Business process automation, or BPM, is the software-based system that an organization uses to manage all of its processes, entity-wide. Its benefits can include increased organizational transparency, greater efficiency, reduced waste, and a better bottom line.
Enormous daily expenditures, complex regulatory frameworks, and frequently hazardous tasks make the oil and gas industry a natural fit for BPM and the streamlining it can bring. Here, we detail five exciting uses of BPM in oil and gas.
Regulatory pressures impact every aspect of the gas and oil industry, and failure to comply with mandates brings with it a steep cost. Some of these mandates are OSHA, BSEE, USCG, DOT, EPA, Conflict Minerals, NI-52109, COBIT, ISO and compliance mandates such as Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), Amendments to EU Directives, Dodd-Frank Act Section 1504, SEC Rule 13(q), SOX, FCPA and other federal and state-specific regulations.
In this regulatory environment, the risk is high and oil and gas companies are tasked with adhering to the rigid monitoring and management that any changes to their enterprise account systems face going forward. BPM software can ease the burden of regulatory compliance with "track and enforce" capabilities for ERP systems. A high level of BPM software customization enables oil and gas companies to automate customized workflows. Better yet, the records generated as any changes occur are auditable records, ensuring compliance with all legal mandates.
Robust BPM software improves business performance, security, and flexibility, all while maintaining effective compliance with multiple regulatory requirements.
Large international oil and gas corporations often find it necessary to identify priority processes for investment purposes or to streamline said processes across a global workforce. A BPM tool can help large oil and gas companies to better understand current processes and prioritize those that are mission-critical to the corporation.
Processes can be prioritized by strategic importance, standardization levels, and relative cost. Once processes are mapped correctly by a BPM tool, then companies can make informed decisions about where and how to invest in process improvement to achieve optimal ROI for its efforts. Further, having mapped processes correctly, corporations can then determine who should assume ownership for each process to streamline the workflows across the entire corporate ecosystem.
The coronavirus outbreak has meant, among other things, a significantly reduced global appetite for fuel. U.S. crude production is set to fall in 2021, following an expected 2020 increase over 2019 numbers. With all this fluctuation and unpredictability, it is paramount that oil and gas companies be agile and find ways to remain profitable no matter the economic climate. Implementing BPM solutions to streamline company workflows can help eliminate waste and redundancy while allowing management to focus on keeping the numbers up.
"BPM enhances the ability of businesses to react to changes in the business environment," reads a report by French consulting and technology firm Capgemini. In a study by the organization, "78 percent of respondents who introduced BPM with a view to increasing the flexibility of [their] organization reported a positive impact on the business."
BPM can also help eliminate or greatly reduce the chance for human intervention (and thus, human error). In the oil and gas vertical, securing approvals is an often arduous process, and mistakes on applications can mean days -- if not weeks or months -- of costly delay. BPM software can automate the movement through a company's system of process-safety-management documents and/or new-project proposals. It can also monitor large volumes of data, so human beings don't have to attempt to do so. This means a significant reduction in the risk of mistakes.
BPM software can also create reminders for human users about deadlines and expiration dates, helping ensure that important credentials remain current and essential documents are submitted on time.
The oil and gas industry is reliant on accurate document management, both for regulatory reasons and as a matter of process efficiency. BPM tools that incorporate or integrate with document management software provide a platform upon which processes rest. BPM tools can turn the chaos of unstructured data into searchable insights with a strong document management tool.
In addition to providing auditable electronic records, document management facilitates the secure transmission of critical project files, all while maintaining strict control over access to these files.
Cloud document management makes it possible for a distributed team to collaborate from anywhere using any device. Add to that the ability to access procedural and policy documents, change them as needed, and maintain a record of each change, and you have a streamlined business workflow from end to end.
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