Enterprise content management (ECM) can improve the efficiency of business processes in a range of front-office and back-office areas. For oil and gas companies, there’s one particularly business-critical document that requires management: environmental health and safety standard operating procedures EH&S SOPs). These documents are a critical part of oil and gas operations, allowing these companies only to operate efficiently, but to ensure the safety of their employees, facilities, and the general public.
And while some firms do a good job leveraging available technology to automate and digitize the lifecycle of EH&S SOPs (from creation, through day-to-day use, to archiving), others are still managing these documents manually or in paper form (or both). This is particularly true of those firms that have long employee tenure (because folks "just know what to do") or those companies that have recently experienced rapid growth, going from essentially mom-and-pop shops to multi-billion dollar operations. Whatever the reason, for firms that are managing EH&S SOPs manually, ECM technology holds out a range of benefits, as shown in the figure below:
EH&S SOP Lifecycle, with and without ECM Tools
This figure contrasts the "as-is" management of SOPs, which typically means either working from hard copies or storing them in email, hard drives, and shared drives, with the "to-be" management of SOPs using ECM tools, which allow for robust document management capabilities like check-in/check-out, versioning, and authoring and approval workflows. The use of ECM tools improves the management of these documents at each stage of the SOP lifecycle, from creation, to the active life of the SOP document, to disposal, and delivers a wide range of benefits, from improved efficiency and quality (leading to faster time to oil), to decreased risk of compliance breaches and safety incidents (leading to lower overall risk and cost of operations).
And this is just one example. All across oil and gas operations, front- and back-office, there are opportunities to gain competitive advantage through improved management of documents and information. Stay tuned, as in future blog posts we'll take up a number of other ECM applications that are critical for oil and gas operations.