It was not unusual for me to look to the sky when I was growing up. I come from an agrarian background and from a place famous for its food and grains. The place is India, and in those days – with no irrigation and no infrastructure – we were completely dependent on the rain, leading to cycles of flood and drought. My culture is so respectful of climate and rain; we have a god ‘Varuna,’ whom we worship even today. So looking to the sky was essential to our survival, and counting on the clouds was a way of life.
This reminds me of today’s volatile Oil & Gas industry landscape. This time the market downturn is taking significantly longer to rebound than we traditionally have seen in years past. This extended time to rebound has created two different types of companies. On one hand, there are companies that are cutting into their capabilities to save money and crippling their ability to remain competitive, now and in the future. The more strategic players are embracing the opportunity to redefine themselves and position themselves for growth.
Strategic players are building an adaptable enterprise that can react to market conditions by building scalability into their business operations. ‘Scalability,’ in this case, refers to the cost of operations proportional to the amount of activity. Companies are honing in on a model where they can pay for what they use without sacrificing efficiency or growth.
With a long history as a provider to the Oil & Gas industry, we are afforded the privilege to work with a wide cross-section of companies across the Oil & Gas value chain. By supporting ERP implementations, analytics, financial consolidation, internet of things and custom application development, companies are unleashing the power of the Cloud. Cloud Applications provide Oil & Gas companies the ‘elasticity’ or ‘scalability’ (pay by the drink or pay by the use model). This is a new world that is starkly different than the traditional model of application landscapes which are capital intensive and offer a protracted time to value.
We are working with many companies who are now addressing significant operational and cost challenges via Cloud platforms (Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, SAP Hana Cloud Platform, Salesforce). From an infrastructure perspective, we have moved legacy systems, production systems and data centers to the Cloud. Companies pay consumption costs when these systems are being used, and when they are dormant, there is no incremental cost incurred. From an ERP perspective, we are moving companies that use Tier 1 ERPs from a ‘use it or lose it’ licensing model to a pay by the drink model in the cloud. In addition to this, we are also developing custom applications in the Cloud that are user-friendly, mobile, scalable and can be operated in an offline mode, at a fractional cost compared to traditional application platforms. Most Cloud platforms offer analytics and big data capabilities, integrating sensors and machines. By integrating these cloud applications with other solutions, we are now able to provide strategic solutions and enhanced business processes for the Oil & Gas industry such as field ticketing, drilling operations monitor dashboards, rental solutions, fracing calendars. Additionally, these applications can be developed in an agile fashion, reducing the amount of development time required compared to traditional application development. Cloud platforms are changing the game and becoming an effective scalability tool for a cyclical industry like Oil & Gas.
When I look to the sky and see the clouds these days, I feel better in thinking that some of them have come a long way. I am confident knowing that that they are here to stay. Finally, there is a feeling that we can count on the clouds. Have you found comfort in the Cloud?