Roy Brown, Senior Director of Emerging Technology, Worley
The energy sector is not often thought of as an appealing space for startups or entrepreneurs.
In fact, it is one of the last major industries to experience digital disruption. However, that’s all about to change. People are beginning to realize the opportunities for innovation, with venture capitalists investing substantially in non-traditional early-stage startups.
At the same time, big companies are becoming very active in emerging technology, with some, like Worley, creating incubator ecosystems within their company to keep pace with changing industry dynamics.
It’s a two-part equation with a heightened interest from corporate as well as focused innovation from the entrepreneurial space. The result? Organizations operating drastically different to the way they operate today.
There’s been a shift in the energy sector
This shift can be felt all the way from business development to business execution. It’s being driven by new trends and by the increasing number of organizations implementing digital technologies in their day-to-day business operations. These new technologies are becoming easier to adapt to meet the rising demand for minimal time commitment and reduced operational impact.
The emergence of new technologies is also giving rise to organic disruption and driving companies to adopt alternative energy sources and new business methodologies - think circular economy.
New technology will completely transform energy companies. Their core business may look very different in the future
But to succeed, companies must advance their organizations with various innovations while avoiding their pitfalls.
Navigating the obstacles in the energy tech space
Enthusiasm for incorporating technology has escalated considerably in the energy sector over the last couple of years. However, the excess use of technical jargon proves to be a challenge for companies when it comes to embracing new technologies.
There is no proof of the value of adopting emerging technologies and often organizations approach new technologies with misleading information and hype. This leads to high-risk pursuits, with one failure plaguing future innovation decisions for years.
To address this issue at Worley, we run a pilot program with new technologies to determine their operational and business value. Our aim? To bring the best technologies to market that drive real business innovation.
Data also plays an integral role in delivering better outcomes
Today, the business landscape is seeing an exponential rise in abstract dataflow from independent and unstructured sources from a range of legacy and new sensor technologies. But the challenge is how to bring this information together to understand the correlation and dependencies so we can then make better decisions.
Organizations, both big and small, must harness this data and turn it into actionable insights to stay ahead of the competition. Businesses must also understand operational impacts and adopt the right culture and technology for performing and interpreting sophisticated data analytics.
Collaboration is also key to achieving your business objectives
At Worley, we partner with energy peers and tech startups to bring innovation into the energy sector. For these partnerships to work, transparent and frequent communication is key.
What you value, what works, and your tolerance for change must be shared together. Change is difficult and it’s even more difficult in a culturally risk-averse environment. Therefore, it is the transparency around your organizational objectives and strategic goals that play the most crucial role in a successful partnership.
I would advise aspiring CIOs to be persistent and remain optimistic
Failure is inevitable, but there is always a valuable lesson to learn. More often than not, you will face resistance to the very thought of change. But if you can understand the reason for resistance and business need, you can overcome the hurdles and build supportive relationships.
Start with quick and small wins. People will then become champions of your success, adding momentum to your future venture and innovation pursuits.
That’s when real change will happen throughout your company - and more importantly, the industry as a whole.