The Technology Catalogue was launched early July by Deployment Matters as a key tool to support deployment of novel and proven technologies in the energy industry. It may be interpreted as a ‘Tripadvisor’ like web platform for technologies. However, there are also some key differences as deploying technology is unfortunately not as simple as booking a hotel. Read this blog to find out how the Technology Catalogue connects an overview of technologies for the energy industry to deployment expertise to maximise impact for suppliers, end-uses and investors.
The Technology Catalogue web platform (www.technologycatalogue.com) was developed based on first-hand experience that it is too difficult for decision makers in (oil & gas) companies to stay up to date on available technology driven improvement opportunities for their business.
Yes, most technology suppliers have a well-maintained website that you can find via Google, however, experience has shown that these are typically only found if you know exactly what you are looking for, often up to the detail of the name of the vendor.
Try for example to search for “maintenance technology oil and gas”. You’ll end up with over 100 million search results. Going through the first 10 or so pages of search results you mostly find generic articles about trends or similar high-level information and not a single overview that would help you to link solutions to maintenance challenges.
While staff in energy companies in engineering positions are generally quite technology savvy, they all have busy daily jobs with strong focus on safety, budget and schedule. We’ve seen that amongst this group there is a frequent perception that implementing technology will be more expensive or poses a schedule risk, which may impact their individual performance and therefore generates resistance. The lack of easy to access information, including previous deployment examples to give them confidence, will sustain a limited drive to search for deployment opportunities to flag to their superiors, unless there is a business-critical need.
As a result, decision makers, who often simply don’t have the time to search themselves, typically rely on various unstructured channels (conferences, social media, word of mouth etc.) to learn about technology opportunities for their business to be able to challenge their organisation.
This doesn’t mean that they are not interested in technology. However, it is essential to give people at all levels in the organisation easy access to quickly digestible information about relevant technologies, including credible deployment records and impact indications.
Developing very simple technology ‘marketing’ material has proven to be one of the key success factors in our deployment track record during the last 6 years, when we were still leading the deployment efforts in a large international energy company.
Based on publicly available information, a simple page was developed for internal use per technology that had been proven somewhere and had the potential to be replicated. On such page only the key technology information was captured, supplemented by examples of bottom line business impact within the company, contact details of technical experts and end-users as well as the vendors in various regions that could supply the technology.
Small printed booklets grouping the technologies per business theme (projects, maintenance, well reservoir and facility management, logistics, operations etc.) were circulated within the company both at engineering level and more senior management levels.
Over time the booklets started to be used as a ‘menu’ for business improvement options, backed by a powerful visual management tool showing who had already deployed what technology and who was lagging.
The impact has been phenomenal: In 6 years over 600 technology deployments were delivered with a net cash impact exceeding $1 billion.
Now the same methodology has been transferred into a web environment: The Technology Catalogue.
When visiting www.technologycatalogue.com you’ll find technologies grouped in modules around specific business challenges/opportunities such as digitalisation, maintenance, logistics and subsurface. The Technology Catalogue contains technologies in the broadest sense. Hence not only IT/Digitalisation technologies, but also e.g. hardware solutions and workflows. It connects technology suppliers, users (either directly, or through consultancy companies) and experts.
It helps suppliers to increase visibility for their technologies, and helps users to see the wood for the trees.
Every technology in the catalogue has a unique page capturing the key technology information, specifications and information about the supplier, as well as the opportunity to directly contact them.
User/expert reviews as well as deployment records give the confidence to accelerate the uptake of technology. Nothing gives more confidence than a review from someone we trust. Such review doesn’t need to be long, a few sentences can be sufficient to think: “perhaps this is something I should consider as well for my project”. This is not different from daily consumer life, where we rely on opinions of other people to e.g. book hotels and restaurants or decide which new car to buy.
And yes, using the Technology Catalogue can mean that people will choose technology of one of your competitors. But like with hotels: some prefer 5-star hotels (and are willing to pay for it), others prefer location, etc. Hence dependent on your offering, sometimes users will go for your technology, sometimes for the technology of another supplier.
The biggest competitor to technology though is not the technology of someone else, but that assets/projects just continue doing what they’ve always been doing. And this is something that the Technology Catalogue addresses: by creating the visibility combined with user/expert reviews, people are more likely to start using technology instead of doing what they’ve always done.
There are also clear differences when comparing the Technology Catalogue to consumer platforms like Tripadvisor or Booking.com. When searching for a holiday destination the job is typically ‘done’ after making the booking for hotel and flight and you only need to worry to get to the airport on time to start enjoying your vacation. When it comes to deploying technology the hard work typically only starts after identifying the technology that could be of value.
The main purpose of our platform is to have a tool containing key information about technology solutions for business challenges/operational excellence ‘at your fingertips’ at all times to make identification of improvement opportunities as easy as possible.
As this catalogue has been developed and maintained by Deployment Matters it is directly connected to a team of experts who:
- know what makes that technology gets deployed;
- use the right tools & processes to effectively address business challenges with technology; and
- understand the critical success factors for making the actual deployments happen and organise the technology delivery in line with these critical factors.
This model is also summarised in the figure below. We’ll come back to the value of the link to the consultancy activities later on.
This is how it works
Users have free access to the catalogue. These can be end-users, but also consultancy firms that use the technology catalogue to enhance their offerings to their customers.
Only registered users are granted access to the catalogue and all accounts are verified. In this way we know exactly who is using the catalogue and who the reviewers are.
Suppliers pay a fixed fee per technology per annum and can select a subscription that best fits their needs.
Special deals are available to event organisers that would like to offer their exhibitors maximum exposure prior to the event by giving them a technology page in the catalogue for a given time as part of the exhibitor package. Technologies featuring at events are then highlighted on the homepage.
Naturally it’s in our best interest to ensure that technologies in the catalogue get used, and we therefore actively help to make connects with operators, including highlighting the technologies when we support operators with technology deployment consultancy and training. A difference when compared to more passive B2B or consumer platforms.
While technology supplier engagements typically take place at ‘execution level’ in an organization, the consultancy activities of Deployment Matters target more senior leaders in end-user companies, who tend to be more focused on overall bottom line value to the company rather than optimization at sub-scope level. It therefore provides an excellent opportunity to flag a portfolio of technologies and the specific value to the company, for example in a top-5 or top-10 format to these decision makers to trigger deployments.
Combining a Technology Catalogue subscription with our Technology Stress Test gives technology suppliers the best access to the expertise of Deployment Matters to position a technology for success. It can also help technology suppliers that feel they’ve got stuck with particular potential clients.
After completing a Stress Test a supplier will be given recommendations on how to better position the technology for success and we’ll have a deeper understanding of the technology such that we can bring it to the attention of potential end-users in the most credible way, while still remaining independent enough.
The only real measures of success are the number of technologies deployed through connections made via the Technology Catalogue and the business value generated by the end-users. To monitor how connections are being made and which technologies or themes are popular, technology suppliers will receive key platform performance statistics relevant to their technology page on a quarterly basis, based on the overall analytics. Technology suppliers can contribute to maximize the impact from their own entry by requesting clients to leave reviews on their page.