IQPC Knowledge and Information Management in Oil and Gas

Nexen on lessons-learned management and on organizational network analysis. Liipfert Consulting on risk and compliance. Shell on knowledge management, ROCKs and the great crew change.

Speaking at the IQPC Knowledge and Information Management for Oil and Gas conference in Houston last December, Monica Chhina outlined Nexen’s Lessons Learned program. For Chhina, lessons should be considered as assets. Significant value comes from managing corporate lessons so that successes are repeated and mistakes are not! The need for an improved lesson-managing culture stemmed from the observations that expensive mistakes were being repeated and past lessons learned could not be found and shared. The situation in the Drilling and Completions (D&C) was better and Nexen’s first move was to share the D&C lessons corporately. D&C teamed with facilities on the initial project, leveraging the D&C’s process and database. Nexen now operates a cyclical process starting before a project begins with a review of what learnings apply to a project. A lessons log is maintained to ensure that all applicable information is leveraged. As a project proceeds, an ongoing review process captures new lessons which are entered in the log. After a project is completed, learnings are vetted, recommendations are made and adjustments to Nexen’s business processes are rolled out.

Chhina was joined by Charlotte Holmlund for a presentation on Nexen’s organizational network analysis1 (ONA). ONA visualizes an organization through a network, rather than a static hierarchy, showing social network-type relationships across the organization. Nexen uses ONA to optimize networks and identify employees with expertise and knowledge. ONA provided clues as to who the key ‘connectors,’ influencers and information brokers are. The ONA database was built by surveying personnel as to their own self-assessment of their skill sets and competency level along with their view of co-workers’ skills and proficiency. Results translate to a proficiency required vs. proficiency acquired map of the organization that can be used to identify gaps and locate the ‘go to guy,’ the subject matter expert. This allows for interesting comparisons of self assessments and crowd-sourced (peer nominated) SMEs.

Using the ONA begins with a specific business problem statement. Potential participants are identified, questions are designed and objectives set. Survey results are collated in ONA software (Ucinet /Netdraw2) for analysis. Subject matters that have been investigated using this approach include SME qualification for SAP-related activities such as business intelligence, joint venture accounting and finance.

Christian Liipfert, former program director of BP’s global records and information management effort has now set up Liipfert Consulting to advise on risk and compliance. His presentation focused on identifying opportunities to improve productivity, decision support and risk mitigation and establishing organizational requirements for global information governance. Liipfert’s approach addresses policies, roles and responsibilities, processes and technology—and dealing with multiple stakeholders across business, legal and IT. More from

Dwight Cates, Knowledge Manager, Shell Projects & Technology (Americas) described how Shell is ‘easing the pain of the great crew change (GCC). The GCC results from decades of a volatile business environment that has seen staff reductions during downturns which are not wholly compensated for in the upturns. The result is an age gap, with a large cohort of ‘grizzled veterans’ due to retire in the next few years. There is an urgent need to get new staff up to speed and productive as quickly as possible. Shell’s solution is to capture and share more information and to foster an ‘open conversation’ between those who know and those who need to know. This is achieved through a simple framework of standard tools, ‘high-touch’ staff engagement and ongoing coaching.

The toolkit consists of ‘Peer Assist’ meetings, Wikis, Blogs and a ‘retention of critical knowledge (ROCK) program. Peer Assists target ‘non standard’ operations involving new technologies. Peer Assist facilitators assemble project teams to review plans before work starts. The Wiki is used by 70,000 Shell professionals—connecting communities across the organization. The Wiki provides content management and search. The Blogs offer a less formal approach to knowledge sharing—on the ‘most discussed’ tab a tantalizing post was titled—‘So your boss sucks, what do you do now?’ But the most popular was the more prosaic, ‘How do you reduce calendar size in Outlook?’ ROCK is a structured interview process that involves peers and their successors to ensure knowledge is passed on to the next generation.

Shell is throwing a lot into its knowledge retention program with progress monitored with KPIs at VP level and a global ‘hearts and minds’ campaign to win folks to the cause. This ‘low tech high touch’ program involves ‘relentless’ coaching. KPIs show a 340% increase in community membership and a 400+% hike in traffic. There has also been a large increase in Wiki and LiveLink-based knowledge capture.

Rich Schmidt, VP and CIO Projects & Technology (P&T) for Royal Dutch Shell described another facet of Shell’s knowledge management. The P&T unit is Shell’s ‘delivery arm’ for capital projects and technology. P&T is a major contributor to the ROCK. Collaboration tools include Microsoft Office Communicator, LiveLink, HALO TelePresence with pilots on the ‘Yammer’ enterprise social network and IBM’s ‘Jam’ collaboration environment. Capital projects also leverage the ASSAI document workflow template. Shell, along with its EPC contractors, make extensive use of the EP Catalogue. There has been a huge growth in the use of the Shell Wiki by teams and individuals. The future will see a major SAP upgrade and deployment of Microsoft’s ‘next generation’ technology—SharePoint 2010 in the cloud, Fast enterprise search and active archival. Blending the new with legacy systems remains problematical. A new ‘structured information management approach’ is being built into the SharePoint roll-out. This will match metadata with work processes and is to be a component of the templated SharePoint 2010 solution.

Schmidt noted that when a wiki page is added to documents in the repository, retrieval rates soar by at least 700%. These are often built by younger team members but are soon used by all. Previous HTML pages that tried to do the same were quickly abandoned. This approach often revitalizes the traditional electronic document management system and assures proper document control. More from

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