We love and depend on technology, but it isn’t always our friend. Too often, companies end up spending too much of their time confronting problems rather than peacefully enjoying the benefits provided by their computers, phones, and other technologies. The oil and gas industry used to be based on skill, sweat equity, and a dose of luck. Now, in addition to that, success is increasingly dependent on technology. From new drilling techniques to tracking the spot trading markets, keeping up with the latest software, hardware, and other technology has become necessary, both for company profits and for protection.
Here are three ways to help keep the modern wonders of technology on your company’s side.
1.Don’t Jump in with Both Feet
When it comes to the oil and gas industry, staying ahead of the crowd isn’t just a way to be successful, it’s a way of life. At the same time, encountering problems with new technology is a serious concern. When it comes to oil fields, the solution is to have engineers check and double check before rolling out a new design.
The same approach is important with I.T. and telecommunications systems. Controlled tests before introducing systemwide changes are vital to ensure that everything goes smoothly. An experienced managed service provider can enable your company to effectively stick one toe into the water to check for problems before your entire company jumps in.
There are a few components to this strategic approach. Look for an I.T. provider that has the expertise to research new systems and upgrades so they know what problems might appear.
For major changes, you can install new software on a few test computers or phones before changing over the whole company. This can allow you to make sure there are no compatibility issues before a companywide implementation.
These types of checks are particularly important for oil and gas companies due to the specialized processes within the industry: from using AutoCAD to managing online pipeline nominations, to maintaining production and processing accounting records. Your MSP can help you check for problems and develop solutions before a rollout.
Timing is important. You want to ensure that system updates are completed while computers or phones aren’t in use so that your employees don’t experience unnecessary service interruptions.
Most updates should be seamless, but for more significant upgrades, your MSP should be able to provide information and training to employees, if needed, so that they know what to expect.
This can be particularly important when upgrading smartphones. Mobile device management can track the new devices to make sure employees receive the equipment they need. Then, by using the resource of an outsourced help desk, your employees will have the access they need to experts in case they have questions or concerns. This not only keeps your workers connected and working, it provides them with an added sense of security.
2. Gain Employee Productivity, 23 Minutes at a Time
The publication Fast Company reported on a University of California, Irvine, study that documented the impact interruptions have on workers. They found that after an interruption, it took an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for an employee to return to the task they were working on prior to the interruption.
In some cases, the interruptions are important, like operational updates or market changes. These urgent issues need to be addressed immediately; however, those types of interruptions are usually the exceptions.
The UC Irvine study found that the type of interruption mattered. If it was related to the task the employee was currently facing, an interruption often provided helpful information and was a positive force in completing work. Interruptions that required little thought, time, or effort had limited impact on employees as they were generally quickly able to resume their work without losing their momentum or train of thought.
The biggest impact on productivity was when employees had to mentally switch from one subject to another. These resulted in the longest delays in resuming the original tasks. In addition, many employees find excessive interruptions stressful, so that is another reason to minimize this problem.
While workplace interruptions are often unavoidable, today’s technologies have, in many ways, made it more difficult for workers to maintain their focus. Text messages, emails, and cell phone alerts can be helpful to employees … or they can make their workdays more difficult.
One way to address this issue is to have your MSP help you evaluate your company’s current use of technologies and the policies regarding their use. For example, project management software can allow employees to provide updates to team members without a flurry of emails back and forth. That sort of information-sharing platform can allow employees to review the status of projects when they’re working on them without fielding frequent interruptions.
Helping employees to change their computer and phone settings can enable them to filter out less urgent notifications while still making themselves available when needed.
Your I.T. team should schedule system upgrades and downloads so that they don’t interrupt the flow of a workday. These types of small changes in the number of interruptions can increase worker productivity.
3. Automate the Boring Stuff
The mere mention of policy and compliance management can be enough to send employees into a mental stupor or running for the door. Rare is the person who finds maintaining files and paperwork exciting. It’s no surprise if most of your employees would rather focus their time on other things.
That’s where outsourced I.T. management and support can come to the rescue. An expert MSP can find ways to streamline and automate your current policy and compliance efforts. In addition, a data analysis team can check for other areas where being more proactive will put your company in a better position for the long-term.
These days there is a computer application for everything. You can get software to help track employee training, manage recordkeeping, and simplify finding the right files when you need them.
This can protect your company while reducing the amount of time your employees need to spend on regulatory reporting and other requirements. Compiling the necessary information in the correct format for state and federal regulators can make meeting reporting requirements a faster process with less stress. Standardizing training and compliance will even make it easier to bring employees up to speed when they start working for the company or when they transfer from one department to another.
While you focus on your business, your MSP can help you keep an eye out on the industry and the challenges that could appear down the road. By anticipating regulatory system changes and how they might impact your reporting and operational requirements, you can prepare your company for a quicker transition with less impact on your workers.
An automated approach to meeting reporting requirements can help employees on a daily basis while reducing the time necessary for employees to compile the information needed for unexpected events like audits, merger negotiations, and lawsuits.
Of course, one of the most boring tasks of all is archiving information. That’s another way automation can help. Your I.T. strategy should include backup management for regular, automatic storage of the key information on servers and individual computers. This helps to protect your company from accidental data loss and viruses and cyber attacks.
Does your company have personnel with the required skills and resources for your I.T. needs?Even regular reminders to employees about changing their passwords or performing other routine tasks can be automated and tracked so that employees and their managers are kept on track, and your company maintains good cybersecurity.
Not sure what your company needs? JMARK is happy to review your company’s requirements to find the services and technology options that are perfect for keeping you ahead. We specialize in helping businesses of all sizes take advantage of technology to increase efficiency, decrease risk, and increase profits.