It’s hard to imagine that Facebook wasn’t around fifteen years ago – or that LinkedIn was in its infant stage, the iPhone was still only a concept in Steve Job’s brilliant mind and Wikipedia was just starting. Collaboration in the workplace usually meant getting everyone together in a room. Conference calls were typically voice calls only, and the first fifteen minutes of the call was usually spent talking over each other until people got the hang of how to interact on the call.
But at the same time, our technology platforms were teaching us how to collaborate, to communicate better, to improve how we worked. As an example in the oil and gas industry, Xait created the software “Publish-as-you-Go” for BP in 2001, the same year in which Wikipedia was launched. It solved the issue of how to efficiently enable multiple people to prepare, work, publish and distribute a proposal or tender. This innovative, disruptive technology platform – known as XaitPorter – has now become the standard for oil and gas companies: In Norway, nearly every company in the oil and gas industry uses XaitPorter somewhere in their working environment.
Why do we seem to still spend so much time on repetitive, time-consuming activities?
A recent AIIM blog post about document practices in the oil and gas sector, explains why some document controlling processes seem to be stuck in time. Now documents are originating electronically: however, the processes haven’t changed. So while technology has improved, productivity and performance is at risk of falling behind if the process and the way people work doesn’t change. Why do we find ourselves being limited to using paper principles in a digital age?
The challenge is about managing information. It’s time to let go of legacy processes and embrace new digital ways of working.
For oil and gas companies, best practices for managing production of complex documents – like license applications, reports, proposals and tenders – include the following:
- Standardize and automate functionality within the document (e.g formatting, version control)
- Automate all manuals tasks and workflows – such as reviews and approvals
- Embed control functions into the process (e.g. notifications, access rights and security levels)
- Make it easy to create, manage and repurpose content
- Enable information to find people (and not force people to search for information)
In summary, savvy companies in the oil and gas industry – or any industry – will ensure employees have both robust, easy-to-use technology and automated processes so they can build a culture of good information management. For teams working on complex or time-sensitive projects, this helps them to not get stuck in the process of working with documents. Instead, they can focus on the value of the information and its impact on the business.