SharePoint in the Oil and Gas Industry

Enterprise

In any Business, the workers of the business collaborate and share information to aid the business goals. More so in the Oil and Gas Industry because we are working beyond Political, Geographical and functional boundaries. It is a worldwide industry across all the continents. We have different languages, different timezones and completely different requirements and way of presenting unified data.

In essence we are knowledge workers of the Oil and Gas Industry, in effect sharing and working with data and information created by others whether this be Geographical Information, Health and Safety or even business forms and business intelligence.

We need this information created by others in our organization to help us with our current work. A key requirement of a this is the ability to help business users find the people and information which can assist them with a problem and help them find documents that are relevant to that problem.

For Example

Managers of any kind of Business need this information at their fingertips, They often refer to prior proposal documents, meetings or prior presentations when dealing with current issues. To access these documents, they often have to first identify previous relevant projects, contact someone who has worked or still working on the project, to locate one or more key documents, and then find the document on a file share or ask the manager to send it to them as an e-mail attachment. This process is often both time-consuming and error prone.

The use of Portal and intranets is an innovative and powerful way of creating a clear and effective communication system for employees. A well-planned portal can ensure that all employees have direct access to all the company’s internal resources, it can involve employees directly in internal business processes and is a cost-effective and sustainable way of ensuring that knowledge is shared and that objectives are actively pursued. An effective intranet also liberates users from having to endure a flood of emails, many of them of little relevance, and risk missing that all-important communication because they have been wading through a deluge of unimportant messages.

Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS 2007)

MOSS 2007 software delivers a best-of-breed collaborative tools to easily create a department’s workspace. MOSS 2007 offers new opportunities to facilitate collaboration, provide content management features, implement business processes, and supply access to information that is essential to the goals and processes of the Company. This software also has a full range of tools such as blogs, wikis, team spaces, calendars, and email. For teams located in different offices it helps collaborative working, the management of content and workflow and the leverage of business insight to make better-informed decisions. SharePoint allows the creation of sites which support specific content publishing, content management, records management and business intelligence needs.

Collaborative Working Using SharePoint

SharePoint is designed to work effectively with other programs, servers, and technologies. One of its advantages is that it makes it easy to create links to the latest version of the documents the Company’s documents.

Sharepoint provides access to client and project information background information, to key project documents, and to information on an individual’s expertise. These systems can be people-centric, client-centric, project-centric, and/or document-centric. The most powerful and complex system provides easy navigation among clients, projects, documents and people. For example, you could start with a client, find key information on all the projects worked on with that client (e.g., start and end-dates, key deliverables), find all the people who worked on the projects, and all the documents produced by the client team.

SharePoint Portal has these features as well as tight integration with Microsoft Office. This allows managers to categorize documents when they submit them (check them in) to SharePoint.

They can also search for documents in SharePoint from within Office applications as well as from within SharePoint’s web-based portal. In addition, managers can post their expertise on portal pages helping best practice and understand cross the business. This allows others within the organization to easily find experts.

The key problem with information retrieval, however, is not technical; it is organizational. Companies must invest in the people and processes to insure that project documents are submitted in a timely manner and that individual expertise pages are updated. All this information must be made easily accessible through search.

What can I do with Sharepoint?

SharePoint has been designed with tools that are tightly integrated with the standard Microsoft Office suite – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. that users are already familiar with. Hence, Intranet Content Administrators (ICA) and regular users will find working with these tools intuitive.

Some of the features of these tools include:

  • Document Workspace – that allows teams and departments to have their own storage area on the Intranet.
  • Meeting Workspace – that allows team members to store and manage meetings materials.
  • Less paper printed – because of less need to print vast numbers of documents for reference.
  • Discussion boards – that provides a forum for employees to discuss topics of common interest.
  • Team Surveys – that allow management to obtain feedback on organizational issues.
  • E-mail Alerts – that allow users to subscribe to receive notifications of important events and changes on the Intranet.

Conclusion

In summary, SharePoint is so more than technical tool for creating Intranet sites. It is a business tool for collaboration and knowledge management, that allows users to do much more than simply create a simple banner and visiting card for their department. It allows users to create, manage and use company information in very proactive and innovative ways.

In practical terms, it allows users to develop the team workplaces, make working processes interactive and connect people with line-of-business data and business processes within the company.

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