tools like Web-enabled exception based surveillance or asset performance review dashboards are key enablers for the CWC staff to conduct their daily operations. Users have to move from legacy system/tools like excel based models. This requires dedicated training so that they can understand all the functionalities of the new system. Few common responses are that a new tool is too difficult to understand or the end-user training is not properly done. This results in running the legacy system in parallel and not using the new tools which limits the benefits of CWC.
b. Working in a collaborative team
Once CWC has been implemented, teams are seated differently and work in collaboration. If people do not buy-in to the collaborative philosophy and open plan office work culture, the benefits of CWC are lost. People should be trained to work as a cross-functional team of reservoir engineers, production technologists, geologists and geo-physicists. Field programmers should be trained to collaborate with the headquarter asset teams. If the old working practice of using mails and sporadic calls is still followed instead of video conferences and live data sharing, the collaboration principle will fail.
During the implementation of CWC, the business processes are aligned and standardized. These business processes detail the activities in the processes with roles and responsibilities. The collaboration in these processes are formalized and recorded. If people do not follow these realigned processes and continue to do their work in the old format, where more time is taken to come to a decision and where the decision loop takes more time to close, the advantage of business process standardization and realignment will not be leveraged.
After initial rounds of training, 'technology champions' should be identified for key functions or field organization. These people should carry the responsibility of imparting further training to their teams. A detailed end-user guide should be hosted within CWC which users can refer to if they have any queries. Refresher training plans should also be designed. If required an e-learning module can also be introduced.
For each process, the focal point should ensure that every activity is practiced as per the process definition. All collaboration should be electronically recorded and conducted as per the agenda.
An intranet portal should be set-up containing key documents like CWC fundamentals, site specific detailed business process, collaboration charters detailing trigger for that collaboration, roles and responsibilities, agenda of collaboration and expected outcome from the collaboration sessions. In addition to this, audio-video user guide, quick reference guide, do's and don'ts in an open plan office and helpline numbers should be displayed on the portal. Knowledge repository must be created to harvest knowledge and should be updated continuously.
Element 2: Define the metrics to monitor and maximize CWC usage
All the intended benefits of CWC cannot be realized if it is not used by the people. It is important to monitor CWC facility usage as per plan to ensure that its potential is being maximized. The management should establish a list of metrics to monitor the usage and take action in case of deviations from intended usage. One could also include a check list for any collaborative session.
Metrics should be number based to avoid names of any particular person or function. The key objective should be continuous improvement and not policing staff.
Some examples of metrics could include:
- Number of functional representatives in a collaboration session vis-a-vis intended ones
- Total number of collaboration sessions in a day
- Number of asset performance review meetings conducted
- Number of collaborative sessions with the field
- Number of items followed in the check-list
Periodic reports should be generated site wise and circulated to site heads and focal points. If a particular metric is below normal expectation or is showing constant degradation, a root cause analysis should be conducted and corrective measures like additional training, re-aligning business process or inclusion of additional roles or collaboration in business process should be sought.
Asset leadership should clearly communicate the objective of reporting to user community. Leadership should share results with the entire user community and discuss areas of improvement. This will help avoid any misunderstanding among the users and encourage them to openly share their concerns and ideas with the leadership.
Metrics, checklist and their reporting should be designed in such a way that they do not become a burden and distraction to the staff. Ideally, a SPOC should be nominated for each CWC site facility to take up the reporting task.
Care should be taken not to use a target based metrics such as 100 percent attendance of all the functions in all collaborative sessions. This would send the wrong signal to the staff and they would start looking at collaboration as a ‘meet the number’ exercise and this may create wrong behaviour.