Building applications better, smarter, faster
New business realities for oil and gas industry
Today’s oil and gas businesses are learning to adjust to new economic, regulatory and social realities that are quickly transforming the industry. To balance risk and cost, companies need applications that can document, track and manage enormous volumes of sensitive information that is critical to well lifecycle management, health and safety, stakeholder and owner relations, asset management, operations management and other key business functions. All too often, companies invest in point solutions that quickly turn into bottlenecks and show diminishing returns.
Maximizing application performance, minimizing expense
To deliver highly specialized industry-specific capabilities, oil and gas companies typically must build custom line of business (LOB) applications or buy targeted point solutions off the shelf. The build or buy decision hinges on hard choices between capabilities, budget and delivery time. Building a custom application in-house might be more expensive up front, but developers are able to produce an application that closely fits the company’s business needs. Buying a point solution to manage a specialized process is great – until your needs exceed the application’s capabilities. Both approaches are subject to maintenance challenges, rising support costs, and difficulties keeping pace with technology innovations.
Flexible, cost effective application development
Microsoft Dynamics xRM gives oil and gas companies a flexible, cost effective rapid development platform to deliver mission-critical line of business (LOB) applications. xRM provides the capability to easily build enterprise ready, vertical-specific applications, using simple to complex data models. Just as important, Xrm integrates with both legacy and current enterprise systems through an application programming interface
(API). Essentially, xRM is the application framework from which Microsoft Dynamics CRM is delivered. Dynamics CRM provides native functionality for sales and service operations; the xRM framework enables the extensibility to perform data and business process modeling. This allows businesses to quickly and easily develop rich applications, and just as quickly put them to work.
Meet today’s business needs; anticipate tomorrow’s
MCA Connect xRM Solutions for Oil and Gas, based on the Microsoft Dynamics xRM platform, offer the best of both the custom development and off the shelf application approaches. MCA Connect leverages Xrm to deliver a hybrid approach that provides both industry specific, packaged xRM functionality and userconfigurable capabilities. That means faster application delivery, more reusability, better business fit and lower total cost of ownership. Does it sometimes seem like there’s a new business requirement every ten minutes?
Does it sometimes seem like there’s a new business requirement every ten minutes?
New processes. New industry standards. New regulatory mandates. New market challenges.
In this dynamic business environment, change is the only constant. To stay competitive and meet the new requirements for business, you have to address today’s evolving technology needs while anticipating what’s coming tomorrow.
Oil and gas companies are complex businesses operating in a complex industry. And that means documenting, tracking and managing high volumes of sensitive information critical to all aspects of the operation, like well lifecycle management, asset and equipment maintenance, health and safety compliance, stakeholder and owner relations, regulatory compliance, and operations management.
Navigating the maze of legal, environmental, public relations, technology and operational requirements forces oil and gas enterprises to invest in building and buying all kinds of point applications to address specific industry or process needs. In fact, some global energy giants run and support hundreds of different software systems. Whether it’s a few dozen or several hundred, these systems can be cumbersome to integrate and maintain, opening the door to costly inefficiencies.
Rather than buying or building a “real” solution, organizations can easily get caught in the trap of using familiar tools to meet specific demands. It’s very tempting to just build input/output worksheets in Excel. In the past, IT professionals relied on tools like Lotus Notes to achieve fast development of business applications. These tools were great for the time. On the upside, using them involved little coding and allowed developers to quickly and easily build databases and forms. On the downside, scalability and extensibility were limited at best.
So many point solutions to manage. So little reuse across lines of business. Forget about achieving economies of scale. And there’s the never ending challenge of retaining skilled resources to master and manage these disparate solutions.
To drive margins and profits, oil and gas companies need to be agile. They need to be responsive to today’s needs and proactively adapt to where the market will turn next. How can oil and gas companies get the functionality they need without throwing time and money down the drain? Where is the simple, cost effective software solution to meet specific, unique business needs?
The bottom line: Agility is the key to driving margins and profits.
Buy or Build: Commercial Application vs Custom Development
When oil and gas companies need vertical-specific line of business (LOB) capabilities, they have to develop or purchase highly specialized applications to do the job. Faced with hard choices between capabilities, budget and delivery time, oil and gas companies are looking at two problem-riddled approaches. Both approaches are subject to maintenance challenges and difficulties in keeping pace with technology innovations. Over time, performance degrades and the cost of supporting and maintaining these legacy applications increases.
Either choice – buying packaged solutions off the shelf or developing custom applications – presents its own unique set of challenges and benefits.
Buying an off-the-shelf solution to manage a specialized process is less expensive up front than building a custom application from the ground up, but may not have all the capabilities the company needs. So even if the purchased application natively provides 60% of the needed functionality and 80% once you configure it, you may never get the missing 20%.
These solutions can be deployed quicker and more smoothly than custom software because they’re built by dedicated, highly specialized development teams, and extensively tested by both the developer and by other businesses. However, a purchased solution can’t deliver the same efficiency as custom software. And, commercial software can accrue high support and maintenance costs. Addressing technical issues can put you at the mercy of a vendor who controls the cost and level of service.
By contrast, building a custom application might be more expensive up front, but your in-house developers are able to produce an application that more closely fits the company’s business needs. When you build it yourself, you can meet initial specifications and start off with precisely the customization you need. You have greater control to address specific requirements that commercial products can’t.
But, your corporate development team may lack the expertise and resource depth to create more advanced capabilities the business needs as you grow and evolve. Updating the code could be more trouble than it’s worth and lead to bugs and glitches, or increase your reliance on outside consultants. Custom software also tends to lack scalability, and upgrades can be troublesome. Because the underlying and inter-dependent technology is constantly evolving, you may have difficulty adapting to new platforms in the future. While a custom application may work well initially, it can become defunct in a few years. Then once again, you’re forced to spend more money to develop new software, and the cycle continues.