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Make The Oil And Gas Downturn Work For You


Even for glass-half-full type of people, the oil and gas downturn is lasting longer than we wish. And for those that are the glass-half-empty type, the slump in prices has lasted so long that you may be passed the bury your head in the sand strategy and on to “something has to be done.” Either way, the scary headlines keep filling our newsfeeds and cluttering our mindshare and can make it feel hopeless, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are 3 ways to make the downturn good for you and your organization.

First, you can take time to stop, take a breath, and filter through all the noise that comes in from vendors and evaluate new technology. In the $100 oil days, you’re so busy trying to stay ahead of the other guy, you may depend on me-too, gut-feel or whatever “Joe says” strategies. That level of pressure can cause people to avoid evaluating the tools or technologies that can help them in the market. New technology is always evolving; so in the slower market those tried and true methods you always depended on can be easily leapfrogged with something revolutionary. Give yourself time to evolve.

Second, reevaluate solutions you already have in-house that are sub-optimized, or not utilized to the full potential of the product. To quote Allen Gilmer, our CEO, “Don’t use a Ferrari as a flower pot.” Optimizing and streamlining technology takes time and sometimes you may have services or tools at your fingertips you may not be using at all. Now is the time to look at why it was originally purchased and how you can leverage it moving forward.

Regardless of industry people under-utilize tools all the time. Perhaps you have a power user in-house that understands a tool in and out, however the rest of the team are novices. Perhaps your power user and advocate for the technology or product left the team, and now the product is totally unused. Making sure the team Learns the tool and understands all of its advantages, not only helps the efficiency in your current organization, adds skills and value to your resume in any organization.

The third and most important reason the downturn can be good for you –is that it forces you to get out of the box, innovate, and collaborate in a way that only necessity can. For example, the industry has just started to uncover the tip of the integrated workflow iceberg. In the past, everyone in the industry worked in silos, whether you were a land man, engineer, geologist, etc. The data used by these stakeholders was stored in multiple locations, was not updated on a regular cadence, and could conflict with another silo’s data. This approach created some inherent challenges including error-prone workflows and time-consuming process, as well as the struggle to predict or quantify potential results and returns. Now, we have started to crack down traditional methods and see the evolution of working on cross-functional teams that are developing integrated workflows, with more intelligence and accuracy than ever before. Integrated workflows will be the way of the future; but without the necessity of having to figure out how to be more efficient and do more with less, the industry may not have gotten there as quickly.

Remember, the glass can be refilled and we need to be positive to stay ahead in the current environment. Once the price of oil increases, the efficiencies in your company created during these tougher times will be capitalized on and the organization will be stronger than ever before.

Your Turn

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Martha Aviles

Martha Aviles has over a decade of diverse marketing experience in technology start-ups, private and public corporations, including SAAS, network security, and semiconductors industries. Martha has successfully led through 7 mergers and acquisitions, including managing several integration and acquisition exits. Martha’s background includes product marketing, public relations, messaging, positioning, analyst relations, lead generation, brand management and crisis communications.  Currently, Martha leads both customer training and product marketing for Drillinginfo. Martha has an MBA from The University of Texas, and holds a BBA from Texas A&M University.