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Chapter 1

Enterprise mobility in Oil and Gas

  • Top challenges faced by the oil and gas industry
  • A definitive guide to enterprise mobility solutions for oil and gas

In an era where technology is changing at an ever-increasing pace, revolutionizing your company to adapt to the norms of the fourth industrial revolution has become mandatory. Today, Darwin’s theory of “survival of the fittest” fits perfectly. Your business needs to become the “strongest” by bringing disruption in the market using current technological trends.

Firms that will adapt technological advancements will ride the wave of innovation to deliver what their customers truly need. Consequently, sailing with the tide, they will come out as the real winners. How does the oil and gas industry come in the picture?

Just like every other industry, there are numerous challenges faced by the oil and gas sector. One of the biggest problems faced by these industries is the smooth flow of information to carry out onshore and offshore activities systematically, at a faster pace.

Thus, the need of the hour is to recognize the challenges faced by the oil and gas industry and combat them to sustain intense competition.

Let us dig deeper and understand the essence of these challenges and how to combat them.

1.Cutting down cost by maintaining efficiency labor:

The oil and gas industry is filled with uncertainties and risk. Be it political pressure, expansion into unchartered topographical locations or physically challenging tasks, oil and gas companies are facing growing complexities every day. Fluctuation in demand, variability in prices and strict regulatory control add to the challenges faced by the oil and gas industry.

Increasing visibility into operations is one key measure that can be adopted to reduce costs, improve the performance of the employees and to minimize the risks. Digital oil field and integrated operations are one way to achieve this agenda.

2. Improving logistics:

For smooth functioning, all oil and gas firms are dependent upon third-party dealers to supply them with various resources. Any inefficiency in communication leads to lag in work performance. These inefficiencies can arise due to poor communication, fluctuating demands and incorrect interpretation by either party.

To resolve this, oil and gas firms can adopt enterprise mobility applications such as cloud-based networking systems where the suppliers, workers, and industrialists are closely connected and can track the inventory position, demand and supply at each step.

3.Primitive locations of the wells and refineries:

The entire process of oil and gas, from extraction to processing and selling is divided into three tasks - upstream, downstream and middle stream process. At each level, different level of expertise and experience is desirable as the process takes place at remote locations.

However, these sites do not have proper network availability which is one of the major challenges faced by the oil and gas industry and this leads to a disconnect between the other two departments. The solution lies in mobilizing your company with offline applications. If you have the facility to improve enterprise mobility and upload files and data even in offline mode, connectivity and accessibility can also be maintained while working in primitive areas.

4.Maintaining asset management with excellence in execution:

To achieve operational excellence, availability of high-class equipment is mandatory. Well designed, properly managed and maintained assets are stepping stones to operational excellence.

Companies must focus on purchasing high-class equipment along with maintaining their efficiency over time. This can be done by continuous inspections and work performance analysis.

5.Delay in decision making and productivity:

Traditionally, oil and gas firms have worked in an offline manner. In such a scenario every report of quality check, breakdown, sales, inventory, etc. has to be first formulated into a report which is then passed from one department to the other. This, in turn, leads to an increase in time of response. Thus, the target of information flow to all departments gets hampered.

Imagine a situation where the information about every sale is passed on to all departments simultaneously. In such a situation, employees are more productive and answerable. Thus, to upscale the performance, digitization and enterprise mobility in oil and gas is the key to the success of the firms.

A definitive guide to enterprise mobility solutions for oil and gas:

The oil and gas industry faces massive pressure due to challenging working conditions. Dwindling prices with an increased need to maintain efficiency have emerged as a significant challenge faced by the oil and gas industry. Even the most successful industries facing the issue of managing huge data sets, complex business files, and processing of data.

Strategy management alone is not the solution to this problem. It requires much more than that. It needs a shift from traditional offline mode to modern technologies and expertise.Offline working has been a traditional practice in this industry, but with the changing time, the oil and gas industry also needs to shift towards mobility solutions.

Enterprise mobility strategy can reinvent the working of this industry. It will help boost efficiency, promise better productivity and aid in cost saving.

The oil and gas industry is a segregated sector working at several levels. At each step, enterprise mobility applications can prove to be a very fruitful choice.

The benefits of enterprise mobility in oil and gas with respect to each segment is given below:

  • Midstream companies - With enterprise mobility applications, midstream companies can benefit by optimizing and maintaining their networks, enhancing their logistics and thereby increasing efficiency.
  • Downstream companies - Apart from the benefits listed above, downstream companies can improve their working by increasing their ability to monitor data by using enterprise mobility closely. They can choose real-time optimization of various processes.
  • Upstream companies - Corporate firms can gather instant information about the work performance going on in the field and closely monitor all the activities. This will enable uninterrupted growth and development while strategizing and in marketing.

While aiming for enterprise mobility, the oil and gas firms must look for the following aspects:

In order to design their mobility system, companies must first recognize the challenges they face in the oil and gas sector and how enterprise mobility applications would be able to resolve them. The data which will be stored along with its quantity must be pre-decided, and accordingly enterprise mobility application design must be worked upon. Additionally, the focus must be on developing offline apps which can be used even in remote areas where accessing the internet is not possible.

Thus, with proper planning and implementation,enterprise mobility applications can be a boon for the oil and gas industry.

Chapter 2

Digitizing the Oil and Gas sector

  • How can Oil and Gas firms benefit from mobile applications?
  • Mobile and web applicationsto enhance productivity and workforce management
  • How Oil and Gas mobile applications can help offset the overheads of your firm

The emergence of IoT- Internet of things has been of significant advantage to innovation in the oil and gas sector. The transmission of data from the sensors in varied formats and high-speed results in the generation of Big Data. This data is then analyzed using analytical tools to extract useful information.

Hence, digitizing data can benefit oil and gas firms in more than one way -

  • It can generate new business models and give stakeholders a closer look at the ongoing processes, the lags, and improvements that are required.
  • hey can get real-time information from the wells that lack resources and formulate decisions for cutting down the costs. They can also detect anomalies in the extraction processes and can enable better decision making for cost reductions.
  • Historical and real-time data can all be grouped and analyzed together to carry out day to day operations more effectively. Maintenance and inspection regimes can be revised as per the need.
  • Data enabled dynamic barrier management can provide information about the persisting conditions, permitting a more controlled prediction and mitigation with respect to equipment failures. This also allows close scanning of environmental risks and permits authorities to design better strategies.

Therefore, innovation in oil and gas industry via digitalization is the need of the hour and should be implemented immediately. Making mobile applications for oil and gas industry can be the stepping stone to digitizing businesses in this field. Hence, this brings us to a fundamental question:

How can firms benefit from Oil and Gas mobile solutions?

Oil and gas mobile solutions have unified, integrated and made the management of various processes involved in the industry easier and more hassle-free.

Some of the ways in which mobile applications have helped advance technology in the oil and gas industry are -

  • Managing the assets:
    Mobile applications can help in managing the records of the current availability of assets, their depletion with time and risks of exhaustion.For instance, an employee can easily access real-time information about the inventory at any specific period of time and take the steps accordingly. It can also help in taking timely preventive measures.
  • Inspection and quality control:
    Oil and gas mobile apps can be used for inspection of pipelines, assessment of refinery equipment, etc. The technicians can quickly gather a large amount of data and use this data to take the necessary corrective steps. RFD, GPS, and barcoding can be used to gather these observations.
  • Assistance in regulatory compliance:
    Mobile apps provide real-time information to executives and managers. The process of compliance can get simplified by monitoring and reporting on regulatory and safety issues with the help of these apps.
  • Management of materials:
    All tasks related to material management can be performed and recorded using online mobile apps. Stock information, reordering, procurement, collection, stock transfer, QC inspections, etc. can all be unified in applications which can provide quick data to the person in-charge. This data can be synchronized with back end ERP and EAM systems under one roof.
  • Supply chain collaboration:
    Using oil and gas mobile solutions and other innovative applications, the person-in-charge can communicate in real time without any physical meetings. This enables quick transaction of information and potentials better supply chain management.
  • Human Resource Management:
    Managing human resource becomes a tedious task when the number of employees involved is more. In the oil and gas industry, multiple employees are working at different levels. Specially designed mobile applications can help to integrate and compile all information related to workforce under one single platform. All records regarding a number of employees working on each project, shifts, and cycles, leave records, work hour records, etc. can be maintained and supervised using mobile applications.
  • Mobile analytics:
    Business indicators can be closely analyzed using oil and gas mobile solutions. This will enable management to make improved and better decisions and allow passage of real-time insights to the executives as well as employees.
  • Fuel Management:
    Effective management of fuel is essential to predict demands, monitor usage and avoid wastage. With oil and gas mobile apps, the use of fuel can be traced, the demand can be predicted, and hence any shortage can be prevented. Also, it gives critical performance indicators to the executive-in-charge by looking into consumption and yield pattern of different processes.
  • Connectivity:
    Most of the times the oil refineries are located in remote areas away from the hustle of cities. In remote areas, maintaining contact with the on-field employees becomes a significant issue. This issue is resolved by using mobile applications as they offer the functionality of offline operation. Here’s more on how you can overcome challenges with offshore oil and gas exploration.

Mobile and web applications to enhance productivity and workforce management.

Managing the workforce is a critical task for any firm. It requires an additional team of experts whose only job is to manage the operations of the workforce in different departments. This, in turn, results in extra costs and complications in the process.

Similarly, in the oil and gas industry, the workforce is often substantial. In such a scenario, oil and gas mobile apps can prove to be the ultimate solution. Customized applications can be designed by IT team depending upon the requirements of the company.

Mobile applications can enhance productivity by monitoring -

How oil and gas mobile apps can help offset the overheads of your firm

From asset management to materials management, mobile analytics to live dashboard and GPS tracking – oil and gas mobile apps offer numerous advantages to the industry. They equally help in cutting down costs as well.

The overhead costs involved in the handling of resources is cut down extensively using mobile applications. The principal cost reduction is in the utilization and management of paper records to store the information. With e-system, all data can be easily stored online.

Moreover, in logistics management, the resources required to assemble all critical players under one roof to discuss and formulate strategies become obsolete as real-time communication can easily take place using mobile application.

Additionally, oil and gas software applications can also help in enhancing productivity and workforce management. With offline operation functionality, employees can seamlessly connect with other employees and teams thus, assisting in making quick and better decisions. This results in utilizing the resources optimally along with an increase in employee retention rate as the employees feel connected with other teams even from remote locations.

Thus, advanced technologies such as oil and gas mobile apps have helped firms in cutting down overheads very efficiently in numerous ways.

Chapter 3

Types of applications for Oil and Gas firms

  • Why offline mobile applications are the need of the hour in the Oil and Gas sector
  • Here's why your Oil and Gas firm needs to consider developing an inventory mobile apps

As mentioned earlier a shift from traditional system towards mobile applications has numerous benefits when talking about the oil and gas industry. We also saw how oil and gas data management software can help offset the overheads of your firm.

Types of oil and gas software applications that can prove to be beneficial for the stakeholders:

  • 1.Data Capture:
    A lot of information is captured while working on and off the field. To interpret, preserve and transmit this data, hardcopy system has been a traditional method which is being followed since decades. However, with mobile applications, this process gets more comfortable. Data can be accurately captured, preserved and transferred conveniently using network connections. Thus, oil and gas mobile solutions such as data capture apps can prove to be a boon for the industry.
  • 2.App for Real-time information:
    Real-time information like mud viscosity, pump rate, price fluctuations in the market, etc. are valuable pieces of information in the oil and gas industry. Applications which can gather and transmit real-time data quickly and efficiently are highly recommended for people working in this sector.
  • 3.Effective communication:
    Every company dealing in the oil and gas industry employs a large number of employees who are working at varied locations. In such a scenario, connectivity and quick transmission of information becomes a problem. Also, secure channels are essential for communicating sensitive information. Mobile apps which aid in communication, offer offline support and pay proper attention to security are significant for mobilizing the oil and gas industry. Here’s our blog on top things that hamper your team’s efficiency.
  • 4.Better Decision Making:
    Management executives who are responsible for making critical decisions are miles away in the headquarter whereas the junior level employees are working on-site. It’s imperative that the proper flow of communication takes place between the two to make an informed decision quickly with all the information at hand. Using mobile apps, transmission of data becomes easier, faster and better. Also, quick transfer of large amounts of data enables better decision making.

    There are multiple other applications which can be developed to aid the working in the oil and gas industry. Any practical idea that is viable and possible and eases the functioning of stakeholders can be implemented.

    However, the challenge is not to develop the app or its implementation. The real problem lies in network availability. Most of the industries are located in primitive industrial areas where network availability is a significant concern.
    Under such circumstances, offline apps prove to be a great support.

Why are offline mobile applications the need of the hour in the Oil and Gas industry

It is well-known that the oil and gas industry doesn't demand a desk job but rigorous field projects. In such circumstances, the availability of WIFI or mobile network cannot be guaranteed.

Imagine, you're working on the field, and there is a need to access some crucial asset-related data, but unfortunately, you're unable to find network availability, and hence, the work gets hampered. This can be a major setback. Moreover, you would undoubtedly want to switch back to the traditional system where handling of documents was a tedious task, but at least they were available at all times.

However, technological innovations have the solution to this problem too.

What if the mobile application you need to use can operate even in offline mode?

You can access the data, make the required changes and later when you have network availability; this edited data can get synchronized, saved for later or shared with the concerned people.

This resolves the problem of accessing data at all times and storing information for access when required. Hence, offline applications prove to be an apt choice when it comes to the oil and gas industry.

The Perks of offline applications are summarised below:

We now know that mobilizing and digitizing the oil and gas industry is undoubtedly a necessity. Oil and gas software applications can ease every single task by minimizing time, effort and human-capital required for the accomplishment of any particular project. Don’t forget to check out our blog on things to consider while building offline mobile applications.

One of the most important areas of digitalization in the oil and gas industry is inventory management.

Here's why your oil and gas firm needs to consider developing a mobile inventory app

Oil and gas industries operate on a global scale. The process of extracting the resources is carried out in one area, the processing in a second region with the sale of the commodity in a completely different region. Thus, it is a widely scattered process.

In such a scenario, keeping track of the inventory manually becomes very difficult. Thus, oil and gas software applications that can provide information about the status of the inventory at any given time becomes a priority.

Let us see how inventory apps assist in the oil and gas industry at various levels:

  • 1.Speedy Scheduling:
    Inventory apps can keep track of well and drill rig maintenance, gas inventory management, vehicle, and pipeline maintenance, etc. They can keep a record of the availability of stock required for maintenance by the workforce. This will help in the smooth running of the project without any stock shortages.
  • 2.Managing the Warehouse:
    Mobile applications can keep track of all the warehouse data. It can record shipments which are sent out from one warehouse to other along with batch-wise inventory position. Thus, simplifying the task of inventory management.
  • 3.Good movement Tracking:
    Oil and gas software applications that can keep track of movement of inventory from field to the market are a great boon to organizations to keep a check on the system. Such apps can prove to be highly beneficial to maintain the inventory for the firm.
  • 4.Material Management:
    Using mobile apps, reordering, procurement and collection of materials can be digitized for better control. Also, the reports of QC and QA can be maintained online for quick availability to the executives and managers
  • You can check out 3 more reasons why your company needs a mobile inventory management app.
  • Thus, digitizing oil and gas industry is a one-step solution to multiple problems. Moreover, offline applications are always preferred in the oil and gas arena as network availability is a massive problem in remote areas.

Chapter 4

Low code development for Oil and Gas

  • 7 business benefits of low code platforms
  • All you need to know about low code development for the Oil and Gas industry
  • SAP and low-code development: The golden formula to increase the dexterity of your business

As per industry experts, low code development platforms are an ideal solution for the oil and gas industry. They offer numerous advantages like less manual coding, already tested templates and quick turnaround time. Moreover, low code development also decreases overhead expenditures (the reasons for which are discussed below).

But let’s first understand what is low code development is and how can it be implemented?

A low code development platform acts as a fundamental software which programmers use to create an application. Instead of the conventional computer programming, these low code platforms use graphical user interface (GUI) along with drag-and-drop editor to create the whole app. Thus, the complicated task of coding and integrating can be waived off which enables quicker project delivery.

Forrester has predicted that by 2020, low code development industry will roughly gross $15B which was quite a happy surprise for many B2B and B2C companies. Imagine a platform that lets you develop your own appand website – won’t that be hassle-free and quick?

In recent years, many companies are shifting their focus to mobilization and digitalization. Hence, they have consciously started opting for low code app development because of the many advantages it offers. So, let’s understand how low code development can benefit the oil and gas industry.

Coping up with the shortage of IT experts:
The demand for IT professionals is much higher than supply. In fact, as per the predictions based on current trends, this demand will increase further. This demand and supply gap has created a void. Additionally, the remuneration demanded by IT people has increased exponentially. Under such circumstances, easy app development methods like low code development platforms enable app development at a much reasonable price. Furthermore, they promise superior quality.

Less Development Time:
One of the biggest benefits of low code app development is that it allows you to create applications much quicker than ones created with traditional manual coding. An intuitive drag-and-drop editor is used to build the whole framework and the time required to build an app and to test it is comparatively less. Hence, the apps can be delivered in as short as 21 days with much less overhead expenditure.

Increased Productivity:
Low code app development enables an agile environment where IT engineers work in close proximity with the business users. By bringing the common users from business into the app development process, the efficiency is increased. Also, the IT staff can then focus on more critical tasks than tracking down information from various departments about their needs and requirements.

Continuous Innovation:
The dynamic change in technology demands regular updates in the applications. Using low code development platforms and agile methodologies, back-end IT teams work in collaboration with the front end users. This empowers the frontline users to amend the applications as per their wish and requirements. Additionally, this equips staff with regular updates and continuous innovation.

Collaborative App Development Process:
As mentioned, low code development platforms enable collaborative working of the workforce with the IT team. By doing so, everyone can participate in real time by providing feedback and making amendments. Thus, if all the stakeholders are an active participant in the process, the responsiveness of the whole team increases manifolds.

Scaling the Performance:
Low code apps can scale up according to the scope of your business. The user interface can be easily amended, updated, deployed or modified to suit the requirements of the company.

Extension to other channels and devices:
Just like other coding applications, low code development platforms enable you to develop apps for various platforms like mobile phones, desktops, chatbots etc. Furthermore, as the back-end tasks are streamlined in the base template, changes made in the applications are deployed quickly. Additionally, low code development platforms also come with increased speed making them much more user-friendly.

SAP and low-code development: The golden formula to increase the dexterity of your business

Digital technology is changing every single day. In order to gain a competitive edge, your business needs to adapt to the changes and move one step ahead of the competitors to succeed.

Yes, there are many benefits of low code app development but low code development alone cannot be the right tool to beat the competition. Most of the companies are now integrating low code development with SAP to increase the dexterity of their business.

SAP refers to Systems, Applications, and Products. It is a system of Enterprise Resource Planning and caters to all industries – aerospace, banking, fashion, education etc. Additionally, it integrates the work of all departments on a single platform to serve more than 4,00,000 customers universally.

However, SAP alone is not very conducive to working in environments of rapid development. Thus, organizations are now focusing on combining SAP with low code platforms for maximum efficiency. The combination of both technologies will make your organization agile; your business will adapt to quickly respond to the changes made.

Therefore, low code development platforms can offer a large number of benefits to organizations. Similarly, SAP can integrate all these tasks to improve work performance. Thus, SAP along with low code app development is the best recipe to enhance work and efficiency in the oil and gas industry.

Chapter 5

Developing Oil and Gas mobile applications for your firm

  • Things to consider while choosing mobile solutions for oil and gas
  • Oil and Gas mobile solutions provided by appsFreedom: Case study for Marathon

So far we’ve understood the advantages of investing in application development, digitalization and mobilization for Oil and gas industry.

But does the same app work for every company? More often than not, the answer is No- this is because every organization has its own unique requirements. To cater to its specific needs, every company should have customized mobile applications to yield maximum efficiency.

While developing oil and gas mobile apps, there are a few points you need to consider. These will help you achieve an edge over your competitors.

Things to consider while choosing Oil and Gas mobile solutions

  • Real-time data access:
    The primary motive of designing an application for the oil and gas firm is to provide all the technicians and supervisors real-time updates. Timely notifications related to the order confirmation, transactions, and breakdown must be delivered via the app.
  • Access Routes:
    The app must be accessible via all devices - mobile phones, tablets, and PC. Maintenance staff and supervisors must be able to access the data and update the status on the app. They should also be able to approve and respond to notifications in a timely manner even when they are not present at the main site.
  • Friendly User Interface:
    The employees working in the oil and gas industry come from different backgrounds and many of them might not be technologically savvy. The mobile app must have a basic UI that is easy to understand and will allow them to access the information effortlessly.
  • Uploading Pictures Feature:
    The app must permit users to attach images in case of equipment breakdown, report submission etc. Pictures provide a better description of the situation instead of typing the whole text.
  • Data Security:
    Every company has its own tools and techniques which they want to keep to themselves. Thus, an additional layer of data security must be added when transferring the information from one source to another.
  • Data Viewing:
    The app must permit document viewing in variable formats like PDF, Word, Excel, and PPT.
  • Barcode Scanning:
    Barcodes can store a lot of information within a single image. Tracking and auditing become easier if the app permits scanning of the barcode using a mobile camera.

Our Client:

The oil and gas industry is advancing every day. Digitalization and mobilization are the key factors that can help in speedy progress. The firms that have adopted digitalization are performing far better than their counterparts.Understanding these key factors, Marathon, a leading marketing, logistics and refining company in the USA undertook a massive company-wide digital transformation initiative as some of its processes are executed in places without any network connectivity.

In such a scenario, keeping track of the inventory manually becomes very difficult. Thus, oil and gas software applications that can provide information about the status of the inventory at any given time becomes a priority.

The Challenge:

Digitizing an entire organization that includes pockets of limited-or-no connectivity is a big challenge. The client turned to appsFreedom to assist them with the digitization process.

The Solution-

To effectively overcome the challenges faced by Marathon Oil, appsFreedom developed customized mobile applications that offered the following benefits:

  • 1. Offline Functionality --Digitized various processes like maintenance/repair, asset capital request, goods movement/issues & receipts with sophisticated offline apps. These apps enabled high-volume offline data processing, automatic sync and conflict/error management. The digitization integrated their field personnel to SAP Digital core, without a dependency on network availability.
  • 2. Secured User Interfaces - Marathon deployed highly customized user-centric customised experiences that minimize training and maximize user productivity in the field. These user-experiences were tightly integrated with SAP S/4HANA (Digital Core) and based on roles & authorizations thereby enforcing SAP business rules and validations on the field.
  • 3. Low Development Platform-All processes and apps built were deployed very quickly with little-to-no programming required. More importantly, it also reduces the maintenance time and effort for future enhancements and support.
  • 4. Integrated with S/4 HANA -All apps were deeply integrated into their digital core - SAP S/4HANA.

With the help of the mobile applications developed by appsFreedom, Marathon Oil was able to improve access to information from remote locations where there was little to no connectivity available. This is an essential tool for oil and gas companies who can maintain efficiency and communicate effectively at all times.
AppsFreedom is a mobile application developer that offers offline functionality which permits personnel to work from any remote place with no connectivity, with any device, with or without connectivity or system availability.

Your company can build customized mobile apps quickly with the pre-designed, uniquely crafted templates which come with offline support. Thus, driving your business forward in this mobile-first world.

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