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Cloud Sharing Can Cut Costs in the Energy and Resources Industry

Energy and resource development was a big data industry long before big data became all the rage. If you work in the industry you also know how challenging it is to connect your remote locations, and your remote teams, to ensure regular communication and collaboration across your organization.

Many factors around regulatory oversight and diversified operations can be addressed by a document-sharing platform that is secure, mobile and robust to ensure the right data gets to the people whenever they need it.

Unique challenges that energy and resources companies face

Equipment and human resources must be managed to ensure isolated exploration and extraction sites operate safely and at peak efficiency. The logistics alone around the transportation, storage, processing and distribution of resources can be mind-boggling. And let’s not forget the stringent environmental standards that govern every aspect of the operation.

All these considerations rely on reams of data, from automated monitoring sensors and reports from field geologists, to employee time sheets and fuel consumption reports for your heavy equipment.

But in a diversified business, this data can be spread across multiple servers that don’t communicate, trapped on spreadsheets saved on a single desktop, or even scrawled on a clipboard that’s been left in a site foreman’s truck. There can also be different systems for each type of data, be it customer data, financial data or project data.

This means staff in one part of your organization are blind to what their peers are doing in another. They may not be able to access critical information when they need it, or even know it exists, or likewise cannot share information they have that may impact on  other aspects of your business. Mistakes and oversights occur, time is wasted and money is lost.

The answer is in the cloud

The solution is a cloud-based document-sharing system that allows any worker to communicate, collaborate and share data and documents with any other worker. All they need is a desktop computer, laptop or other mobile device with a cellular or Internet connection.

A cloud-based document-sharing system helps put all the data that each of your employees need at their fingertips. Documents can be updated in real-time and data can be securely backed up by default. Everything becomes easier, from remote inspections and safety audits, to maintenance, repair and overhaul work. Because of this, cloud sharing has the potential to help you streamline processes and cut costs across your business – and even help maintain regulatory compliance.

But not all cloud-based document-sharing systems are created equal. Qualify your choice of cloud service by the reputation and track record of the software vendor behind it and the support offered by its provider – in other words, look for a name you know and trust.

SharePoint, part of Microsoft’s Office 365 suite, is one such solution to consider.

According to The Hackett Group, $1-billion enterprises in various industries have, on average, 48 different financial management systems and two to three different enterprise resource planning systems. In other words, larger organizations were operating numerous systems that left data trapped in silos.

Microsoft embarked on a program called Business Critical SharePoint (BCSP) to break down these silos and connect systems, to enable more informed decision-making and drive business value.

After three years, the enterprises participating in the BCSP program achieved annual cost savings of 80% on average. How? By decreasing business risk and increasing output based on being able to make more accurate and timely business decisions. This approach, and the resulting benefits, is highly relevant to the data-heavy energy and resource sector.

The bottom line

Cloud-based document-sharing systems have come a long way in terms of their security and versatility, to allow true real-time collaboration between the head office, the truck stop, the offshore rig and even the Arctic drill site.

But stick with a name you can trust, to ensure you have the reliability and support that you need, and the full capabilities you require in the field.

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