So what can be done to update project collaboration? Though it may be hard to imagine, there are new and better ways to connect teams to their data and to each other. The first is by doing away with data lakes. Although things like SharePoint sites do centralize information, this centralization is limited, and the data contained in the files there remain mostly disconnected from other files. Links are frequently broken, and files can be misplaced. What is required is a new way to manage data that fully integrates all sources of information into one interface and negates the need for hands-on document and data control. New technological tools have been created that do just this. By adopting technology that seamlessly integrates asset data of all types into a user-friendly interface that requires minimal manpower and irons out taxonomic conflicts while allowing engineers to incorporate financial considerations into their plans, companies can move forward into the future of effortless data management and project collaboration.
Emails, too, are an outdated mode of communication that has been improved upon. New team communication tools that are modeled after message boards ensure that no threads are lost in long email chains. People can be tagged so that no one is left out of important conversations. If you’ve ever commented in a discussion thread on a website, you know what this looks like. Communication presented this way is better organized and more effective, which helps produce better project results.
Given the improvements that are available for project collaboration, why is everyone doing things basically the same way they have for decades? There have been updates in technology that have allowed companies to better collaborate, but the underlying philosophy behind the methods most widely used has essentially not been challenged in a long time. One reason for this stagnation is that it’s difficult for companies, especially larger ones, to change course. The organizational structures of big companies are not conducive to making the kinds of wide-sweeping changes necessary to progress. On an individual level, a lot of people are simply resistant to change—adopting and learning new technology can be daunting. But if companies can adapt and change so that their project collaboration is more efficient and their team members are better connected, they will gain a competitive edge that will help them survive the changes the oil and gas industry is facing. If people are what make a company great, empowering them with better project collaboration tools can only improve outcomes.