Monthly Archives: September 2013

Cut Search Time for Critical Documents from Days to Seconds. It is Time to Stop Digging in Folder Structures

It wasn’t long ago when geoscientists and petroleum engineers at one renowned oil company might spend days searching for documents.  “Searching” meant digging through folders (as many as 1500 of them!!), and discerning whether a “found” file was an official report or only an earlier draft.  To give you an idea, some critical HSE documents were buried as deeply as within the 13th   sub-folder (and then the correct version had to be selected!!)

Obviously in this situation emergency and critical decision cycle times were lengthened by the difficulty of finding the “buried” technical documents. The average time to locate and validate the accuracy of a document was calculated at 3 days.

When Certis arrived, the company’s folder system looked like an episode of “Hoarders”. The hoarder believes there is an organized system to his “madness”, but nobody else in the home can quite figure it out. Over the years, over 2,000,000 documents had been amassed at this location, and that total was growing fast. As engineers and geoscientists floated in and out, the system fell victim to hundreds of interpretations. Unlike the hoarder’s goods, these documents contained vital information that accumulated years of studies and billions of dollars of data acquisitions. Years of knowledge, buried, literally.

In today’s competitive and fast pace operations in our Oil and Gas industry, data is accumulating faster than ever and decisions must be made faster than ever by petro-professionals that are already overextended.  Compounded with the fact that a large portion of the knowledge is within a workforce that may soon retire means that Oil and Gas companies that want to stay exceptional and competitive cannot afford to waste petro-professionals time hunting for critical records.

So, how do you get to a point where your organization can locate the right document instantly?  We believe it is all about Processes, Technology and People put in place (a cliché but so true)

When Certis completed this project, the technical community could locate their documents within few seconds using “google-like” search. More importantly they were (and are now) able to locate the “latest” version and trust it. The solution had to address 3 elements, people, processes and technology.

The final solution meant collapsing folders from 2000 down to 150, using a DRM system without burdening the technical community and implementing complete processes with a service element that ensured sustainability.

Centralized, standardized and institutionalized systems and processes were configured to take full advantage of the taxonomy and DRM systems. Once the ease of use and the value were demonstrated to the people, buy-in was easy to get.

Technology advances faster than our ability to keep up. This is especially true when working with professionals whose focus is (and should be!) on their projects, not on data management. We had to break the fear of change by proving there is a better way to work that increases efficiency and makes employee’s lives easier.

Legacy Documents, what do you do with them?

Because solving operational issues at the field requires access to complete historical information, exhuming technical legacy documents, physical or electronic, from their buried locations was the next task.

On this project the work involved prioritizing, locating, removing duplicates, clustering, and tagging files with standard meta-data. With a huge number of files accumulated in network drives and library rooms, a company must keep an eye on “cost/ benefit” ratio. How to prioritize and how to tag technical files become two key success factors to designing a cost-effective migration project.

This topic can go on and on since there were so many details that made this project successful. But that may be for another post.

Read more about Certis and about our oil and gas DRM services