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IoE-Powered Business Transformation Boosts Agility and Efficiency for Oil and Gas Companies

This week I’m attending CERAWeek, the premier international gathering of energy industry leaders, experts, government officials, policymakers, and innovators. While this is the 34th annual CERAWeek conference, the mood is definitely not “business as usual.” The disruption and uncertainty created by plunging oil prices and shifting market dynamics has created the urgency throughout the industry to rethink strategies and adopt connected technologies to spur operational efficiencies.

But disruption can also create opportunity. Forward-thinking oil and gas (O&G) firms see today’s turbulent market as an opportunity to gain competitive advantage by harnessing new technologies. For example, in the Eagle Ford region in North America, improved drilling technologies are now enabling oil rigs to produce 18 times more efficiently than in 2008, and 65 percent more efficiently than in 2013.

A new study by Cisco highlights the opportunity to achieve even greater efficiencies through transformed business models and digital technologies powered by the Internet of Everything (IoE)—the networked connection of people process, data, and things.

With IoE, oil and gas firms have the opportunity to make IT services a commodity in the business, creating the potential for dramatic cost reduction and improved operational efficiency. The illustration below shows several ways O&G operations can benefit from connected technologies. To achieve these benefits, however, they will need to bring together both the IT and the operational technology (OT) sides of the business. Our survey indicates that oil and gas firms have a long way to go in breaking down the barriers between IT and OT. In fact, only 41 percent of respondents “completely” or “somewhat” agreed that their firms’ IT and OT strategies are aligned.

OandG_Digital_Tranform_01

Source: Cisco, 2015

Here are some examples of how IT-OT convergence can impact the areas of data, collaboration, and cybersecurity: Read More »

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A Turning Point for Oil and Gas: Managing Through Turbulence to Digital Transformation

This is a big week for the global energy industry, as thousands of energy leaders, experts, technologists, and policymakers gather in Houston, Texas, for the 34th annual CERAWeek conference, the premier international event for the industry. As a corporate sponsor of the event, it’s also a big week for Cisco.

Just last week, Cisco released a new report focused on the need for digital transformation in the oil and gas industry. Based on a survey of oil and gas executives, analysts, and consultants in 14 countries, the paper validates CERAWeek’s “oil day” theme, “Turning Point for the Oil Industry.” For forward-thinking oil and gas companies, the price volatility and turbulence in the market could represent a turning point toward true digital transformation. Read More »

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R & D Moves to Partnership Model: Technology Strategy is Critical

Recently, the Economist highlighted the shift from government funded models to private funded models for R & D.  As we know, R&D serves as the font of new ideas and leads to mass transformation of industries.  Concepts such as the internet and satellite communications resulted in part from publicly funded R&D.
This is a real change for leading corporations. This puts more pressure on manufacturing companies to find and leverage key technologies to deliver new products and compete.  Most manufacturing companies focus on core capabilities. They typically licensed or purchased technologies that enabled continued operation.  But these were not partnerships. This could be very effective for a ‘fast follower’ company.  Innovative companies have typically used a range of R & D funding sources, especially internal, to fuel innovation.
But the rules are changing! New industries are emerging that require a new strategic approach to R&D and innovation. Companies that do not adapt will be disrupted. Read More »

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Technology Innovation: Disrupt—or Be Disrupted

An explosion of new technologies is creating new winners and losers in nearly every industry. You only have to look at the changing fortunes of Apple and Hewlett-Packard in the personal computer/tablet arena over the last decade to see how innovation can propel one company into superstar status, while another becomes irrelevant in the same market space.

So how can companies gain and hold an edge in technology innovation? In an engagement with a major global manufacturer, Cisco IBSG identified three key factors in the product innovation process that companies must clearly understand and be able to orchestrate:

  • Technology Strategy: Develop a technology strategy based on internal and external scans of rapidly emerging capabilities. These should include an assessment of each technology’s ability to disrupt, its stage of incubation, differentiating factors, competitive alternatives, and identification of platform choices. Developing a business and technology architecture for how the technology fits into your company’s platform portfolio is a critical step in this analysis.
  • Ecosystem Management: Arrange and manage ecosystem partners by assessing the need for technologies to perform certain functions that extend beyond your own internal capabilities, such as the ability to connect to a broader environment. You will need to understand existing and future profit pools to validate partner choices. For example, providing “smart services,” such as analytics, can extend a product’s useful life and be the source of long-term profitability, for both you and the ecosystem partners that deliver them.
  • Market Interactions: Prepare and execute detailed plans for managing market interactions, from initial introduction through full-scale market management. This includes an ongoing analysis of customer reactions, portfolio management, media communications, and potential competitors.

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Looking back on 2009 – The Future of Cisco UCS

With all the news over the last few days regarding the continuing growth of Cisco UCS, sometimes it worth taking a step back to look at how we got here. For me, I took a look at a blog post I wrote in March 2009 (pre-FCS), and it’s interesting to see how much mindset shifting has happened in such a short period of time.

A couple of important things should jump out at you:

  • Cisco UCS is a simpler, more powerful way of building Data Center (or Cloud) infrastructure.
  • While change can be hard, a change to Cisco UCS doesn’t have to be difficult for your organization or your IT staff.
  • The short, medium and long-term vision for Cisco UCS (even from an outsider’s point of view) was clear back in 2009, well before we laid out Cisco’s strategy to evolve the Data Center of the future.
  • Even as server technology has evolved over the past two years, the core UCS architecture focus on automation has continued to differentiate the product.
  • No company has greater experience in helping customers transition through technology and business shifts, as is evident by the diagram above. In today’s confusing IT environment, businesses look to technology partners they can trust to help them through transitions and deliver solutions that are ahead of the curve.

Read More »

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