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Microsoft Industry Blogs - Canada

I’m Greg Dashwood – Product Lead for Azure IoT for Microsoft Canada. I’d like to invite you to learn more about taking the first steps in digital transformation and experience real advice from customers who have done it at “The Future of Operations” – Jan 29th, 2019 in Calgary.

As our world becomes increasingly connected, more populated and the demand for a higher quality of living is met at a higher rate all around the world, the demands on the energy industry to support these advances continues to mount. The rapidly increasing pace and breadth of industrialization globally, emerging demands for new ways for energy to be created, stored and distributed, and slow moving but tectonic shifts in terms of how energy is being used, for example the increasing adoption of Electric Vehicles are putting a new set of challenges in front of the organizations that literally power the world.

Simultaneously there are fundamental industry wide factors that continue to put operational, margin and regulatory pressure on the players in this space, including an aging workforce, skilled worker shortage for a wide variety of entry and intermediate roles, and a renewed volatility in overall energy markets globally.

Despite these factors, many in the energy industry are tackling these issues head on, re-pivoting how they measure their business, how they fundamentally operate and how they collaborate both within their company walls and with their extended partners and channel – and technical innovation is a massive asset in driving this response. There are many trends apparent across the breadth and scale of the energy industry globally, but I want to highlight 3 trends where real leadership is readily apparent.

Adoption of a cloud operating model just makes sense

Whether you are an upstream organization with global operations, a midstream organization with a complex logistic and transmission infrastructure or a downstream distributor with a complex retail network, your IT infrastructure demands need to be globally available, agile and able to scale efficiently with your business. Which is why many world leading energy companies are driving a digital transformation strategy centered around the Azure cloud.

Chevron recently announced a multi-year partnership with Microsoft to accelerate their journey on this transformation. Their sophistication as a consumer of data, compute and IoT, their requirements for globally available computational capability, as well as a clearly defined strategy for turning this data into insight paved the way for this move to take their operations to the cloud and to the next level in terms of capability, cost efficiency and performance.

Realizing insight from Data has never been easier!

Of the thousands of decisions made every day in all shapes and sizes of energy organization, practically all of these can be made more effectively, with greater confidence, lower risk and more certainty with the right application of analytics and AI to shape these decisions.

Shell is making rapid moves in this direction, leveraging AI and Azure analytics in a number of use cases, including using machine vision to identify safety risks at the gas pump to increase safety for customers and workers. Closer to home, Plains Midstream is making rapid progress implementing cloud-based predictive analytics and related technologies for use in a predictive or condition-based maintenance solutions, all leveraging the Azure cloud.

Data is not useful unless operationalized

Data volumes in the energy industry can be massive, and the tooling and capability to turn that data into insight is now available with cloud computing capabilities, but even the best insight is of no value unless it can be cohesively integrated into operational work flows.

Our Dynamics offerings allow for this bridge between your data and analytics teams to be integrated into your operational systems, and allow direct integration with your field service tooling, financials and other key operational applications. The need to share information across operational teams is also critical to maximize value from insights gained from analytical efforts, and capabilities like Microsoft Teams allow for this to happen seamlessly, dynamically and in a globally scalable fashion. Finally, technologies like the Microsoft Hololens are allowing for global scaling of expertise regardless of where your employees sit. Leveraging capabilities like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Remote Assist, your highly skilled expert specialists can land this knowledge anywhere your operations require it, even on the other side of the world.

How to get going on this journey?

As with your business, the technology advancements in this space are moving extremely rapidly. There are a vast multitude of ways these solutions can help your organization and we want to help you get acquainted with the amazing capabilities on the table. To take us up on this offer, register now for the Future of Operations in Calgary on January 29th for an end to end overview on all of the technology areas mentioned in this article, and specific guidance on how to evaluate, prioritize and plan how to get started with implementing these capabilities within your organization.

I look forward to seeing you in Calgary!