Digital Forms, Mobile Apps, IoT, Data Analytics, and Machine Learning in the Oil and Gas Industry

Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Cody Cupp, CEO of the UNEE Group based in Houston, Texas. UNEE focuses on Digital Transformation. We discussed how Petrochemical, O&G, and Energy customers are undertaking Digital Transformation, and this blog shares with all of you Cody’s insights that he has gleaned from actual customer implementations.

These industries focus on Minimizing Risk, Increasing Safety for Resources, Optimizing the Workforce, and Operational Excellence. In order to achieve these objectives here is what O&G companies are deploying:

Digital Forms: O&G firms have a great number of paper-based forms they have to fill. These are related to Environmental, Health, and Safety (ESH). They are now converting these forms to Digital, collecting data on mobile devices, and integrating that data with back end systems directly. These forms work offline and are dynamic. From a User perspective, filling a complex multi-page form is far easier on a tablet than on paper. It leads to better data quality also.

Mobile Apps: Customers are also deploying mobile apps in the Field for Data Collection. Both smartphones and tablets are being used for this. Again, these apps work offline and can send data to backend systems directly. Readings for meters, Inspections, and Work Orders can all be managed via mobile apps instead of filling the paper.

Internet of Things (IoT): Companies are deploying smart sensors, smart meters, and smart cameras on assets to collect data more frequently and accurately. For example, Utilities data is being captured by Smart/Digital meters that can help analyze utilities usage. The data from the Smart meters is fed into an IoT Gateway that consolidates all the information in a backend Utility Management System. This allows for better chargeback of utility consumption to customers thus increasing revenues. It also enhances Customer Service at the same time. Also through Smart Cameras, clients are looking at ways to reduce the risk that can identify leaks in real time by analytics assisted image analysis.  This can increase safety significantly.

Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence: With advancements in data science, computing, and data integration platforms, customers can now leverage these digital transformation toolkits to optimize their business. Leveraging business intelligence, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, these industries have many options for driving costs down through the reduction of operational bottlenecks, asset management, and supply chain optimization. On the top line, these same technologies can be used to optimize assets to find new revenue streams, increase customer satisfaction, and provide overall business transformation into leaner, more agile enterprises.

Business Benefits:

Increase in Revenues, Reduced Costs, Enhanced Safety, and Superior Customer Service are being experienced by customers who have gone Digital in O&G.

Lessons Learned:

There are various points that need to be kept in mind:

  • Data Quality: At the beginning, one should define how the data should look. Various departments like Operations, Maintenance, and Customer Service have their own views of the data. Your data governance models should be able to support these varying views even if the data sources are the same.
  • Understand Your End User: The focus should be on answering the business question and truly understanding the stakeholder(s) process.
  • Quick Wins: Projects with a Quick Win should be selected initially to generate momentum.
  • High Priority: Tackle the Business Problem that is the most important.

As always, please share your feedback or related ideas you may have by writing to us at unvired@sales.io.

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Chatbot for Approvals that Accelerates Decision Making for HR and Procurement

Have you ever waited for a boss to approve your leave application? Then, you know that restless feeling as you pray that you get a fast response. It is not that your boss does not want you to relax.  It is just that in an era of communications overload, it is easy to miss such requests.  Meanwhile, you cannot buy those air tickets.  Have you ever been in the shoes of a Manufacturing Manager and realizing that you will not be able to meet your Production goals as a key component is missing? The part that you had made a Purchase Requisition for was unfortunately never approved by the Procurement Manager.

In order to avoid such scenarios, our customer, a Global Beverage company, has deployed an “Approvals” chatbot. This chatbot integrates with SAP and is deployed on the Unvired Chyme Messenger.  It is built using the Chyme Bots Platform that has Natural Language Processing (NLP) capability. The chatbot was designed with a customized branded persona (formal tone, language, and style) in accordance with the customer brand guidelines. Highlights include:

Use Cases:

  • Procurement: Notification of new POs, View PO details, and take an Action (Approve/Reject)
  • HR: Notification of applied Leave, View leave details, and take an Action (Approve/Reject)

Business benefits are faster Decision making and increased Productivity.  The Supply Chain is expected to operate smoothly as out of stock material is minimized due to timely approvals of POs. Equally importantly, the employees are happy with their leave getting approved promptly.   The success of this is best demonstrated by the thousands of users who have adopted the “Approvals” chatbot.

We would love to hear from you.  If you want to learn more or share your feedback, please write to sales@unvired.com

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Did Google Make your Heart Flutter?

Yes, we are not going to discuss romance here!  We are talking about Flutter, the new UI toolkit to build native apps for both iOS and Android from a single codebase. Our technical team at Unvired has evaluated Flutter and we think that this is a good way to build cross-platform native apps. Here are our initial thoughts:
  • Open Source and Free: We like the fact that it is open source and free.
  • Native Performance: We find that the performance is faster than hybrid mobile apps (as expected, but good to confirm).
  • Fast: Development is faster.
  • User Experience: It is possible to build UI that delivers an enhanced user experience or in Google’s words–beautiful apps.
Companies like Capital One, Alibaba, Tencent, and Google Ads are already using Flutter. It may be a good alternative to Xamarin. We are going to adopt Flutter. I am looking for feedback from people who have built apps using Flutter.
Pl. write to us at sales@unvired.com if you want to share some feedback or talk to us to build beautiful apps for your organization.
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An HR Chatbot that Simplifies Leave Application for your Next Vacation

Let’s face it—you work hard and get the job done.  Now, it is time for some fun in the sand.  Yet, planning your vacation is not always fun.  The last time, you had to log in to SAP, click multiple times to apply for leave, and worse still, send multiple reminders to your very busy boss to approve your leave.  Now, that is a thing of the past.  Read on about how our customer, a Global Beverage company deployed an HR chatbot to enable employees to easily apply for leave and managers to approve it with minimum friction.  I am summarizing some of the highlights:

  • Uses Natural Language (plain English) for applying or approving leave.
  • Out of the box Integration with SAP ECC.
  • HR Request: Check Leave balance, Leave List, and Apply for Leave.
  • Approval: Managers receive Notifications/Alerts of Applied Leave requests, View Leave details, and take an action (Approve/Reject).
  • Chatbot designed with the customized branded persona (formal tone, language, and style) in accordance with the customer brand guidelines

The Business Impact is significant as the chatbot is used by over thousands of users.  The chatbot acts as a Virtual Assistant and simplifies the process of applying for leave from an intuitive chat interface.  Most importantly, leave requests are approved in time without the manager being needed to be prodded.  Indeed, a happy employee is an Engaged Employee, and morale and productivity have improved.

We would love to hear about Chatbots you have deployed.  Pl. comment or write to us at sales@unvired.com if you want to share some feedback or talk to us to begin your chatbot journey.

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A Procurement Chatbot on Workplace by Facebook for a Global Beverage company

Feeling overwhelmed by procurement-related queries from your employees or suppliers?  Or even your customers?  Is your Procurement Call Center/Help Desk inundated with questions about Order Status, Payment details, or Shipping status that prevents them from focusing on more strategic tasks?  If that is the case, perhaps, it is time for you to consider deploying a Procurement chatbot like our global Beverage customer in South Africa did.  Here are the highlights of their Procurement Digital Assistant/chatbot journey:

Use Cases

  • Answer queries related to Purchase Requisitions, Order Status, Shipment, & Supplier Status
  • Look up Customer & Supplier AR, Credit, and other details
  • Check for Stock lookup and Price details

Points to Consider

1. Maximize Adoption: The challenge for the customer was to determine which channel to deploy the chatbot.  They wanted to eliminate friction in the adoption of the chatbot.  After some deliberation, they decided to deploy the chatbot on Workplace by Facebook as it was their collaboration platform that was already adopted by users.

2. Integration: The chatbot was integrated with their backend systems, namely SysPro/SQL server database.

3. Bot Personality: The chatbot was designed with a customized branded persona (formal tone, language, and style) in accordance with the customer’s brand guidelines

Business Metrics

  • Used by hundreds of users
  • Procurement related queries are answered in real-time basis compared to 2-7 days of processing time previously
  • Empowers Suppliers and Customers to perform queries directly rather than call the Contact Center
  • Improved Operational efficiency
  • Reduced Support hours and Costs of repetitive tasks

We would love to receive your feedback.  If you have any ideas to share related to Chatbots please write to us at sales@unvired.io

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