Digitalisation and automation are rapidly changing the status quo in the energy sector. We are in the midst of a digital revolution. None of us really know what the future will look like. We’re unsure what core competencies we will need to remain relevant and what skills we should develop. We do know we need to embrace, adapt and exploit the potential the digital revolution will bring. It’s both exciting and scary. The energy business is in a state of flux and the economic reality requires a transition to new and emerging technologies to remain efficient. We need to change the way we operate to meet global energy demands in a flexible, efficient and environmentally conscious way.

It is a case of “sink or swim” when it comes to keeping up with technological advances.  We must re-think how we operate and indeed re-evaluate our business models.

How do we adapt to this fast-paced digital revolution and who will be the winners?

It is generally accepted that low-skill, low-wage activities on the front line are the ones most susceptible to automation. It has long been recognised that competence is a key competitive advantage. Yet organisational culture and leadership mindsets are most often the barriers to realising this potential. Having the right people and enabling them to develop their jobs efficiently and effectively is paramount.  We need to ask ourselves whether our leaders, decision makers, and management have the necessary skills and mindsets to influence and steer budgets towards digitisation. While simultaneously developing employees’ competence and skill sets.

DNV GL estimates that the industry could become 20% more efficient by making full use of digitalisation and automation. Platforms can be digitalised and “report back” to optimise efficiency. Commissioning can be done using digital tools, and offshore platforms can be operated from shore.

Communication and workflows, both internal and external will be more automated and digitised, workplace automation is reaching ever greater levels of sophistication. We can expect rapid innovations, more efficiency and smarter, leaner solutions. We’re operating in an age where machine learning, bots, drones, predictive analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be the norm. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) has already improved efficiency in testing, training and scenario mapping. Leaders, top management and executives are tasked with leading this digital transformation.

  • Are we aware of the impact it will have?
  • Are we open to change in accepting the new normality?
  • Are we willing to run and transform our sector to embrace smarter solutions?

Being proactive while maintaining good relations in a sustainable business will always be important. Leaders and management will more than ever rely on the power of Persuasion, Influence & Negotiation (PIN) in mapping out this new landscape.

  • Yes, we will utilise technology to monitor, automate and support our production facilities both on and offshore.
  • Yes, we will test, train and simulate using VR and AR.
  • Yes, bots and machine learning will enable more efficient communication and reporting.

But human skills such as adaptability, creativity, innovation and emotional intelligence are difficult to replace. While AI will far outstrip humans when it comes to analysing raw data, they lack the intuition, creativity and judgement required to make sense of that data. We need to prepare ourselves, to be adaptable and innovate.

We’ll need to persuade, influence and negotiate in order to blossom in this digital age.