Cybersecurity leads investments today; big data/analytics and AI, tomorrow
We asked survey respondents which digital technologies their organization was investing in today? Cybersecurity was cited more than any other—by 61 percent of respondents. That is a 49 percent increase of the 12 percent who made that claim in 2017 (see Figure 1.) The focus on cyber resilience continues and is, in fact, sharply increasing as oil companies protect their assets and reputation.
Oil companies see cybersecurity, cloud, and big data/analytics driving the most business impact today; whereas artificial intelligence/machine learning drive more value tomorrow.
The greatest number (51%) cited artificial intelligence/machine learning as the top digital technologies they plan to invest in over the next three to five years (see Figure 2.) This number is up from 30% in 2017 and is consistent with the industry expectation that AI will be driving future value.
Scaling digital is key to unlock value
The survey reveals that, over the last two years, upstream oil and gas companies found it difficult to scale digital initiatives beyond proofs of concept (POCs):
Ecosystem of partnerships
Digital is helping oil companies reduce costs and make faster and better decisions. But there is a need to develop skills and reorganize to unlock this value. The majority of upstream companies felt they needed external skills and capabilities to scale digital to transform their companies. Nearly 60% stated they would look to external providers for assistance.
Upstream companies recognize that external strategic partnerships can accelerate change and bring greater value. Faster access to technology and innovation (31%) and better business margins (24%) are the top reasons for forming such partnerships. "Other" incentives included access to new talent, new technology, new geographies, and new customers (see Figure 3).
Oil companies need to work in new collaboration models with external ecosystems to gain access to the skills, technologies, and innovation needed to scale digital and unlock value from their digital investments.