SPARK Conference 2020 Highlights
Each year, Enverus employees and industry experts convene with customers at the Business Automation User Conference. Cost control is a vital part of oil and gas profitability, so we look forward to this annual event because it brings together accounts payable, joint venture accounting and supply chain, and operations professionals to learn about new ways to drive efficiencies in the back-office to increase profitability across an entire company. It almost feels like a family reunion for employees and customers who have worked together for years.
While our family was unable to meet in-person this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Enverus reached a new milestone in our company’s history with this year’s conference going completely virtual and rebranded as SPARK! This year’s conference took place on Oct. 14 and focused on innovating through the downturn, and how business automation will play a dominant role in the future of energy to deliver predictability and profitability.
“With the economic downturn related to the coronavirus pandemic and volatility in commodity pricing, travel and in-person conferences have come to a standstill,” says Chris Dinkler, general manager and senior vice president of Enverus Business Automation. “For years, a handshake upon a deal, networking and knowledge-sharing have been the cornerstone of the energy industry — but we’re living in a new world now. While we cannot replace a personal interaction and connection, we are coming close to replicating some of those incredible elements virtually with SPARK.”
This year’s SPARK conference brought together more than 600 attendees, 44 speakers and 19 sessions focused on the theme of “Ignite Innovation.” We are thankful for the support and feedback we received just a week after concluding SPARK.
Here are a few of the key themes discussed during the virtual conference.
The downturn has increased the pace of innovation in energy.
When the pandemic started, companies around the world had to adapt quickly to protect their employees while maintaining continuity of business. Energy companies had to manage this change with the added challenge of a steep drop in demand, sending the entire industry into a downward spiral. One would think this might damper innovation, but it accelerated the pace. Enverus customers saw the writing on the wall — either innovate or be left behind.
The new solutions featured at SPARK, including OpenInsights spend analytics and Audit Intelligence (built in partnership with operators Ovintiv and Concho Resources), are just a few examples of the results of this rapid pace of innovation.
A customized strategic sourcing solution is needed for the energy industry.
The entire oil patch model of operations is focused on outsourcing specialized work to service companies. This creates an extremely complex sourcing ecosystem. With the largest network of operators and service providers in North America transacting on OpenInvoice, Enverus is well-positioned to create an entire source-to-settle solution, aimed at improving collaboration between suppliers and buyers.
During SPARK, Enverus and Marathon Oil announced a joint venture to build this complete sourcing solution.
A focus on increasing back-office efficiency is critical in an environment of shrinking margins where cash is king.
Improving efficiency anywhere in your operations is a proven way to save time and resources, ultimately improving cost control. While many energy companies already use the latest drilling technologies in the field, some are still stuck in the 1980s when it comes to efficient back-office processes, using paper invoices and field tickets to track work completed in the field. Focusing on improving back-office efficiency is an area of opportunity still untapped by many companies and offers additional opportunity for cost savings, as well as the ability to operate with reduced staff where impacted by the downturn.
During SPARK, several Enverus customers spoke about the time and resources saved by turning to Enverus’ technology, automation and services to protect margins from market volatility and drive greater efficiency in their business.
“Don’t Stop Believing” was the title of the conference’s keynote session. In this session, a panel of industry executives discussed the outlook of the industry over the next 18 months and the important role technology will play in delivering future profitability. The three themes discussed above were key messages featured during different sessions throughout the day. In the end, we all must keep believing that the future of energy is bright, but we also must act to build that bright future by continuing to innovate together.
Interested in viewing sessions from SPARK 2020?