Facing previously unseen and increasing challenges, the demanding energy sector needs the best integration technology, capable of delivering effective, real-time data without increasing data management costs. Whether those challenges are finding new energy sources, stricter regulations or aging infrastructure, the never-ending pressure to grow revenue will always force energy organizations to take full advantage of all available data resources.
According to Analytics Magazine, “the processes and decisions related to oil and natural gas exploration, development and production generate large amounts of data. The data volume grows daily. With new data acquisition, processing and storage solutions – and the development of new devices to track a wider array of reservoir, machinery and personnel performance – today’s total data is predicted to double in the next two years.” That was in 2012, so companies in the energy sector are now seeing this proliferation of data and must have an extremely effective integration strategy to handle this data and find actionable insights.
Companies using integration in the energy sector have some common data endpoints, check out these examples from our customers:
- CRM (Salesforce)
- ERP (Dynamics NAV, SAP, Oracle EBS)
- Industry-specific applications(LiquidFrameworks, ServiceMax, Infor Hansen, CompuWeigh)
- Custom Applications
- Databases(Oracle, Informix)
- Flat files(XLS, etc.)
- Web Services
The energy sector has always managed large amounts of data, but “the term ‘big data’ has historically been regarded by the oil and gas industry as a term used by “softer” industries to track people’s behaviors, buying tendencies, sentiments, etc. However, the concept of ‘big data’ – defined as increasing volume, variety and velocity of data – is quite familiar to the oil and gas industry” according to Analytics Magazine. This means that energy companies leverage as many technologies as are useful, creating much data in the process. While some of the data and processes created span industries, others are unique to energy. Let’s examine a few common integrations our customers utilize:
- Integrating front and back office systems – Creating a closed loop process between CRM and ERP systems allows an organization to be more efficient and ensure no data is lost during a process such as customer billing.
- Processing EDI transactions — EDI is backbone of the energy trading industry and the ERCOT. EDI transactions have always required heavy lifting in a very manual process. Creating a two-way EDI integration process allows for large amounts of data to be processed on a daily basis, including exchanging information such as new customer transfers, meter readings and usage for current accounts, and automated service connections and disconnections.
- Improving BI Analytics — Data residing in multiple systems often takes hours run reports off of, if the data is even available. By consolidating data in a single application or database, running analytics reports can be reduced to times counted in seconds.
- Industry specific applications — There are may examples where integrating industry specific applications to the back or front office will be beneficial. For instance, if tracking account, truck, transaction, reporting, posting and shift totals in one application, work order management in another, and sales invoices in yet another application, then many manual processes must take place to send an accurate invoice to a customer. Once integrated, an accurate invoice can easily be printed and sent to customers.
Taking full advantage of all applications, whether they are standard or specific to the energy sector, is made possible by modern, cloud-based integration technologies. Integrating multiple disparate applications has never been easier and allows payroll, billing, field services, EDI transactions and other complicated processes to be administered by one person. Raising operating efficiency and providing better service to customers, thereby driving higher revenues is now well within reach when the right integration tool is chosen!