A quote from Eliyahu Goldratt’s "Necessary but not Sufficient" concisely defines how we should correctly approach the deployment of technology; "Technology is a necessary condition, but it's not sufficient."
The method provides for two types of conditions for the application of concepts, namely necessary (what are the required attributes) and sufficient(the minimum required attributes to qualify). In this discourse, participants jointly exert themselves through a process of ongoing reductive questioning to identify the necessary and sufficient conditions for the submission of a specific concept.
Other than extensive investment in technology, managers must ensure a variety of other aspects are under control in order to ensure that they maximise the business benefit available from their exploration applications (Nor, 2001). This is crucial when deploying a visualisation environment in an exploration department – a facility designed to enhance collaboration and decision making. Goldratt’s mantra applies closely here where the considerable investment in technology is indeed essential, but if treated in isolation will not deliver the expected business benefits to the exploration department, nor the operating enterprise.
"To reap the benefits at the time new technology is installed, we must also change the rules that recognize the existence of the limitation"; Goldratt was stating that the introduction of improved technology must be complimented with a consideration of existing work practices and values, to ensure maximum value is extracted from the improved capability. To this end, throughout the planning and design of PetroSA’s new Collaboration and Visualization Environment (CVE) - the first of its kind in South Africa - this high technology facility was positioned as a change enabler.
This paper describes how the new CVE has begun to embed change in the way geoscientists and drilling teams interact, thereby significantly improving the performance associated with a number of processes in the exploration and operations divisions of this National Oil Company.
Four examples of identified constraints are described in detail, supporting Goldratt’s hypothesis of championing new processes and working practices in order to create demonstrable operational improvement; in this case in a geoscience visualisation facility. Outlines are given as to how such change in working practices was undertaken, the importance of ongoing measurement of effectiveness and how such a change management journey was undertaken with the establishment of a Management Plan, in order to ensure that improvement is continuous.
This paper describes this journey from the Theory of Constraints point of view, whilst conveying the understanding that it is acceptable to know an end goal, but accept that the journey to success will alter depending on several aspects during design and implementation, whilst the goals remain non-negotiable.