Fast-Growing Operator Completes ERP Software Selection in Under 60 Days
The veteran leadership for a newly formed oil and gas venture were aware of the benefits of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. ERP integrates processes and facilitates information flow between Land and Accounting, and often includes Operations. Eager to execute their aggressive growth plan in the Oklahoma STACK formation, leadership wanted to introduce ERP benefits sooner rather than later. So, they put a line in the sand to complete the ERP software evaluation process within 60 days.
Given the company’s current size and future plans, it was critical to select a “best fit” ERP system with the capacity to adapt to growth. The company’s leadership were not naïve about the challenge, however, especially with their self-imposed 60-day deadline. Evaluating and selecting commercial ERP systems is an inherently complex undertaking, and there are numerous commercial ERP systems on the market. Software functionality, total cost of ownership and implementation factors are key considerations. But the ultimate factor is determining which system provides the best fit for the company’s needs, both now and weighing anticipated growth.
To support the ERP initiative, Stonebridge brought in a small, highly skilled team to manage the entire ERP software selection and vendor evaluation process on behalf of the client. Based on client’s business requirements, the Stonebridge team narrowed the vendor pool to three ERP finalists and executed a defined software selection methodology:
- Project Preparation and Planning – Performed a pre-selection assessment of the client’s requirements impacted by the ERP implementation (Financial Accounting, JIB Accounting, Revenue Accounting, Division Orders, Production and Midstream).
- Strategic Roadmap – Developed a strategic ERP vision addressing the client’s current needs and accelerated implementation timeline.
- RFI Issuance and Introductory Demonstrations – Notified ERP software vendors to assess their ability to meet the client’s defined business requirements.
- Vendor RFP and Software Demonstrations – Orchestrated the RFP process, analyzed vendor responses to ensure the client’s functional and technical requirements are met, and managed software demos.
- Vendor Evaluation and Final Selection – Executed a structured step-by-step ERP software evaluation process including TCO estimates and client references.
- Contract Negotiations – Conducted negotiations with the selected ERP software vendor on behalf of the client to finalize terms and conditions.
Working on behalf of the company, Stonebridge completed a comprehensive ERP selection and vendor evaluation in less than 60 days—a significant accomplishment appreciated by the client as well as the vendor finalists. Post selection process, the client engaged Stonebridge to oversee the ERP system implementation, working closely with the software vendor and business users throughout the process.
Improving Visibility into Land Department Processes and Interactions
A Denver-based exploration and production company needed visibility into land process activities and interactions across its land department and multiple supporting vendors.
- Identified over $360,000 in annual cost savings by eliminating duplication of effort
- Provided the client with visual tools to analyze activity and ownership among vendors
- Recommendations for removing bottlenecks that hamper scalability
The land department at a Denver-based exploration and production company depended heavily on vendor involvement during leasing, well readiness and partner management activities. Stonebridge engaged vendors through process workshops that focused on capturing process steps and handoffs, as well as technology use and data management activities. As with all successful process assessments, the land vendor assessment identified multiple opportunities for improvements to data capture and quality, along with reduced business costs and shorter cycle times. Armed with deeper insights into how work was being done across vendors and the resulting impacts to data, productivity, people and finances, the client is better equipped to make informed decisions on process and technology changes to improve performance and scalability.
Shale Play Optimization Analytics at Continental Resources
Continental Resources is taking the guesswork out of completions planning using advanced play optimization analytics and reporting capabilities developed by Stonebridge Consulting.
Based in Oklahoma City, Continental Resources is the largest leaseholder and one of the largest producers in the nation’s premier oil field, the Bakken play of North Dakota and Montana. The company also has significant positions in Oklahoma, including its SCOOP Woodford and SCOOP Springer discoveries and the Northwest Cana play. With a focus on the exploration and production of oil, Continental has unlocked the technology and resources vital to American energy independence. In 2015, the company celebrates 48 years of operations.
Faced with a market downturn and the impact on future horizontal drilling opportunities, operators like Continental are asking themselves, “How can we maximize our potential earnings in each play?” Because the North American shale revolution has unlocked vast amounts of reserves once thought impossible to exploit, operators are scrutinizing completions data by play like never before to better understand key operational questions:
- Are we maximizing our earnings potential compared to estimated reserves?
- What are the contributing factors that impact production optimization?
- Which completion method is creating the most value?
To get answers to these questions, Continental engaged Stonebridge Consulting to provide business advisory and technology enablement services required to develop advanced shale play optimization analytics and reporting capabilities.
Stonebridge worked with a cross-functional project team comprising Continental executive management, IT, and key personnel in resource development, completions, production to gather business-side requirements for play optimization analytics and reporting. Additionally, Stonebridge and Continental’s IT leadership formed a blended team to develop the technical road map and deliver an innovative solution involving integration of play-specific data and advanced reporting and data visualization.
Play-Specific Data – To unlock the reporting potential of play-specific data, the project team focused on how production is affected by completions methods and how that compares to what the company was expecting to produce. Getting this business perspective required a combination of completions, well header, reservoir, and production data.
- Completions – WellView® was leveraged to pull key completions data such as fluid type, proppant type, and volume.
- Well Header – Core data attributes were company-wide well identifier, well name, location, and working interest.
- Production – Sources included Continental’s internal production system complemented by public information sources based on 30-, 60-, and 90-day averages.
- Reservoir – The focus was on actual performance against unplanned reserves as well as account reserves data such as EUR, BOE, gas, oil, and water.
Reporting – TIBCO Spotfire business intelligence software is used to visualize play-specific data for gaining insight into productivity of each play. In Figure 1, Continental business users can pull wells in a particular formation and compare completions method to production in order to see how the various factors (e.g., fluid type and proppant) relate to production.
Figure 1: Production to Completions
Additionally, the play optimization reporting solution enables Continental to see how different factors can influence production levels (Figure 2).
Figure 2: Influence of Fluids and Proppants
Food for Thought: Completions Data Best Practices
Data Entry: Now that completions data is being used to drive production performance, companies should take a closer look at how they are entering completions data in WellView®. Is your company utilizing the most up-to-date capabilities in WellView® 10 around capturing completions data by interval? Are there consistent processes and procedures in place to ensure accurate information? Is your historical data clean and available?
Integration: To make completions data meaningful, companies need to look at how production is affected by completions methods and how it compares to what the company was expecting to produce. In order to do that, completions, well header, public, reservoir and production data need to be integrated together in a data management tool.
Reporting: Once the data is integrated, companies can then detect patterns that can be used to make smarter business decisions and develop key performance indicators to monitor the process. Once those indicators are in place, utilizing a reporting tool like Spotfire will allow companies to build forecasts on historical trends as well as take action on suspicious metrics.
Intranet portal for working interest partners
A Houston-based independent oil and gas company faced a common administrative burden among E&P operators: regular, ongoing communication with working interest owners.
- Secure extranet portal for working interest owners to view structured and unstructured well data at their convenience
- Detailed audit trail showing when documents are added and which partners have viewed them and when
- Wells and associated sites related by operating company based on verification from land/division order data
- Authentication of users via email address and managed password
A Houston-based independent oil and gas company faced a common administrative burden among E&P operators: regular, ongoing communication with working interest owners. For Stonebridge’s client in particular, the partner communication challenge had grown due to increased drilling projects for which it functioned as managing partner. The company wanted to automate its internal processes for gathering partner information and have the ability to “publish” the information so that working interest partners could access their well information via an extranet partner portal. Stonebridge developed a custom extranet portal solution for distributing information to the client’s working interest partners. Built on Microsoft SharePoint, the portal provides a secure, self-service mechanism for “read only” viewing of key daily reports on the performance and status of partner-associated wells. A partner can view a list of its well interests and follow a simple navigation structure to individual sites for partner-associated wells. Each well site includes a breakdown of key well master data, derived from the operator’s line of business systems.
AFE workflow with document management
Faced with the prospect of drilling thousands of new wells, this Houston-based company needed to resolve its overtaxed AFE process issue at the enterprise level.
- Tracks each AFE through its life cycle, increasing the reliability of the process
- Improves AFE approval turnaround time by 30%
- Establishes a standard company-wide AFE approval process for all capital expenditures
Based in Houston, this independent energy company has embarked on an aggressive drilling program estimated to result in the drilling of thousands of wells over the next three years. To handle the expanding drilling, the company had instituted policies that compel its asset teams to follow an extensive and complex process for authorization for expenditure (AFE) approval. The existing AFE approval process was paper-intensive and largely manual, and was already creating decision bottlenecks and increasing project costs. Further, faced with the prospect of drilling thousands of new wells and the added strain on its already overtaxed AFE processes, the company realized it needed to resolve its AFE problem at the enterprise level. After evaluating a number of off-the-shelf software packages for AFE workflow, the company’s turned to Stonebridge to help it build a custom AFE solution that leveraged existing technology investments. Stonebridge designed, developed, and implemented a custom workflow-based solution for the AFE process, including approvals, status tracking, annotations, and archival of artifacts and documents.
The solution has three core components:
- A custom user interface built on Microsoft’s .NET framework, that is easy to use by the wide range of participants actively engaged in the AFE process, from geologists and drilling engineers to executive management.
- Workflow automation that precisely tracks the progress of a specific AFE, which increases overall process efficiency and accountability and enables management to quickly pinpoint exactly where a specific AFE is in its approval process.
- Document management capabilities including a central repository for all AFE documentation and document transformation that instantly converts AFE-related artifacts – seismic reports, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, .tif files, etc. – into a single PDF file.
The system automatically updates the master PDF file each time a new artifact is attached to the AFE. Once the AFE workflow is complete, the PDF is automatically stored within the document repository and placed in its associated well file.
Map-based executive dashboard
The client’s CEO envisioned a map-based software tool – a “spatial dashboard” – that would aggregate the multiple types of information related to wells and other assets inside a specific geographical area.
- Presents relevant business data from familiar systems in an easy-to-use map interface.
- Depicts company assets – rigs, wells, and leases – as distinct visual icons, within user-selected geographic area
- Integrates third-party data showing competitor positions in key geographic areas of interest
- Leverages operational data from corporate GIS
The client’s CEO envisioned a map-based software tool – a “spatial dashboard” – that would aggregate the multiple types of information related to wells and other assets inside a specific geographical area. The client’s IT director teamed with Stonebridge to bring the CEO’s vision of a spatial dashboard to life. Stonebridge first developed a proof of concept (POC) of the application using a subset of data from one of the client’s four areas of interest. Based on the response of the client’s executive team to the POC, Stonebridge developed the production spatial dashboard. The tool provides a single information source for the CEO, as well as for staff at other levels, to access multiple types of information about assets – rigs, wells, and leases – within a defined operating field. Specific asset types and their status are distinguished visually as distinct icons of different sizes, shapes, and colors, each indicating different business conditions: productivity, category, performance, etc. The tool brings together layers of data from these source systems as well as competitive data purchased from third-party providers such as Tobin and geo-centric data such as geologic formations, points of interest (including roadways, pipelines, waterways, etc.), weather, and topographical imagery. More importantly, the composite data layers are contextualized via a common, intuitive, and easy-to-understand user experience.
Legal document management solution
A growing midstream services company’s process for managing legal documents was creating significant inefficiencies. Paper-based records were organized by entity, placed in binders with tabbed sections indicating various document types, and stored on shelves in a file room. The company looked to Stonebridge to define a technical approach.
- Combines process optimization with advanced document/record management automation
- Enables legal department to focus on working with the corporate records and transaction documents – supporting audit and other routine company matters – instead of managing a physical file room
- Provide auditors or other department staff secure access to specific areas of the system, enabling effective self-service access to vital records
A growing midstream services company’s process for managing legal documents was creating significant inefficiencies. Paper-based records were organized by entity, placed in binders with tabbed sections indicating various document types, and stored on shelves in a file room. Legal documents related to acquisition and divestiture of assets was similarly organized by transaction and placed in binders with tabbed sections. From a process perspective, as new and/or related documents were created, legal staff was required to physically place them in their respective binders. The labor-intensive and error-prone environment put increasing burdens on the legal department’s time and workload. Meeting requests for specific documents – for example, during company audits – required staff to search through binders and retrieve documents literally by hand. The company turned to Stonebridge to define a technical approach for its document management solution. The goal was to organize the legal department’s information in a digital folder structure that replicated the structure and organization of its existing physical filing system. To minimize project risk, Stonebridge first developed a proof of concept (POC) showing that the technical approach would meet user needs. With the success of the POC, the client engaged Stonebridge to fully implement the solution. Built on the Microsoft SharePoint platform, the document repository organizes digital copies of documents using embedded metadata that allows legal staff to easily search, retrieve, and produce specific documents needed for audits and other routine company matters.
Creating the “gold standard” of well information
For an independent upstream company, better information management about the company’s key well assets throughout their lifecycle was critical to decision-making and collaboration between business areas.
- Centralized data management facility to replace disparate manual activities
- Introduction of collaborative technologies to improve work within and between departments
- Higher assurance of data quality through common user interface and data source
- Activity tracking and version management of well data to satisfy auditing requirements
- Improved productivity through the use of search capabilities
- Less institutional “noise” – e.g., fewer emails, shared network drive dependencies, file version control issues, communication of changes
For an independent upstream company, better information management about the company’s key well assets throughout their lifecycle was critical to decision-making and collaboration between business areas. With activities increasing in various emerging and EOR plays, data was constantly created, received, and updated. The company’s systems environment consisted of a loosely coupled combination of hosted technologies (Excalibur), on-premises packaged software (ARIES), and a complex network of manually updated spreadsheets (Excel). The infrastructure proved increasingly difficult to manage as the business experienced dramatic growth. Stonebridge was engaged to define a more efficient means of collecting and publishing the “gold standard” of well information to all interested parties throughout the company. To create the solution, Stonebridge decomposed the current manual process into its component parts and activities. With a clear mapping of where each data element originates, how it is updated, and who requires access to it, a more complete data model related to the well was composed. With the data in a more organized state, Stonebridge and the client moved toward design of a web-based facility for managing this information. This solution, utilizing the Microsoft SharePoint platform, provides a number of capabilities for the subject matter experts responsible for updating the well information. Data entry and updates for defined wells are managed online through a common web-based interface in order to provide secure control of the data elements and track the activity related to data changes. Additionally, the solution includes a robust search interface that allows users at all skill levels direct access to information about the hundreds (and eventually thousands) of wells in which the company has operating interest.