NEW YORK and REDMOND, Wash., March 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- As the oil and gas business model continues to evolve in the face of multiple external and internal forces, companies are increasing their investment in software solutions to help them better manage challenges. To this end, industry professionals are looking for a simpler upstream technology environment that will enable operational excellence and efficiencies while simultaneously mitigating risks and addressing new drilling regulations, according to an Accenture and Microsoft Corp. survey released today.
The survey of 200 professionals in international, national and independent oil and gas-related companies showed that 74.5 percent spent as much or more "focus and investment" on IT in 2011 as they did in 2010. According to the results, many are using these investments to facilitate a more integrated and efficient operation platform in conjunction with building a global collaborative environment. Respondents view the cloud as a technology in line with making these goals a reality, with most reporting they have plans in place to use cloud services in the future, while many have already adopted them.
Other trends include the increasing use of mobile computing devices in the workplace and the rise of big data, which refers to the proliferation of massive amounts of data useful for business intelligence. Today's oil and gas IT professionals are focused on having quick and easy access to the volumes of data necessary for informed oilfield decision-making, regardless of their location. Just as importantly, nearly half (43 percent) say they also anticipate lower costs due to streamlined operational workflows.
"We understand that those working in the oil and gas industry have data coming in from a variety of potentially disparate upstream sources, ranging from big data stored on servers to data coming in from a person in the field on a smartphone or tablet," said Albrecht "Ali" Ferling, Ph.D., managing director for the global oil and gas and mining industries at Microsoft. "Being able to effectively process this information and act on it 24/7 regardless of location is a key priority for our customers."
The survey results indicate that new drilling regulations have caused the industry to further increase its focus on risk reduction and heightened health, safety and environmental protections. Almost 75 percent of survey respondents agreed that the need for improved incident response has created the need for greater IT integration in the upstream environment. However, 60.5 percent of respondents cautioned that, as a result of those same regulations, they are experiencing slower business processes. Regional results reveal that additional regulations were slowing business processes for close to half (46.3 percent) of North American survey respondents, followed by respondents in Asia-Pacific (12.4 percent) and Africa (7.4 percent).
"An ongoing challenge for energy companies is the search for operational excellence. The results of the survey are evidence of this," said Dean Forrester, senior director at Accenture's Energy industry group. "Companies continue to pursue improved access to data and increased visibility of information and anticipate an increase in their use of technologies such as cloud and mobility in the coming year. We believe that these trends will support the continued drive toward optimizing production and mitigating risk."
According to Barclays Global 2012 E&P Spending Outlook report from December 2011, worldwide upstream oil and gas spending in 2012 is expected to climb by 10 percent to reach $598 billion (U.S.).
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 246,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world's most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$25.5 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2011. Its home page is www.accenture.com.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services, and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.