60 years on, ‘digital’ is still news!

BP’s digital clock may be ‘ticking faster.’ But it’s been ticking for a long time already!

Folks like to pretend that ‘digital’ is new and that digital ‘natives’ are displacing old farts with pen and pencil. In the latest issue of the BP Magazine, CTO David Eyton is quoted as saying that, ‘Across BP, the application of digital technologies is changing the way in which we operate. The clock speed of digital technology evolution is very rapid.’

Elsewhere on the BP website, a short history of digital business at BP suggests that although its speed maybe high today, BP’s digital clock has been ticking away for quite a while. For BP, the dawn of digital came in 1956 with the acquisition of an English Electric ‘Deuce’ computer, used to optimize refinery operations. By 1967, there were 40 computers in the company and it was observed that ‘The time is fast approaching when it will be difficult to operate the company without [computers].’

Given that some of those who were involved in the first digital work in BP are probably dead by now one has to wonder when ‘digital’ will stop being news and finally be accepted as an integral but unremarkable part of the business!

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