February 18, 2020

5 Reasons Oil & Gas Enterprises Need to Clean Up Their Content Act

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5 Reasons Oil & Gas Enterprises Need to Clean Up Their Content Act

As the price of oil flattens and declines, forward-looking energy companies seek to balance risk and make efficiency and profitability gains wherever they can. But that’s not possible when you don’t have a handle on your organization’s unconsolidated data. Unstructured content impacts virtually every area of business—and costs the average enterprise millions in lost productivity.

According to IDC, a typical enterprise of 1,000 workers loses up to $3.5 million every year searching for or recreating information—hardly pocket change in a world where oil prices are falling and the cost of exploration is rising.

For energy companies in search of greater profitability and production capacity, moving and improving unconsolidated data is crucial.

To future-proof your enterprise, it’s vital to stay ahead of these five costly content challenges:

1. Rising costs are hurting you—and so is your unstructured content.

Exploration costs are rising to an all-time high, so it’s crucial to ramp up production capacity as quickly as possible. If you don’t know what content you have or where to find it, however, your operation takes a hit on the efficiency front. That means paying more to get to your next oil site.  

In the case of a content migration, this problem is compounded even further. Before a migration, it’s crucial to audit your data and extract key insights. That way, you can determine what content you have, what’s valuable, and what can be deleted (vs. wasting resources on costly manual analysis).

2. Messy compliance measures open you up to safety and legal risk.

In the highly regulated oil and gas industry, it's imperative to respond to compliance issues promptly. The energy industry is constantly being hit with new regulations, and if you fall behind, the impact can be disastrous.

As unstructured content grows in size and complexity, however, it becomes increasingly difficult to meet compliance measures with ease. If your employees take hours—or days—to find the right documentation when authorities come knocking, it might be time to consider another solution.

3. Your content isn’t clean, searchable, or usable.

If you don’t have a single source of truth for all well-related information—or if your well content is spread throughout multiple sources in inconsistent formats—you could be facing massive efficiency losses at every turn.  

Gartner estimates that employees waste roughly 50 percent of their work week searching for the content they need. For a 500-person enterprise, that adds up to 16,000 wasted hours and $250,000 in lost revenue every month.

This scenario is common following a merger or acquisition, as many energy organizations simply cobble their content and systems together without properly cleaning and categorizing their data first. This causes inconsistencies and redundancies, leaving you with millions of duplicate documents clogging up your ECM system and shared folders.

4. You can’t find the content you need—when you need it.

Even if your content has been consolidated, searchability and clarity might still be an issue. If most of your engineering files are in TIFF format, for example, it becomes very difficult to find these documents quickly, let alone extract any real strategic value from them. Making these documents legible and searchable often necessitates many hours of manual cleanup, which is something you can’t afford when time is of the essence.

Additionally, if your content hasn’t been properly tagged—or if its metadata has been lost through a previous migration—it could become tough to find the right pipeline numbers or connect the dots between variables such as well location and available resources. All these struggles add up, making it hard to see the way through to the next exploration site.  

5. Your organization still runs on paper.

Many oil and gas companies are still heavily paper-based in their approach to content. During a migration, not only will you need to move your content from one on-premise system to another, but you’ll also need to scan in your paper content, so it’s accessible in the office and the field.

However, many scanned files will either be unreadable through human error or will be in file formats that are impossible to read. So, as valuable as this information could be, you’ll have no way to access it. For example, being able to share drilling data in real time offers a clear efficiency advantage. But if you can’t figure out where the data you need is located—or how to increase collaboration across departments—this point is moot.

Additionally, paper-based processes don’t align with the inevitable move to the cloud. Also, if you only invest in on-premise solutions, you risk stranding your technology investment—or falling behind the latest technology standards altogether.

The importance of “moving and improving.”

All of these challenges relate back to one central struggle: the need for oil and gas companies to clean up their unstructured content before, during, and after a migration. Rather than simply “lifting and shifting” your data, it’s important to ensure that you’re increasing business value along the way.

That’s why implementing a solution that will allow you to integrate additional well and location information, improve the quality of your data, and consolidate business-critical content throughout your content migration is key. By focusing on making your content as clean, usable, and searchable as possible, you’ll be well on your way to securing a competitive advantage.  

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