Delivering Information as a Service at PTTEP Australasia

By Adrian Gallyot

Information as a service, or IaaS for short, is one of those bright new four-letter acronyms that means different things to different people. It’s a cousin of software as a service, SaaS, and it lies at the heart of the heart of where technology, information management and governance intersect today.

IaaS didn’t really exist when I began working in the IM space 10 years ago, initially doing hardcopy Records Management, Document Management, Business Analysis and System Design & Development.

However, IaaS is now at the heart of how we now approach Information Management at PTTEP Australasia, a wholly-owned subsidiary of PTTEP, the Thai national petroleum exploration and production company. It is a top ten publicly-listed company on the Thai Stock Exchange and operates more than 40 projects globally with a workforce of 4,000.

We have three locations in Australia employing more than 300 people and operate the producing Montara oil field and the highly prospective Cash Maple gas condensate field in the Timor Sea. 

This presents some unique challenges.

Traditionally these three separate areas were approached independently:

  • ICT - traditionally maintain the infrastructure by which we capture and manipulate information.
  • IM – traditionally maintain the history of business processes and administer this information to the correct stakeholders in the form of documents, data, reports, etc.
  • Governance – overarching organisational policies that determine how business shall be conducted with view to maintain commercial advantage in industry and abide by its regulatory requirements.

The crossover of these three is where I believe IaaS belongs, and unless our work as information managers has a positive influence on a business’s profitability then we risk becoming irrelevant!   

This means challenging the traditional role of information management to begin to formulate strategies to influence the key business processes that generate profit and productivity.

Like many organisations in Australia, PTTEP Australasia is utilising SharePoint 2010 as our intranet where we bring together both automated process links, views of data and document management.

In addition we are employing HP Process Automation to design our workflow solutions including web forms, process logic files, connections to databases and exporting connections to the iManage DMS.

HP iManage is how we capture all the resulting attachments and flat PDF forms of completed processes while SQL Server captures raw data about our processes which we then use to construct live data reports and customised data views for stakeholders.

An example of a complicated workflow peculiar to our industry is the Engineering Change Request which manages the capture of information relating to all engineering changes to machinery on any of our production facilities.

This is a five-stage process that requires up to 22 approvals!

Developing a fool proof workflow to support this process required fully understanding requirements and getting to know and supporting the real business process, not just the one in the official procedures manual.

It also made it necessary to understand the full business context that this process exists in, as well as all the external factors that influence and support it.

Automating the approval process as much as possible created the best experience for the user, and ensured a flexible design that can adapt to perceived changes in future.

Continuous improvement is also essential, demanding timely response to requests for improvements and ensuring that system functionality is maintained at its optimum.

Offshore Staff

One of the challenges of an offshore petroleum company is the large number of offshore employees that operate on a roster system, so each approval job role has multiple users.

To solve this at PTTEP Australasia, we created approval groups for each position and ensured email notifications went to the shared mail boxes.  We also developed an additional form to manage any temporary reassignment of a job role.

Many organisations face the challenge of consolidating legacy data. At PTTEP we had over 300 Engineering Change Request systems (ECRs) that needed to be consolidated in the same format to ensure that we could group two different data sets into one.

Taking the service driven approach we created an ECR “UPDATE” form to allow the user to select, review and change their data, and launch an ECR in any of the five approval stages.

Communication of ECR progress was a huge problem prior to this system, as offshore staff in particular lacked the ability to know who had their ECR.

We broke new ground by allowing offshore and onshore staff the capability to track the progress of their form using a live tracking data report available on the company intranet through a data linked Excel file. 

Introducing Information as a service requires more than smart technology, the biggest challenge is the entrenched culture and how you manage the change in stakeholders’ roles.

This requires patience, understanding and empathy.

Providing users with links to the workflow system helped ease the transition, they can access a web form to begin a new process and submit it for approval or see any forms pending approval in their inbox.

They are provided with links to Document Management System so that users can view the flat file PDF version of their approved forms along with each attachment related to their engineering change which is actually saved into Worksite.

They can also view graphs generated from a live data linked spread sheet, allowing the live statistics to provide a source for periodic reporting requirements.

The use of SharePoint 2010 means all this related information from a multitude of locations can be presented as one solution for our Engineering & Maintenance Department.

Information as a service at PTTEP is basically defined as our ability to gain an in depth understanding of the information management requirements of our business and our ability to adapt the functionality of our system tools to meet those requirements both now and in the future.

Adrian Gallyot works within the Information Management Development team at PTTEP Australasia to capture and automate business processes.