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Do it like Apple does it

Thursday, April 25, 2013

As oil and gas executives struggle to persuade people to use new technologies, perhaps there are some lessons to be learned from Apple - technology which people can't get their hands on fast enough?

Imagine if the oil and gas industry could get people as excited about technology as Apple does, said Julian Pickering, Digital Oilfield Solutions.

'Think about the proposition that several hundred people should go and camp out on a wet London street for 48 hours so they could be the first to pay £700 for a mobile phone.'

'How absurd would that be? We'd never paid more than £25 for British Telecom to come and stick a phone on your desk, and now people are doing that.

'Somehow Apple convinced the people that it's worth doing that.'

'From our [grown-up] perspective we think these youngsters are just silly kids who want to be seen with a mobile phone.'

'But we need to treat it with seriousness. Apple has created a market that didn't exist. Apple has created a value to these young people in being seen first with these mobile phones.'

'They're not doing it because an Apple iPhone is superior technically to a Samsung Galaxy or whatever it may be.'

'People want to be seen with the iPhone. That's where our business models [in oil and gas] are inadequate - we're not building in that aspect of personal satisfaction.'

'Companies like Apple have been successful because they've looked at the complete picture rather than just a portion of it.'

David Hattrick of Oracle said that people like iPhones because of what they enable them to do, not so much because of the status they feel that owning one gives them.

'The same thing happened when Microsoft used to launch the latest version of Windows back in the 90s. People used to queue up for Windows 95, 97, because the promise of that next release of the operating system provided greater functionality,' he said.

In the same way 'the digital oilfield release and future iterations have got to improve the end user experience,' he said.

Tony Edwards of StepChange Global quoted some research work his company did with Boston University and MIT, which said that Apple had become successful because of the capabilities the company developed, not just because of its technology.

In a similar way, the digital oilfield companies could focus on developing new capabilities, for example the capability of getting an oil company staff to use the new technology.

'Up to 3 years ago, I was [working] at an oil company. I would get a great technology company would come up to me, with a great piece of software, or a piece of technology, but what was going through my head was, who am I going to get to do the people and process change? Is the asset too busy or not?

'Nobody sells the capability, nobody delivers the capability,' he said.

Ease of operation

JohnRedfern of DigitalEarth said he thought one of the special features of Apple technology is that it can be used without any computers kills. 'They are things that anyone can operate,' he said. 'In fact, people who are less technically savvy have an even easier time.'

'When I look at most oil and gas applications, they are ugly, they are the result of 20 years of feature additions and complications, more bells and whistles.'

'If [oil and gas software companies] came back with something simpler and more streamlined, with the real changes that were needed, then it would be quicker adoption.'

Associated Companies
» Digital Oilfield Solutions Ltd


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