Using Social Media to Collaborate in the Oil & Gas Industry
It’s probably safe to say that a majority of you in the oil and gas industry use or are familiar with some of the new social media tools available today, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. In this era of instantaneous demand for knowledge, it’s becoming normal to know what people everywhere are thinking or doing at any given time.
Have you thought about integrating these social media tools for your oil and gas business? In an article written by Next Generation Oil & Gas Magazine, the author breaks down a recent survey, the Oil and Gas Collaboration Survey 2009, conducted by PennEnergy in partnership with the Oil & Gas Journal Research Center, which surveyed industry personnel across the world about how to collaborate in the oil and gas industry better.
The survey found that more than 70 percent believe that collaboration and sharing knowledge is important in many realms of the industry, but that most of their businesses are not utilizing these newer technology tools available today. Almost half of the respondents thought they could save a least an hour each day by using newer social media tools as opposed to face-to-face meetings, e-mails and conference calls.
“In the oil and gas industry, collaboration is a key strategy to reduce costs, improve efficiencies and promote collaborative working relationships among oilfield asset teams located in remote locations around the globe,” says Jill Feblowitz, practice director at Energy Insights in the article. “Energy Insights believes that the momentum behind Web 2.0 will bring it to the oil and gas industry. Web 2.0 technologies can support the following industry requirements: connection with remote geographic locations, knowledge capture, knowledge access, informal knowledge sharing, and joint ventures and team projects.”
These new technologies include internet portals, where businesses can access their companies information from anywhere, allowing collaboration from all locations, time zones and countries; social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.; video or photo sharing; blogs, and wikis, which are online versions of encyclopedias or references where topics, articles, questions, documents can be stored and accessed online.
Another technology used by businesses are cell phones. The number of people using smartphones such as the BlackBerry and iPhone has exponentially grown in the past few years, changing the landscape for how we connect with people. Phones are no longer used just as a contact tool to stay in touch with others. We can now, in theory, be able to complete everyday tasks from paying bills and ordering things online to checking e-mail, video conferencing and editing documents.
Respondents from the survey found that they could use social media tools to capture knowledge of some of the older generation engineers and employees retiring. A growing problem in the industry is that a number of the experts and experienced workers in the industry are now retiring – and taking their knowledge of the industry with them.
At our own office, we find ourselves using new media and technology to make sure our office is running as smoothly as possible. Many of the software programs we use to stay in contact with our clients are based in the “clouds,” or hosted online instead of the traditional programs you download to your computer. This allows real-time integration of all of our documents, records and correspondence with clients and prospective oil and gas software clients. It also allows us to interact from different time zones and offices without losing any data.
We also use other technologies such as Twitter, to connect with those in the oil and gas industry and others who also work with software to discuss issues we’re currently working on and to ask advice for those we haven’t seen before, Instant Messaging, to interact with our clients in real-time to answer support and software questions, and GoToAssist, which allows us to connect to our clients’ computers to solve any issues they’re having.
Read the whole article from Next Generation Oil & Gas here.
What about you? Does your organization implement any knowledge-sharing or collaboration through any new social media technologies? If not, how could you implement some of these at work? How important will it be in the future for the oil and gas industry to adapt to these new technologies?