There was a time when companies used technology to drive efficiency and lower costs. But, in today’s economy, being efficient is no longer enough. Now, technology is used to drive innovation and propel companies past their competition.
Given the rapid advances in “cloud computing” over the past 5 years, people across the enterprise space have begun to choose online applications over traditional desktop software. And, many have seen great increases in revenue as new technologies have improved workflows and enabled ideas to spread more quickly throughout their organizations.
10 years ago, the idea of companies using applications like Gmail and Google Docs over traditional desktop email and word processors would have been anathema. However, with the advent of Facebook, Twitter and the whole world of Social Media, people have grown accustomed to dumping large amounts of data into online applications that never even had desktop software. As a result, a growing number of companies are embracing “the cloud” and utilizing tools like Salesforce.com.
Moving Traditional Software to Outside Services
The movement to “Software As A Service” (SaaS) has impacted the Information Technology (IT) world just as much as the Personal Computer (PC) did businesses ‒ only at a much faster pace. The PC took several years, even decades, to make transformational changes in the marketplace. But, SaaS applications and cloud-based solutions have made significant waves in just a few short years. Many industries are already using SaaS applications for their back office systems.
One particularly interesting vertical that recently made the switch is real estate. For years, agents staunchly refused to believe things would change. However, given that Realtors live on the road showing homes, it was only a matter of time before solutions built around their mobile lifestyle emerged. Software companies saw the hole in the market and rushed in with products like the Real Estate Cloud and Real Estate Assistant. Today, the vast majority of real estate applications are web-based and heavily mobile. In fact, there are no major desktop software developers left in the industry.
Whether you are talking Pandora and Spotify for music streaming, Netflix for movie viewing, or Dropbox for storage, the cloud is growing, and it’s growing fast. If you need more proof, just look at the recent announcement that Google passed Microsoft’s market value. This wouldn’t have happened if the web wasn’t taking the PC to the woodshed.
What About Oil & Gas?
Our industry is seeing innovation on this front, but many are still using desktop software. Veterans of the industry feel this won’t change in the near future, but there are a growing number of people who think very differently. Drillinginfo, in particular, is doing a lot of work in this area that is sure to disrupt the marketplace.
But, the movement beyond the desktop is something we have to decide as an industry. To paraphrase Yogi Berra, we have come to a fork in the road, and either way, we have to take it. We can follow real estate’s lead and fight the digital, social and mobile revolution. However, even if we choose that path, there is no doubt we will eventually be forced to follow their lead in making it our own. Because, if technology has taught us anything, it is that change is inevitable and it applies to everyone.
What do you think? Is it time for the Oil & Gas industry to move beyond the desktop? Leave a comment below.