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Starting Digitalization

Andrew Gregg of Gregg Valdés & Associates shares his thoughts on how to start a digital transformation strategy.

Gregg Valdés & Associates provides specialized engineering document and data management services for the oil and gas industry, from development of major capital projects to operations phase and brownfield projects; they and have delivered efficiency benefits which result from easy access to equipment tag data and linking to engineering and vendor documentation.


I think in much of what we’re here talking about digitalization of facilities is the early adopters have already been there. And there’s a lot of learning that can be picked up if you wanted to move forward into either the digitization of documents, or the data, or if you wanted to move into some more sophisticated uses of the digitization. And I think the early adopters have been there. The trick now I think is to move into something that is perhaps better integrated and more holistic, and also enables you to add in new technologies into a sound foundation of digitized information as one moves forward. I think one of the challenges in terms of making that first step is that in many cases, organizations still are working in silos. So it may not be as readily apparent what the value is for one particular team. Whereas the value may become much more apparent if you see it as digitized information which is available to a wide variety of disciplines. So I think part of the answer is one has to look at it more holistically, as an integrated team working to optimize the asset. And then some of the benefits may be much broader than what you would see looking at it from the viewpoint of an individual discipline. My recommendation would be to start with an organizational structure that insures that you have a responsibility for the digitization process for the whole asset, rather than starting within individual teams. So you really start to have someone responsible for the overall strategy for digitization. Second part of it is you may wish to, especially for brownfield site, you may wish to start at the small side, the documents and data side, and create a firm foundation. I think one aspect one should start with is insuring you have an appropriate responsibility for the overall digitization of a facility. And do not leave it to perhaps one team to try and do the overall strategies. So I think you need a responsible person. You need an overall digitization strategy. And you may then move forward with relatively small chunks of initiatives, within that overall strategy. But I think it’s important to have a strategy in place, something that will last for some years, and ensure that any initiatives, whether they be relatively small initiatives, still fall within that overall framework.