What Does it Take to Run an Award Winning Shared Services Centre? Ft. OMV Petrom

Last year, the Service Delivery Centre of integrated oil company OMV Petrom took home not one, but two SSON awards. Here, representing the 1,000 employee organisation, Sorin Babici (Department Manager) Andreea Objreja (IT Project Manager) and Laura Andreea Marin (Senior Artificial Lift Engineer) share a glimpse into their story and the innovations that led to their success. Watch or read the interview below.

Sorin Babici (SB): The vertical in focus for our project was upstream. We figured out, as part of the new innovation hype that has been in culture of our company since last year, that we had to do something to cover one of the major gaps we had in optimising the cost for remote condition monitoring for our upstream facilities. We have been specifically targeting a certain set of well sites, let’s say the cash cows of the upstream business.  

We had started to ask ourselves to not rely on technology while initiating this project and tried to outsmart the industry a little bit and questioned ourselves about why we are doing this project. As soon as we figured out the answer for the ‘why’, we started to break down into details to see how we can achieve our goals and with what.

This is quite an atypical way of approaching things, but we had courage and in the end it paid off. The ‘why?’ was because we had gaps in remote telemetry, in the remote collection of data via remote monitoring. For the ‘how’ we addressed certain specific methodologies, we sought for technology partners and to on board the business in order to have a good momentum. We also asked the central business, or the brains behind the operations in the upstream area as well as the remote facilities which are supposed to be going through this process and doing the hard work in the background. Then in the ‘what’, we realised that we have some good cost effective technologies which promise to deliver really good business case for our industry for the future.

SSOW: Can you tell us more of your journey with the Internet of Things?

SB: I was one of the people who heavily promoted the internet of things concept in the organisation. It was shocking to me that many of our managers felt that this is completely new to them.

The Internet of Things is essentially everything that surrounds us and is connected one way or the other. I think in the Internet of Things you hear many people focusing on technology, but I believe the real value of the internet of things is getting a good sized collection of data. So this is the real value for the business. I also encourage all the business peers that I am meeting with to join this journey and to develop on it as we are just at the beginning.

SSOW: What challenges have you come across?

SB: First of all, as many would have expected, we had a challenge with technology limitations. I would say we went beyond transforming technology, we went into bending technology to actually fit our use case. So going beyond the natural boundaries of the technology is one challenge. The second challenge was the engagement of the team, because it was something completely new and as we are an organisation typically focused on delivering on waterfall methodology, we had to seek something else.

We had to convince a lot of people to get on board and to believe in this idea. It was also quite challenging to present this to management in the right way. Because when you start this kind of project and innovation, everybody sets their expectations high, so we need to do proper stakeholder management.

How were your ideas and vision translated?

Andreea Objreja (AO): We had a great opportunity to present this idea within a hackathon. We actually were pitching the idea for two minutes in order to raise awareness of it and to have management commitment and support to deliver this project. So with this visibility we actually started building the team, getting upstream on board, and with this collaboration, we ended up with some specific use cases that would build a proof of concept on these IoT technologies.

These products are not yet available on the market, which is why we are in the innovation area, so we are building together with our partners based on our use cases and their products. We are now a very close team and will remain as such for future automation projects as we follow an upstream strategy of zero footprint at the well site until 2020.

SSOW: Can you tell me more about the awards application process?

AO: The application for the award was really supportive in promoting the idea even further.  We were amazed when we heard that our idea was selected for the shortlist. We were actually just on the time limit as we were really stretched. We submitted the application on the last day, and when our colleague announced that we are shortlisted we were amazed that we really got into the competition. We were right on the edge.

We also applied a new project management methodology on top of this innovative idea. It was design thinking. This idea was introduced in the first design thinking incubator run within our company and it brought a lot of value by validating our assumption, by identifying the aims and needs of our real customers. The ones which are really the end customer using these solutions, IT solutions.

SB: to summarise the experiences we had in this project and the challenges. The fact that we ran and delivered with success in, let’s say a conservative space in the oil and gas industry, I would have to say one thing to the audience: I strongly believe that courage is at the heart of every success in our business, so be courageous.

Learn more about how you can take your shared service centre to the next level at the 19th Annual Shared Services and Outsourcing Week in Lisbon, Portugal. Network with 600+ industry experts and learn from 80+ at Europe's largest SSO event. Download the 2020 agenda below.

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