The new operating norms of lower oil prices, heightened safety, and environmental awareness create challenges for inefficient oil and gas companies. They also drive the most efficient organizations to constantly improve and repeatedly find new, consistent methods to preserve or increase their profitability, compliance and reputation. The use of technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) promises to help petroleum organizations meet the ongoing challenges head-on as part of their focus on improving reliability, managing risk and optimizing operations. Oil and gas companies are creating value by exploring new sources of revenue and deploying new systems and software solutions that deliver competitive advantage for business transformation. Digital Transformation Digital transformation demands that oil and gas companies leverage IoT to become more hyper-aware, predictive and agile. These capabilities enable firms to innovate faster, allowing them to achieve desired business outcomes. Success requires application of new frameworks across technology, data, people and processes. The evolution also requires coupling of granular, real-time and historical data with modern technologies — applying those systems and new levels of insights to processes, products, and assets in order to improve efficiency, enhance value, manage risk, and uncover new monetization opportunities. Some of the operational areas that can benefit from leveraging digital transformation technologies include: Data Management and Analytics Data management and analytics should be funded as a business case at the organizational level. Oil and gas organizations must strive to ensure availability of high-quality, actionable, complete and verifiable data. This includes integrating structured transactional and sensor data with a variety of other data types including text from content repositories, partner and customer interactions, mobile devices, geospatial sources and rich media. This new landscape requires advanced analytics tools for predictive statistical analysis or data mining. Predictive Analytics Predictive analytics can be used to anticipate future behavior or estimate unknown outcomes. By understanding likely outcomes, organizations can choose alternative courses of action (prescriptive analytics) as well as modify investments to maximize return. Predictive maintenance is just one area where predictive analytics can pay large dividends for the oil and gas industry. Automation Automation involves self-learning systems that use data mining, pattern recognition, machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to mimic the way a human brain works. The goal is to create automated technology systems that are capable of solving problems without human assistance. Automation can improve business speed and accuracy in decision-making ability through timely and accurate access to information — proactively highlighting and pinpointing risks and uncertainties. Automation is impacting the nature and structure of organizations and equipping the oil and gas organization to achieve competitive advantage. Security Security remains a foundational tenet of these new industry norms requiring constant vigilance across both cyber and physical assets. Flexible, responsive security solutions are essential in protecting data, people, and processes — enabling businesses to achieve safety, reliability, availability, efficiency, compliance and meet zero incident goals. The Foundation for Digital Change With today’s pressure on the oil and gas industry, increased efficiency has become a business imperative that will determine both survival and competitive advantage. The potential value of IoT for oil and gas companies goes well beyond managing their assets, supply chains, and customer relationships. IoT adds a new dimension and level of value to these parts of the organization by providing real-time, actionable insight that can be leveraged to make better and quicker operational decisions. The time to act is now. Through strategic transformation underpinned by a new and integrated approach to people, process and technology, oil and gas companies can ensure the selection of secure, robust wired and wireless infrastructure. That infrastructure, coupled with a consistent IoT data handling platform, is the foundation for digital change. Learn more about Cisco's Digital Oil and Gas solutions. The opinions expressed in this piece are solely Cisco's. They do not necessarily represent WESCO’s views.