Three Ways to Inventory Data Processes at Your Downstream Oil and Gas Organization

The need for digital modernization in downstream oil and gas can no longer be ignored — and according to our recent survey with Forrester Consulting, decision-makers are aware.

With pressures to expand partner networks, enhance customer experiences, manage continuing challenges around COVID-19 and extreme weather events, and grapple with geopolitical issues, downstream firms must evolve their legacy processes and technologies to stay competitive. And while 72% of survey respondents agreed that digital modernization is a top priority for their business — rivaling revenue growth in importance — many have not made progress towards their goal.

Here are three ways you can get started.


1. Analyze your current data processes

Start with a cataloged understanding of your current environment. This will help you build support to fill the gaps with individual systems and uncover opportunities for enhanced system integration and additional data insights. Identify existing methods to evaluate data gathering and processes.

Ask yourself which steps require manual data conversion and entry, and which are automated. Ideally, invite your colleagues to help identify the most challenging and time-consuming tasks they encounter each day. Also, note which processes they find the most efficient and explore what makes them so.


2. Mind the gap in your oil and gas partnerships — and their processes

With the information from your data process analysis in hand and your working knowledge of your system’s biggest pain points, it’s time to clearly define the gaps and what needs to happen for you to successfully bridge them.

72% of survey respondents agreed that digital modernization is a top priority.

The questions to ask include, how many steps will it take to convert or process data? Is there a way to reduce or automate the effort? How long does each process take, and what is required to shorten the timeline? How often do errors occur, and how are they corrected?

In today’s ultra-connected world, your company likely shares data with partners or other organizations. Ask yourself what gaps may exist in those relationships. Poor integration between legacy processes and systems can result in supply chain breakdowns, which is why the broader industry needs digital modernization.


3. Measure the impact on your business

Once you know where gaps exist, you’ll have a better idea of where to start optimizing your system. You might also ask yourself where an automated digital workflow could make the biggest positive impact on your organization. The answer will help you quantify the benefits of implementation.

As you quantify, consider how many work hours it could reduce in a day, week, and month. Is there a specific step in the workflow where automation could reduce the number of errors made? Determine what that could mean to your bottom line. What is the return on investment, not only in cost but also in time? Next, think about available technology. Can it integrate with your existing systems? Is it compatible with your current processes?

For partnerships, what would it take to create a collaborative and secure sharing economy? Which digital capabilities do your partners have that could be paired or integrated with existing platforms? What would be the ROI of investing in shared economy platforms or APIs? Quantifying those benefits is critical to leadership buy-in; they’ll want to know precisely how the project will help achieve their key business objectives.


Better efficiencies fuel bigger margins

These three steps will help prepare your organization for its digital modernization journey, which is essential to remaining competitive in today’s increasingly challenging industry. The greater productivity and efficiencies provide a significant leg up over organizations that stick to slow, manual processes.

Companies that rely on lagging indicators to gauge digital efficiencies won’t have an accurate picture of the impact on their bottom lines. Identifying and measuring processes ensures you have the real-time insights you need to be agile and confidently adjust as necessary. More than ever, greater speed and efficiency are driving bigger margins in downstream fuel transactions.


Get more digital modernization insights

Understand the impacts on downstream oil and gas by reading our industry research study. Download it today.