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Agility, Analytics, & Cloud - Energy Industry Trio for Accelerating Value

Often, the best way to drive efficiency and growth is to combine disparate elements that complement each other…the ole' 1 + 1 = 3' idiom. This is especially true for the Energy Industry, a sector with immense potential for transformative change. Despite a hesitance to embrace the type of digital transformation efforts necessary to make that change possible, the future is promising. Two key business elements that could significantly aid this shift are analytics and Agility.

First, let us look at the three key topics of interest here: 

Agile: Created for optimizing software development back in 2001, it has since evolved to be best suited for any product that requires Agility to respond quickly to environmental effects, market disruptions, and changing requirements. At this point, the standards and foundations for these "Agile frameworks" have been set, so all that remains to discuss is nuance and applicability to specific situations.

Analytics: In name, analytics is more nascent than Agile, but in practice, it has been around even longer. The recent surge in popularity is due to higher-performance computing and the ability to leverage it for model execution at speed and scale. Things are constantly evolving in modern-day analytics as new technologies frequently emerge.

Energy + Cloud: The oldest of the three. The energy industry has traditionally been a laggard in information technology adoption, including cloud computing. Given the influx of captured data in the energy ecosystem, we can gain significant value from digital transformation efforts and cloud utilization. In this respect, the energy industry remains behind other sectors like finance, insurance, and packaged goods, which have been utilizing analytics, agile, and Cloud for years. 

If Energy doesn't immediately seem like a natural fit for Agile frameworks, that might be because the public sees the Energy Industry through a service mindset. In contrast, Agile is more centered around delivering products. Yet, a change of perspective can overcome this conflict, which can be supported by instituting design thinking practices. These practices start by understanding the end-user's needs, then taking an iterative approach to validate assumptions, improving the user experience, and testing to see where one can drive business impacts. This McKinsey report shows how impactful Agile frameworks can be for heavy industry, improving efficiency and reducing costs. 

Analytics can also be a value driver for the Energy Industry. Manufacturing and other heavy industries are already implementing more digitized and automated "smart factories," which can dramatically cut costs and increase productivity when combined with the proper usage of data and analytics. Insights based on data consistently help manufacturers carve out a competitive advantage, respond to market demands, and enhance product innovation, which is something we can replicate to add value downstream. Additionally, with the growing focus on sustainability, Energy companies could benefit by using analytics to evaluate and reduce oil and gas emissions for one use-case example.

Of course, for analytics to deliver on these possibilities, Energy companies would need to ensure the quality and accessibility of their data. To keep data secure and organized, cloud computing could be hugely beneficial. It enables smooth and efficient operations, securing access to information and data tools while allowing companies to quickly scale up as necessary. Considering that many Energy companies are likely lacking that data infrastructure, embracing the Cloud makes investing in analytics a more reasonable prospect.  Rest assured, it doesn't make sense to bring everything to the Cloud.  Certain heavy workflows (e.g., unstructured seismic use-cases) might benefit from on-prem GPU clusters where costs can be controlled…but in the majority of instances, Cloud can unlock significant benefits for Energy.

Bringing Agile frameworks, data analytics, and Cloud technology into the Energy industry isn't just a possibility, it's a game-changer. These digital solutions have several benefits that drive long-term growth and greatly improve efficiency. Imagine the possibilities of a more agile, data-driven, and scalable Energy Industry. I'm looking forward to seeing how these solutions can serve to transform the Energy industry over the next several years!

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