BP's FIELD OF THE FUTURE concept makes use of sensors, automation, and computer networks to move real time operations data to remote sites for analysis, enabling informed and fast intervention decisions. Realizing the value from BP's FIELD OF THE FUTURE technology investments requires an integrated design and change implementation approach to business processes, information flows, and people's roles: excellent implementation of the enabling technologies alone rarely solves business problems. Since most oil companies have access to similar base technologies, how we approach process, people, and change management is a strategic differentiator in digital oilfields.

Within BP, we now have more than two years of experience in holistically approaching the issues of business strategy, process, people, and technology in E&P operating assets. Some key insights include:

  • Transforming the business starts with process: teams often don't have a holistic view of how they work today, so it is difficult for them to assess the impact of real time information and continuous optimization. Understanding work processes, and their assigned roles, is the logical starting point for this analysis.

  • Building an integrated view of asset activities requires people with systems thinking skills: comparatively few people have the high level view of operating asset integration and information flow to facilitate the development of a current or future work design.

The challenges that remain include:

  • Communicating and positioning the transformation offering

  • Educating implementation project managers about the benefits of including process and people tasks in their plans

  • Establishing reasonable expectations on the engagement and time commitment needed in redesigning and implementing new processes

  • Knowing the right level of analysis: not confusing process with procedure

  • Recognizing the special challenges of greenfield startups: how to start-up a new asset with new processes from day one.

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