A New Mandate for the Oil and Gas Chief Information Officer

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Most oil and gas companies have embarked on a digital transformation in the past few years. Many technology-enabled use cases have been identified, built, and verified. However, successes so far have been confined to small pockets. If the impact of these initiatives is to scale up, so must the underlying technologies.

Pilots can be developed in a “sandbox,” but full-scale implementation requires enterprise information technology (IT). Use cases based on automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence require vast amounts of data to be exchanged across traditional silos. Simply connecting systems point to point when required doesn’t work, as the complexity and cost are prohibitive.

Instead, technology must be rapidly transformed across the enterprise to handle the transaction volumes, user expectations, and security requirements of the digital age. To do this, oil and gas companies need a strong chief information officer (CIO) with a mandate not only to change the way the business uses technology but also to transform the technology estate itself from disparate systems into scalable platforms.

Set Up To Fail?

Few oil and gas CIOs are set up for success in today’s digital age. IT tends to be measured on stable operations at the lowest possible cost, which translates into a CIO mandate that revolves around supporting the status quo rather than enabling growth or transformation. The oil-price downturn of 2014 intensified the squeeze on IT spending, stripping CIOs of between a third and a half of their capital expenditures.

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