The Dirty Little Secret of Oil & Gas: How Spreadsheets Are Holding The Industry Back

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It’s no secret that the oil and gas industry is a complex and high-stakes business. The industry’s reliance on a tools that was never meant to manage such complexity, however, is a dirty little secret that’s holding many organizations back. After numerous conversations with execs of this industry, we were very surprised to find out that tools like Excel, are frequently used as a catch-all solution for workflow optimization. But what if we told you that using spreadsheet tools is not only insufficient for the task but can actually hinder your business’s efficiency and profitability? In this article, we’ll dive into the five key reasons why we think Excel is not suitable for workflow optimization in the oil and gas industry and offer options on how to move forward in the future.

1.Lack of scalability and adaptability

The oil and gas industry involves a staggering amount of data. As projects grow, so do the number of variables, stakeholders, and workflows. Excel simply wasn’t designed to handle this level of complexity. As the number of sheets and formulas increase, so does the risk of errors, which can lead to costly mistakes.

Solution to this one is actually quite simple. Adopt a dedicated project management software that is specifically designed specifically for the oil and gas industry. Such tools offer better scalability, adaptability, and the ability to handle complex data structures with ease. Yes, I know, making the switch from Excel can be scary, in the end, it has been working well for you the last 30 years or so. Well, while you might be a high performing, gold medal athlete in spreadsheets, but junior members of your operations might not. And this is likely to be the trend with young people entering the workforce. When these team members start collaborating on projects, you want to make sure they are using a tool they are confident with.

2.Inefficient collaboration

In an industry where teamwork and communication are vital, limitations in real-time collaboration can be a significant hindrance. Sharing files and waiting for updates from colleagues not only slows down the decision-making process but can also lead to version control issues and data inconsistencies. One unregistered miss click by one worker can bring a world of headaches for countless others somewhere down the line.

Moreover, some data is simply not vital for all the team members to have. Opening a huge spreadsheet of data every day and attempting to find a relevant datapoint that prompts you to action, is just not the best way how to start your shift.

What can you do? Utilize cloud-based collaboration tools that enable real-time updates, version control, and data consistency. These platforms make it easier for teams to work together, regardless of their location, and ensure everyone is working with the most up-to-date information.

3.Lack of data integrity and security

Tools that are not designed specifically for workflow optimization lack the robust security features that the oil and gas industry requires, leaving sensitive data vulnerable to unauthorized access and modification. In addition, your spreadsheet files can easily become corrupted, putting your critical data at risk.

That’s where data management system comes in. It provides secure access control, encryption, and robust backup and recovery options. A dedicated system that ensures your data is protected and available when you need it.

4.Limited analytics capabilities

To make informed decisions, the oil and gas industry relies on advanced analytics and modelling techniques. Basic analytical tools and visualization capabilities fall short in this regard, and its limitations can lead to oversimplified models that don’t accurately represent the complexities of the industry.

We have come a long way when it comes to analytics in oil & gas. Each year, numerous new clever tools that offer advanced data analysis, modelling, and visualization features pop up. What is important is whether you can implement them into your current software stack – enabling you to make better-informed decisions based on accurate and comprehensive insights.

5.Time-consuming manual processes

This is a big one. Despite the automation capabilities of Excel, it often still requires manual data entry and manipulation, leading to an increased risk of human error. In a high-stakes industry like oil and gas, these errors can become extremely costly.

Embrace automation by implementing tools and software designed to streamline and automate data entry, analysis, and reporting processes. This reduces the risk of human error and allows your team to focus on more strategic tasks.

In conclusion, it’s time for the oil and gas industry to move beyond spreadsheets and embrace modern, specialized tools and software designed to address the unique challenges of this sector. By doing so, you’ll optimize your workflows, improve collaboration, enhance data security and integrity, and ultimately make better, data-driven decisions that drive your business forward.

There are Excel alternatives to workflow optimization. Don’t let the dirty little secret of spreadsheets hold you back any longer.


If you are ready to get rid of spreadsheets, do not hesitate to contact us here.

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