Digital Officers Must Find a Place in the Oil and Gas Industry

Digital Officers Must Find a Place in the Oil and Gas Industry

Companies from around the world are starting to establish new executive-level positions called “chief digital officers (CDOs)” to navigate the open waters of the digital transformation. However, according to a recent survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the oil and gas industry has some catching up to do.

  • The results suggest that of the 2,500 largest public companies in the world, 19% had appointed CDOs by year-end 2016, a sizeable increase from the 6% that had done so in 2015.
  • The survey also revealed that only 3% of the oil and gas companies that were included had made such appointments by 2016, lagging behind metals and mining companies (at 5%) as well as utilities (at 12%).

The oil and gas industry has always been conservative when it comes to business trends, an understandable precaution with million of dollars at risk. However, there are indications from those working in the oil and gas industry that there may be a need for more digitally-minded talent.

“The oil and gas sector is familiar with digitalization, going back to the first automation of exploration data, processing plants, and refineries 35 years ago,” Ron Beck, strategy director at AspenTech told Forbes. “The area that is giving traditional players in Europe and North America pause is how digital strategies will force ‘democratization’ of data and decision making. We find some Asian energy players more eager to embrace flexible organizational structures to gain competitive advantage from digitalization.”

There is talk within the oil and gas sector of a digital transformation with terms like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Big Data and Analytics, Edge, and Cloud Computing being thrown around, but there’s been no major movement to get digital experts in crucial roles within the industry.

The new thinking seems to be that the oil and gas industry must soon make an effort to find best of the new solutions based on advanced technologies rather than trying to customize their own. They only way to do that may be to stop lagging behind on the hiring of CDOs.