Why Legacy Vendors Battle A Trust Deficit in Ushering the Digital Transformation?

During my recent visit to the Permian, an operations manager shared that their current software vendor was enforcing a deadline for an upgrade to their field data capture application.  Customers liken these legacy vendors to a football coach showing up for the very first time on game day with a rehearsed pep talk. They are ignored and often unwelcome.

The industry is moving towards committed digital transformation as a way to address complex challenges such as a skilled field worker shortage, acquisition preparations, price fluctuations, and production inefficiencies. And oilfield customers on the production side of the business are now more than ever waking up to the inability of legacy software vendors to guide them through such digital transformation.

 

Today field leadership expect all-hands-on-deck to focus on high-value priorities. They can no longer accept any lease operator spending hours on digital paperwork – capture data, validate and painfully realign the rows and columns every day.

Legacy technology vendors have been asleep at the innovation wheel and only now are enforcing mobility upgrades – a painful decade behind other industries. By avoiding the risk and hard work in moving customers towards mobility much earlier, these vendors failed to become trusted advisors of digital transformation.

 

In contrast, Seven Lakes Technologies first brought mobility to the oilfield over 6 years ago. In spite of the industry’s resistance to change, we held steady to our vision and spent the necessary effort in educating the market and driving disruptive change.  We steadfastly innovated mobile data capture, mobile data validation, ticket scanning and seamless communication between field and office.

A technology operation lead at a Permian mid-major comparing the ‘wannabe’ mobility tool with Seven Lakes’ JOYN said,

“It is not just the ease of mobile data capture, we can now come up with a dispatch model where we don’t need to send a guy to the static routes, we can be totally dynamic and spend 90% of the time on things that require attention versus the other stuff – that is where we are already looking to go with JOYN. ”

This lack of partnership on the part of legacy vendors begs the question: What should the industry demand from their software vendors?

For our competitors who are reading this, here’s what you’ll need to catch up with us and usher the oil and gas industry through transformative times. Our understanding emanates from years of consistently riding along with field personnel and delivering on their needs. Field technicians, lease operators, foremen, and supervisors reveal the following:

 

Customers smell the lack of true mobile-based architecture in your application.

Our customers today have grown up on consumerized mobility. They quickly dismiss cumbersome applications that take ions to make enhancements, especially on the user interface. They expect the same ease and speed at work as they have with Amazon or Uber. Nothing less will do.

 

They expect you to be listening to their truck-side conversations when they say

“make this clunky button go away. I want it to swipe right or left.”

They expect that enhancement in two weeks or less. Not months or years later. When you can’t consistently get the data capture part of mobility right, you lose the seat at the table for bigger conversations – connected oilfield operations and digital transformation.

 

As the field supervisor at the largest supermajor puts it,

“now we also look at JOYN as a communication tool…. you can use the media – take pictures, do video or call each other. They’re all (field techs) getting the same alarms, and expert in that field can talk to the more inexperienced people to work through the system versus calling someone to fix some small issues.”

 

Customers expect you to be listening by their trucks, in dog houses and all around the field.

Yesterday’s technology is not a viable pathway to the future. Technology innovation is an on-the-ground experience with ongoing, transformative engagement with the field. If everyone from your executive team to your support team isn’t looking at the same data, then you are out of alignment in a matter of days. That is the pace today.  The speed and hunger for change are enormous, and you won’t win their hearts and wallets from the office.

 

“I really appreciate the constant involvement, and the ability to give our input while the product is still in development” –

an engineering lead at a Permian mid-major.

 

Come with deep empathy for every role and the ability to address requirements with minimal customization of the technology architecture. This applies, especially to the production planning and field communication platforms.  The field will no longer bend to the way your technology is architected. They expect you to learn their machines (AI), connect all their data (integration) and maneuver their communications (social media type connections).

 

Your static solution will always be playing catch-up. Move past blanket strategy sessions during conferences and swanky powerpoint presentations. Innovate in the field, alongside the field. Every week, every month, every year. This is the standard of commitment for customer success today in the oilfield.

 

Customers trust demonstrated value on the ground, not strategy roadmaps on paper

The days of selling perpetual software licenses are over. With software as a service (SaaS) business models, technology partners such as Seven Lakes offer the industry accountable and actionable innovation every week, month and year. This is the pace they need their trusted partners to move, for them to lead in the digital transformation. From super major giants to midsized oil and gas companies, they will not accept any less.

 

Oilfields do not easily warm up to new technologies or tools. You cannot blame them as most solutions have failed to stick by their side and earn their trust through disruptive technology challenges. It is only with demonstrated value in customer experience that they even consider picking up a new tool.  It will take all of us as technologists to step up and deliver on this type of trust.

 

Within days of using JOYN, a lease operator recounts:

“It is not just that I am getting to go home early, when I get to the site and look at my plunger, I don’t have to wait, and just sit there and type in numbers for my grease book. I can actually focus on what it’s doing.”

 

At Seven Lakes, we have equipped every employee to be field-first. We do not stop at training sessions; we ride along, we host workshops, we educate constantly, we remain transparent about our failures and aggressively fix them. The ability to lend an ear and build continuous engagement has earned us the trust of the field. We’ve built our entire company around this culture of field-first.

Empathy is a deeply cultivated value for us. Our vision goes layers deeper than a marketing brochure. It is much, much, much harder to replicate. And, for vendors already battling a trust deficit, delivering on the evolving field priorities will remain highly challenging.

 

If you are curious to try out our JOYN 2 platform for free, sign up here: http://go.sevenlakes.com/JOYN2.html

Also read: OILFIELD DIARIES: DECODING THE FIELD ADOPTION CHALLENGE IN THE PERMIAN