Chevron's digital oilfield journey started twelve years ago with one-off digital solutions created in autonomous geographical operating units or business units (BUs). While this approach led to the development of many value-adding prototypes, solution proliferation was inhibited by an inability to effectively utilize those innovations across multiple BUs. The limitations preventing global adoption of BU-driven applications led to multiple solutions targeting the same, or similar, problems and increasing support needs. Having an abundance of disparate solutions, each with its own support requirements, is not sustainable for a number of reasons: Sustaining them becomes too costly and burdensome and does not support enterprise applicability, or the solutions die when the BU solution champion leaves the role.

To address these issues, this paper outlines a central development approach that proposes aligning around priority business issues, or workflows, and leveraging governance and standards provided by technical functions. Upstream Workflow Transformation (UWT) was established in 2010 to accelerate the adoption and deployment of the i-field® program, or integrated field program, comprising Chevron's digital oilfield effort with a strategy focusing on the following:

  • Improving and streamlining workflows

  • Buying vs. building technology, when possible

  • Building/designing, one time and one way, by a central development organization in partnership with subject matter experts

  • Encouraging BU innovation based on a common solution strategy

  • Enabling technical functions to take ownership of the solutions post-deployment to ensure long-term sustainment.

This approach addresses many of the obstacles inhibiting solution propagation and sustainment in the previous i-field® program.

Placing a technical function at the helm of the central organization helps to ensure solution sustainment, as the technical function generally is positioned to drive solution usage, facilitate business value realization, and promote funding and training. While clearly addressing and improving business workflows helps to garner the support and buy-in from the business community from day one, it can also enable standard solutions that are more easily replicated, deployed and sustained. Furthermore, functional ownership is enhanced via the use of tools, such as dashboards to monitor solution usage, and the application of management processes designating clear leaders intended to promote the solution within their operating environments. Using off-the-shelf software secures vendor support which can also contribute to reliable product performance and sustainment. This approach frees up the UWT central development team to focus on identifying opportunities addressing new business challenges.

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