Digital disruption is transforming virtually every role in every industry. Every day I see how the proliferation of online, mobile, and social interactions has created the need for completely new marketing strategies—and completely new skillsets for marketing professionals. We can see this same disruption across industries, as the Internet of Everything (IoE) creates fundamental transformation through the networked connection of people, process, data, and things.

For example, we recently published a new report that shows a global oil and gas (O&G) industry awash with disruption, and primed for digital transformation. Low oil prices have upended the sector, spurring an urgent rethinking of strategy by oil and gas executives—and accelerating the adoption of IoE.

This disruption is one of many factors impacting the oil and gas workforce today—from field workers all the way to the executive suite. Not only will new skills be required in an industry transformed by IoE, but new digital processes will also be needed to transfer knowledge, collaborate to solve problems in real time, and capture insights from a torrent of digital data.

To become agile enough to compete in the IoE Era, the oil and gas workforce must possess a mix of technical skills, industry knowledge, and business acumen. With talent shortages due to massive numbers of professionals retiring over the next few years—and a lack of necessary digital skills among those who remain— O&G firms need to make bold moves to transform their workforce strategy.

  1. Extend the reach of existing expertise –Video-based collaboration can help bridge the expected talent gap by making the most of professional expertise that is spread too thin, as well as providing ongoing training throughout the organization. Video and web collaboration can effectively bring remote experts to any location, without the need for travel. For example, Saipem, an Italian oilfield services company, has employed high-definition video conferencing to cut travel costs, boost productivity, and provide subject-matter expertise throughout the company and with partners.
Real-time collaboration tools are increasingly important for far-flung oil and gas organizations.

  1. Attract digitally-savvy talent – As up to 50 percent of oil and gas workers prepare for retirement in the next five to 10 years, who will be the next generation of workers that replaces them? An earlier Cisco report showed the next wave of digital transformation will be all about capturing timely, actionable insights from the deluge of data being generated by the Internet of Things (IoT), a key enabler of IoE. Companies will need to attract data scientists and other critical thinkers who can identify data that has real business value—and develop the delivery path for information into the right parts of the business to significantly impact the bottom line.
  1. Bridge the silos – In addition to analytics expertise, O&G companies will need employees who can see and work across the boundaries between IT and operational technology (OT). Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed in the oil and gas study mentioned earlier do not believe their IT and OT organizations are aligned. IT needs people who understand the operational requirements of industrial control systems, and OT needs people who can work with IT on network integration and security. The greatest value, however, will come from employees whose knowledge intersects data science, design, and enterprise architecture. To deliver true value, data insights must link to specific business processes and outcomes.
  1. Create a culture of innovation – O&G companies don’t compete just with each other for top talent, they compete with the likes of Google and Facebook. The best and brightest data scientists and software engineers want to be on the leading edge of innovation, not mired in “the way we’ve always done it.” In addition to using IoE-enabled technologies to increase efficiencies across the business and orchestrate better training opportunities, companies should use these technologies to drive innovation and create the dynamic culture that will attract the best new talent.

Just as marketers now need the skills of the Twitter era, oil and gas firms need to prepare for the workforce of the future — one that can drive the transformational opportunities promised by IoE outcomes.


Karen Walker

Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer