Most Operators would agree that technology and innovation are critical to remain competitive. Also, most Operators would agree with the statement that effective deployment is key to reap the full benefit from the technology & innovation efforts. Yet, few companies that we know of have effective technology deployment guidelines in place, such that it is clear to staff the steps they need to take to effectively get technology deployed into the business.
When we support Operators with streamlining their technology deployment guidelines, we focus on two main areas:
Technology Deployment guidance for specific technologies while these are still under development, and to ensure that these technologies are ‘deployment ready’.
Technology Deployment guidance for the business; starting from the step to select technologies that can address the business needs, all the way to getting technologies sustainably embedded.
Guidance to make technologies ‘deployment-ready’
Technology deployment shouldn’t start the moment a technology is ready; the work should already start while the technology is still in early stages of development, to ensure that the technology is positioned for success and the transition from development to deployment goes smoothly.
The ‘deployment readiness’ can be assessed with our Tech Positioning Programme, which was described in detail in one of our previous blogs.
With the Tech Positioning Programme, a technology is assessed against ~30 criteria grouped under seven themes, through a structured dialogue with key stakeholders. Based on the outcome of the Tech Positioning Programme, specific actions can be defined to increase the chances of success to get the technology deployed. Our experience is that most challenges for getting technology deployed are non-technical, and the Tech Positioning Programme reflects that.
The outcome of the Tech Positioning Programme is visualized with a spider diagram. The spider diagram visually shows what the score is for the various themes: the percentage of points scored considering the maximum number of points that can be scored. It immediately gives an indication where the weakest links are and where further work needs to be done to make the technology ‘deployment ready’.
We have recently ‘translated’ the Tech Positioning Programme into a simple to use list of questions, still grouped under the same seven themes. The answer to each question is either:
• Not Applicable.
In case the answer is Yes or Not Applicable, 1 point will be given. In case the answer is No, no point is given. Also, in case of No, the action needs to be formulated with a timeline for closure, and it is important to use the dialogue to explore actions that can be taken to turn the answer into Yes. If showstoppers are foreseen, then these need to be clearly articulated.
The number of points – relative to the maximum number that can be scored – gives a simple yet powerful metric on the deployment readiness for each technology, and provides guidance on the decision makers whether a technology is ready to move to the next stage of development.
Realistically, there will be many open items at the early stages of development of a technology. As the project progresses, more information is available such that the score increases. By the time that a technology is ready for deployment, a 100% score should be realised. If that is not the case, then the ‘residual risk’ needs to be clearly articulated.
To illustrate the type of questions being asked, let’s take the first theme: Perceived Business Impact. This theme may sound trivial and easy, but actually it is not. It is important to make a realistic assessment of the impact in terms of cost reduction, production (or uptime) enhancement, safety exposure reduction, CO2 emission reduction or potentially other business performance indicators. This will then have to be presented to the appropriate person in the customer organization. The customer will only buy into the solution if they believe the business impact numbers.
To assess how you’re doing against this theme, various questions are being asked including the following ones.
1. Has a lead customer for implementation of the technology been identified? Rationale for question: has the Project Owner thoroughly thought about the first potential customer for the technology?
2. Do you have a specific person in the customer organization identified as the main contact? Rationale for question: has the Project Owner thoroughly thought about whom to contact? Ideally the Asset Manager would be contacted, but it may be difficult to get his/her time. Hence often it may be required to target the movers and shakers around the Asset Manager, or people one or two levels down who still have sufficient decision authority, or who can influence the decision maker.
Although the two questions as per above are simple questions, they usually result in a lot of debate on who the real customer and/or decision maker is, and how this person needs to be approached and influenced, either directly and indirectly. And that is exactly the aim with the Tech Positioning Programme: to think through in detail what is needed to get technology deployment done!
Technology Deployment guidance for the business
Providing technology deployment guidance for a specific technology project – as per the previous section – is important, but not sufficient to get technology deployment going. A business perspective is critical as well, and a number of elements need to be in place.
1. An overview of business needs of each asset and project of your company.
2. A Technology Catalogue, containing information about technologies that can address the business needs. There is no need to create and build such Technology Catalogue from scratch. This is where TechnologyCatalogue.com can help, or a customised version of the platform. See our recent post “Combining the best of both worlds with a customised, ring-fenced platform”
3. A structured process for selecting the right technologies, and for defining the key actions to make the deployments happen; captured in a Technology Plan, see our recent post: How to build a technology plan
4. A structured process for getting the selected technologies deployed.
5. A feedback loop, to ensure that learnings are captured and fed back to the technology developers.
6. Visual management tools in support of the above.
A customised, ring-fenced platform for your company
In our previous post, we described the value of a customised, ‘ring-fenced’ platform to your company. Such a platform will equip you with your own technology catalogue, as per bullet 2 above.
The environment can be enhanced further by embedding all other elements as described in this article, this way making it one single platform from where you can manage the technology deployment activities of your company.
Technology deployment does not happen automatically. Active guidance needs to be given as the technology is being matured, to ensure that the technology is positioned for success and ‘deployment ready’. Also, active guidance needs to be given to assets and projects to select the right technologies, and to take all the right steps to get the technology sustainably embedded.
Please contact us at email@example.com for further information, or to discuss further!
The founders of TechnologyCatalogue.com led technology deployment activities in support of assets across Shell. Over 600 deployments were successfully delivered, resulting in a very significant impact on safety, production and cost. We understand what it takes to get technology deployed, including all change management aspects related to it. Since starting TechnologyCatalogue.com in March 2018, we have supported multiple Operators in Upstream and Downstream with technology deployment.
Our platform TechnologyCatalogue.com was developed based on the first-hand experience that it is often difficult for decision-makers to stay up to date on available technology-driven improvement opportunities for their business. It was launched in Q3 2018 and is steadily growing in terms of content & functionality. Since the launch, ~30,000 unique users have accessed the platform. We’re also developing customised versions of the platform. For example, jointly with National Energy Resources Australia, we have delivered a customised version of the portal for Australia (Nera.TechnologyCatalogue.com)
In addition to TechnologyCatalogue.com, we also support suppliers and end-users with getting technology deployment done, through consultancy & workshops.