COM for Energy?, XML for Energy?, BizTalk for Energy? (August 1999)

Technology moves so quickly these days that it can overtake the marketing department. PDM tries to guess what we'll see when they open the COM for Energy box.

The COM for Energy initiative (PDM Vol. 4 N° 2) is an object lesson in how the marketing department sometimes gets overtaken by new technology. Microsoft’s COM object model has seen several incarnations over the years, and the term has been regularly abused by the marketers. We expect that all will be revealed at the first COM for Energy public meeting to be held in Houston on September 9th, meanwhile here is PDM’s best shot at what the specification will involve….

Not COM!

COM for Energy will not be a COM spec! We make this bold statement in the light of Microsoft’s switch of tactics and its alignment on XML as the preferred method for data exchange. What is most likely to emerge from the initiative is a BizTalk - - type specification based upon XML.


Bill Diggons (SAP and COM for Energy) told PDM that the COM moniker was confusing, and that the initiative was contemplating a change of name – perhaps to “Objects for Energy”. The scope of the initiative was explained to PDM by Landmark’s John Lewis. The plan is to build on SAP’s inventory/costs database and connect to drilling engineering during the design of new wells. Casing availability is one target. Today the technical design of a well is optimized, then procurement is initiated. The new plan is to have synchronous data on materials and costs available during the design phase. BP Amoco’s drilling engineers alter well casing design to take account of casing inventory.


Today this activity is intra-company, but tomorrow will encompass procurement and true e-commerce. We queried Microsoft’s Scott Fawcett as to how open the initiative would be, Scott confirmed “the (COM for Energy) specifications are to be in the public domain, this is a not-for-profit venture”.

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