It may seem strange that a company with a 50-year experience of high performance computing is outsourcing its data sharing functionality but that is, in effect, what French geophysical specialist CGG is doing as it ‘reinvents’ its way of working with Dropbox Business. CGG’s Frederick Himmer, speaking at a recent meeting of France’s CRIPbusiness association, explained how back in 2015, CGG noticed that there was widespread ‘unofficial’ use of Dropbox for collaboration. CGG surveyed its users and found that Dropbox was enabling new ways of working that were not provide by CGG’s existing IT services. Having established the use cases, CGG worked with Dropbox Business to put governance and security and admin. CGG’s ‘official’ Dropbox is now up and running with around 1,000 licenses ‘used constantly’, some 6.4TB stored and 8.6 million connections/year. 120 GB files are shared on the system which is supported in a breakthrough collaboration between IT and the business. A typical use case is a land seismic survey where plans are shared with the client, third parties and surveyors in a ‘collaborative and intuitive’ solution for a distributed workforce. In another use case, CGG has sped its auditing function, saving one week per audit per auditor. Dropbox enables single file working, with ‘no more versioning’ and, a drastic reduction in email. Contractual documentation can be discussed and signed online. All development is driven by user needs and the system meets expectations of new hires to whom email is apparently, ‘old fashioned’.
In another (non oil and gas) CRIP presentation Sylvie Charissoux explained how Exide Battery has moved from Microsoft Office to Google’s G-Suite. The rationale for the change is cost saving, simplicity, collaboration functionality and ‘secure data protection and individual privacy(!)’ The move was not without challenges. It represented a big change for users who had been on Office for 30 years. In Germany, where ‘Google bashing’ is prevalent, the move was badly perceived. The Great Chinese Firewall is also problematic. And the CIO left the company!
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