Last week Salesforce was at the annual energy conference CERAWeek in Houston, where executives and innovators vigorously discussed the “New World of Rivalries” between companies, governments, and fuel sources alike. The traditional energy system, dominated by fossil fuels, is under attack by a growing chorus of stakeholders demanding greener energy, a more diversified employee base, and increased transparency across the entire value chain.
While the overall tone of the event was ominous, it was also hopeful and electric. Some of the most brilliant minds in the world gathered to share their thoughts on socio-economic and technology solutions, rooted in practicality and urgency. Through it all, it is clear that the energy industry is looking to make some changes.
At Salesforce, our Co-CEO, Marc Benioff, likes to say, “The business of business is to make the world a better place.” And there is no question the energy industry has done just that, considering the global quality-of-life improvements realized since the Model T Ford came to production 111 years ago. However, it is interesting to note that the industry, which enabled the proliferation of infrastructure required for cloud computing, is now searching the clouds for new ideas.
Cloud solutions are uniquely qualified to help in several ways and are already responding to the challenge. Here’s why:
Regaining industry trust
There is an acknowledged crisis of trust in the industry among society, employees, and suppliers spawning from environmental mishaps, climate concerns, employee layoffs, and broken agreements. Cloud providers like Salesforce are helping energy companies bring a new level of transparency to these constituents by offering tools and services that create connected ecosystems and break down communication silos.
As an example, companies like Hess are re-imagining their supplier relationships by hosting a collaborative, data-driven environment which exposes real-time demand forecasts and activities to their most trusted suppliers.
Workforce acquisition, retention, and re-training
Additionally, industry mistrust has caused a significantly reduced interest in joining the oil and gas profession. Combined with the “great crew change” and a need to retrain employees on digital skills, the industry faces a crisis for talent.
Beyond providing consumer-grade app experiences, Salesforce is helping democratize the creation and maintenance of software via a world-class low-code development platform and a free gamified learning experience that quickly upskills employees. These tools are allowing business users and IT departments at companies like Shell to create intuitive, collaborative, mobile, and connected applications more rapidly than ever.
Renewed focus on agility to transform and innovate
Lastly, the industry is challenged with delivering an increasing amount of energy through 2030, while addressing the calls for a “Green New Deal.” In response, companies are investing tremendously in diversifying their asset portfolios to include more and more sustainable fuel sources and infrastructure.
As these businesses continuously adapt and maneuver, flexible tools are required to rapidly deliver new business models. Cloud platform’s agile approach to application development and integration allows mature companies to move fast with reusable components and APIs while avoiding accumulation of additional technology debt.
Salesforce joined CERAWeek because it is uniquely qualified to help the Oil and Gas, Chemicals, and Power Industries to overcome the aforementioned challenges, and many others. As the #1 Customer Relationship Management (CRM) company, Salesforce is enabling energy companies to become hyper-focused on their “customer” — be it their assets, suppliers, employees, or stakeholders.