How long have you been at your current company and how did you come to be in the oil and gas industry?
I joined Element Analytics as CEO in October 2015. I’ve worked for technology companies providing software, controls systems and analytical solutions to asset intensive industries, including oil and gas, for nearly two decades.
Aside from low commodity prices what do you believe is the greatest challenge to our industry’s future growth?
In upstream, the risk has clearly shifted to production, to finding ways to operate assets in a world class way which means hiring, training and retaining world class people. These people have to be armed with the best technologies available to do their job. Using technology to radically change the performance and reach of engineers and operators, what some call Digital Transformation, is a hard, but essential thing to achieve. This is also certainly true in LNG/midstream and downstream.
How do you ensure you are in a position to overcome this challenge?
We’re not an operator, we’re an enabler of digital transformation helping customers overcome the challenge. Our job is to understand our customers business objectives and to build great software to help them achieve great outcomes. Tech companies can tend to be arrogant, especially those located in Silicon Valley. We work hard to listen to customers and make sure we’re designing toward transformational impact for their business.
Where do you see the greatest opportunity in today’s global oil and gas markets and how will you capitalise on this?
Helping operators get greater value out of their dark data, the mountains of data being collected but that can’t be used for analytics, machine learning and even artificial intelligence because it’s simply too hard to work with, it’s too messy. This data has the potential to drive breakthrough outcomes, whether reducing deferments or avoiding incidents, the use cases are endless.
If you could wave a magic wand over our industry, what would you change and why?
Organizational and cultural misalignment between the business (OT) and information technology (IT). There’s a lot of talk about the value of IT/OT solutions, however initiatives often fail for lack of cooperation and shared sacrifice between the two. Some companies are working to address this by hiring a Chief Digital Officer, and oil and gas is behind in this area. For a second wand wave I’d fix procurement processes which in many cases have moved procurement teams off-shore, away from the actual buyers/users, and often don’t know how to procure advanced technologies. This slows adoption and harms innovation.
What are the strategic priorities for your company in the next 12 months?
To continue adding world class talent to our team in order to deliver a product that helps our customers succeed in new ways they never before thought were possible.
What differentiates your company from similar companies working in the region(s) in which you operate?
Empathy and experience solving complex data problems with off the shelf software, particularly time series sensor-generated data. The only other choice up until now was to solve the dark data problem by hiring an army of system integrators and consultants, which is costly and doesn’t scale.
How would you describe your company in one sentence to a new client/partner/investor?
Element Analytics helps companies unlock their industrial data, making it easier to achieve new levels of insight and performance.
What takeaways would you like attendees at our World Oil & Gas Week to go home with regarding your company?
We may be a Silicon Valley-based start-up, but we have deep experience, understanding, and empathy for the complex business challenges faced by our customers which we delight in helping them solve.
What advice would you pass onto a recent graduate wishing to work in oil & gas?
Know how to code. Even for non-engineering jobs, basic coding skills can help you access analytical tools and data to gain new insights and solve problems.