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Enterprise Software: What The Energy Industry Is Aiming For With Its Digitization Efforts

According to a recent study by IFS, a third of companies in the oil and gas industry and utilities have set themselves the goal of integration and collaboration when implementing new enterprise software. Also, every third company sees problems in measuring and defining the ROI.

A study commissioned by IFS shows that more than three out of ten companies in the oil and gas industry and utilities aim for integration and collaboration when implementing new enterprise software. They are among the most critical drivers of change. For 30 percent of the companies surveyed, better project management is crucial. For 29 percent more efficient asset lifecycle management and greater operational efficiency count above all.

The survey also showed that 44 percent of companies with clearly defined sustainability goals want to invest more in energy-efficient systems and corresponding infrastructure to achieve their goals. As part of the study commissioned by IFS, more than 600 decision-makers from large energy companies in Europe, the USA, Australia, Japan, and the Middle East were interviewed.

Enterprise Software: Barriers To Change

However, there are some barriers to investment and change. The main focus is on defining and measuring the ROI of enterprise software such as EAM and ERP. 29 percent state that the problems with accurately measuring value creation in digital transformation are significant and challenging to overcome. A fifth still sees this hurdle as the greatest in the transformation.

Businesses need more clarity and certainty about what EAM and ERP systems can deliver: 79 percent want enterprise software to be able to define and measure key KPIs embedded. The participating companies locate such KPIs primarily in the use of resources (34 percent), the longer service life of systems (30 percent), and higher system reliability (28 percent).

The report identifies other barriers that stand in the way of enterprise software adoption in the energy sector. Twenty-six percent complain about a lack of clarity concerning the required resources and skills, and 19 percent lack clear business cases, which would make an adoption appear expensive. Another hurdle is the lack of consensus on priorities within senior management, led by as much as 24 percent. Only 17 percent of the participating companies stated that they had already gone through and completed a digital transformation. They follow different approaches: 65 percent implement the functions successively, and 18 percent start with an asset management solution.

Introduction Of Advanced Asset Management

More than a third (37 percent) see an asset management strategy as one of the aspects of digital transformation with the most significant immediate impact. Almost three-quarters (74 percent) emphasise the advantage of better maintenance with “predictive” elements. With the energy sector’s current challenges, tools to maximise operability and efficiency through better management are all the more valuable.

When asked about their expectations of an asset management solution, many participants cited new perspectives in scheduling and disposition (71 percent) right after the optimised maintenance options, as well as improved supply chain management and reduced inventory costs (70 percent), greater mobility (69 percent) and support for compatible units (69 percent). Concerning the digital transformation, 38 percent rate sustainably generated energy as the most critical factor for their company – ahead of new business models and an asset management strategy (37 percent each).

Innovative Technologies Are Wanted

According to the survey, there is a strong demand for innovative technologies: 72 percent consider data analysis very important, 70 percent cite virtual assistants, and 69 percent the Internet of Things (IoT). The customer experience is significant for suppliers (20 percent). Almost a third (29 percent) want to ensure more automation here. At least 26 percent have already done so and now see significant improvements, including concrete added value.

Thomas Knorr, Field CTO / Head of Presales – Europe North & Central IFS: “The survey shows that the hardly available possibilities for calculating the ROI through the enterprise software are hindering the progress of the digital transformation. Companies in the energy sector are generally more risk-averse and particularly tied to the requirements of politicians and other relevant stakeholders who demand an ROI. If you can’t name a specific number here, you won’t make any progress with the change.”

Flexible Enterprise Software Guarantees Stable ROI

Knorr continues: “Such hurdles can now be overcome by particularly progressive software providers – above all through combinable platforms with which the pain points can be tackled bit by bit, and thus a stable ROI can arise over time. Due to the economic and social pressures on the industry, inaction is not an option. Fortunately, almost all companies now understand this very well.” According to the survey, 57 percent of oil and gas sellers and utilities have started digital transformation projects and are looking for a platform to support their journey. Only 38 percent opted for a niche solution.

IFS develops and delivers global business solutions from the cloud that produce and sell goods, build and maintain plants and provide services. IFS combines all industry-specific solutions on a single platform and connects them through a standard data model. Integrated digital innovations are available to users exactly when it is essential to them – at the moment of service.

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