GeoForum group dissects Inter/Intranet use by E&P companies (August 1996)

A recent meeting of theGeoforum discussion group explored the application of Inter and Intranet solutions in UKbased E&P companies.

There was great interest expressed by the have-nots, proselytising bythe haves and some sitting on the fence from the luddites. While there was near universalrecognition of the potential of the Intranet, there were misgivings as to the widespreadprovision of Internet access to the masses. Intranet, especially within Phillips was citedas a powerful tool for the dissemination of information on many topics such as

The Intranet in Phillips is definitely being exported from anenthusiastic US, where it has widespread acceptance to a more reserved UK. This isreflected in other UK companies who doubt the efficiency of generalized net access interms of personnel output. The obvious concern in these days of cost hyperconsciousness iswith the time wasting element of widespread web surfing. For myself, I always preferredwalking down the aisles between the books in the library rather than doing a key-wordsearch, so I was a surfer before my time I suppose. This sometimes resulted in lateralleaps of thought, sometimes not. It never crossed my mind that I might be wasting companytime. Nowadays I suppose you just have to keep pickin' 'em horizons, and that anysearching for off-screen enlightenment is time mis-spent by definition.

Inter vs Intranet

TheInternet, as everyone knows by now, is a sort of friendly, anarchistic information mart,accessible to most via the World Wide Web. This kind of furry freak brothers mentalitydoes not co-habit easily with your average Business - oriented Oil Co. of today. However,the usefulness of cheap, simple to implement and configure, point and click software whichit takes anyone about 2 minutes to master has not escaped managers and IT professionals inall industries. The compromise of the moment is therefore the Intranet. In other words,the application of the same technology of Internet servers and World Wide Web browsers,but here generaly limited to within a single company. This allows documents (text,spreadsheets, graphics) to be deployed and made accessible through powerful andeasy-to-use search engines, and offers an instant solution to the democratisation ofinformation within a company. While the Intranet offers a secure and easily implementedsolution today, user demand for access to external sources (Internet) coupled with morestraightforward solutions to security issues are likely to make the ineter/intra netdistinction blur. In the near future, the Internet will become more secure, with evenrestricted, paying access for certain services, this already exists in the E&P sectorfor some providers such as POSC and the Oil and Gas Journal. At the same time someIntranet services - such as information of interest to shareholders - will be becomepublicly available. All this will be made possible through Firewalls, secure transactionsand encryption, all of which are currently available technologies waiting forstandardisation and or market muscle.

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