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Beating Downtime in Offshore Oil and Gas with Smart Technologies and Social Collaboration

Organisations that operate with scores of contractors in remote and rugged locations – whether deep underground or offshore – face many unique challenges. Underground mining and offshore oil and gas production businesses operate around the clock in unforgiving environments. Operations must run safely and with minimum downtime.

What is the price downtime for these drillers and diggers? It can be up to US$5 million per day, according to a report on the Operations and Sustainment program from the Cooperative Research Centre for Advanced Composite Structures [1].

Logistical planning has always been a crucial part of working cost-effectively to maximise safety and minimise the risk and cost of downtime on platforms and remote sites. Now, technological innovation and social collaboration are increasingly playing a role in empowering ‘connected technicians’ in isolated environments to achieve those goals. The role of innovative technologies in improving the sustainability and efficiency of offshore oil and gas equipment was the topic of a recent address by Dr. Florian Bell, a smart systems design expert from Siemens[2].

The importance of creating a culture of social collaboration in field service in remote, rugged and offshore sites can’t be underestimated. Rich media and social content and instant connectivity enable up-to-date service information and real-time collaboration like never before.

Offshore Oil and Gas Solution

The social collaboration features of ServiceMax, using Chatter on the platform, and mobile access to a company’s knowledge base (even when the technician is not connected to a mobile network) are powerful tools for contracted third party technicians coming on-site to service and fix equipment.

The platform can be used to automatically create Preventative Maintenance (PM) work orders and schedules so that machines keep running, and their operators stay productive.  It can also be used for value-added service delivery that improves safety and optimises time spent on site, such as facilitating and completing remote site induction before a contractor or technician arrives at the location.

The ServiceMax suite of cloud-based, collaborative and mobile field service applications includes built-in social collaboration, real-time customer and partner portal access and location technologies to overcome the tyranny of distance – and the high cost of even a minute’s downtime.

The result is a ‘connected technician’ who can use social collaboration for enhanced service delivery. When field service ‘goes social’, technicians can use ServiceMax inbuilt social collaboration to ask questions from the field and gain instant access to peers and product experts.

This fosters a knowledge-based community, where learnings can be easily shared anywhere, anytime and questions asked of a global team, including third party partners. That knowledge and information can be accessed and reused over and over - all these conversations become part of a searchable repository.

It means improved first time fix rates - and happy customers, because technicians are empowered to get the answers they need while on site, avoiding costly second truck rolls or return visits to off-shore locations. That can mean significant savings for remote and offshore projects where a return visit could mean a one-to-three day trip to fly in an expert.

One example of the tangible benefits of social collaboration and the smart use of cloud and mobile technologies is a ServiceMax ServicePulse implementation by a US$22 billion international firm. This firm launched a global knowledge sharing initiative for 23,000 field repair users around the world to post questions for peers and contribute new knowledge. As a result, more than 300,000 issues were solved in a single year, generating an estimated annual saving of US$12 million.

More than just a social network, social field service solutions transform the way companies collaborate around field service, while providing business insight to executives and their teams. Even the machines themselves can take part; with capabilities enabling internet-connected devices to post to a feed if an issue requires service. It’s all part of the so-called Internet-of-Things revolution, a theme likely to be central once more to the Salesforce Dreamforce 2014 event this month in San Francisco.

Ultimately, social collaboration (as part of a field service solution) puts a whole team behind a single technician sent to a remote customer site, with quantifiable business upside – and less downtime.

Sydney-based ProQuest Consulting is a Platinum Partner for and strategic implementation partner for ServiceMax.  ServiceMax is a cloud-based application leveraging the world's leading cloud platform,

[1] Source: CRC for Advanced Composite Structures
[2] Source:

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