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Designing software for expert use

Designing software for engineers and geoscientists' non linear work processes
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Friday, March 22, 2019
The Geological Society

Nearly all experts working in the oil and gas industry work in very non-linear ways - understanding a changing situation, assessing risks, making decisions based on complex factors and judgements, fixing problems. This applies equally to geoscientists, engineers and operations staff.

Yet digital technology for the oil and gas industry is largely not designed for people to work in such non-linear, complex ways. We have tools to enable people to complete a specific task, such as a design or seismic interpretation, analytics software which aims to present answers from complex data, and transaction support software such as SAP for supporting rigid work processes.

Perhaps the misalignment between software products and experts' needs is the reason for much of the disappointment people are seeing from digital technology implementations. Rather than complain about experts' "resistance to change" it may be better to build software tools which actually support experts.

Examples of software tools we have seen which support experts are Imaged Reality, Teradata, Hampton Data, Flare Solutions Landmark / Neftex, Think Tank Maths, Safekick, Tessella, Eigen, Intelligent Plant, Hexagon, Near Miss Management, ABB, OPEX, and many more.

These expert-centric companies help oil and gas experts to understand geology, get insights from the company's subsurface data library, organise old documents, search for information, model petroleum systems, steer drill bits, better understand drilling logs, better manage production, check status of safety barriers, work with complex sensor data, understand complex equipment, understand complex offshore operations, use augmented reality to monitor operations and achieve cybersecurity, better identify trends in how sensor data is changing.

There must be plenty of value there.

At our March 22 forum we'll discuss what expert centric software looks like - and what special approaches are required to build it.

Perhaps the most important step is understanding how experts actually assess situations and make decisions - and modelling the software around that. This requires software that can work in multiple levels of abstraction (seeing the situation from different levels of detail, coarse and fine grain), and enabling the expert to look closely at a certain aspect while still taking in the whole picture (known as 'separation of concerns').


9:30 Welcome & Introduction: followed by SESSION 1:
9:40 Speaker from -
Oil company

10:15 Speaker from -
Oil company

10:50 Coffee & Tea; Exhibits
11:20 Speaker from -
Technology / service company

11:55 Speaker from -
Technology / service company

12:30 Speaker from -
Technology / service company

13:00 Lunch & Exhibits, followed by SESSION 3:
14:00 Speaker from -
Technology / service company

14:45 Speaker from -
Oil company

15:20 Speaker from -
Technology / service company

15:55 Close

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