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BPM delivers operational gains to midstream, upstream oil and gas operations

Ben Farrell
August 23, 2012

It is easy to see technology terminology like business process management and think about an employee in a suit, cloistered in a cubicle, trying to make sense of data from social, mobile and cloud sources. However, the role of BPM software actually goes well beyond the enterprise, as the technology is becoming increasingly important for upstream and midstream oil and gas operations.

The oil and gas industry is amid a period of change. While always dependent on advanced technologies that track the location of natural resources and assist with drilling and raw material delivery, the ways that such systems are supported is changing. For example, the increased availability of fiber-optic cable systems is leading to thousands of miles of pipeline lined with optical networks and monitoring devices that provide real-time data on resource delivery, environmental conditions and possible threats to the integrity of the line.

These kinds of advances in monitoring created by the ubiquitous nature of networking technology in wired, wireless and mobile forms can overwhelm oil and gas companies if they are not prepared to sift through data effectively and analyze it quickly.

The incoming data streams that many traditional businesses face are impacting oil and gas companies as well. They have to deal with much more than the industry-specific data that comes in from pipelines, drilling equipment and other sources. They also have to sift through unstructured data from their customers, mine social media channels to notice when customers talk about them and to respond to problems, use transactional and consumer data to improve service and perform many of the other activities handled by traditional businesses.

Sifting through all of this data can be extremely challenging in an industry that often requires specialized data management tools without the increased content created by social media and other consumer channels. These trends are making BPMfor utilities solutions an essential part of operations for many oil and gas companies. With BPM, organizations can identify the context of information and automate many of the repeatable tasks that can bog workers down. As such, midstream and upstream operations can be streamlined so that oil and gas companies can have their workers focus on analyzing key information and solving problems, rather than sorting through large databases filled with content that may not be useful at that moment.