Canada’s oil reserves, exceeded only by those of Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, represent decades of potential contribution to the country’s economy and to the world’s energy markets. Fulfilling that promise, however, requires meeting growing economic and environmental challenges of production – not just from oil sands in Alberta, but also from other increasingly exotic formations and locations. Productivity in the oil field services sector is a crucial component of that effort, with the “digital field worker” becoming the hero of Canada’s oil and gas industry as it faces many specific and growing obstacles.
Canada’s oil is geopolitically sweetened by the country’s civil stability, compared to that of the OPEC members with most of the world’s other reserves – but most of Canada’s oil is concentrated in regions distant from pools of critical worker skills, with (for example) one-sixth of the industry’s Wood Buffalo-Cold Lake (northeast Alberta) workers living outside the province. For the region’s oil field services workers, the figure is even higher: 25% of Alberta’s oil and gas services workers commute across its border, increasing the cost and reducing the appeal of such positions.
Compounding the challenges of location, formidable macro trends ranging from baby-boomer retirement to marijuana legalization are intensifying concerns about skilled labour availability. Productivity improvement for the field service worker, not just in Alberta but for all of the Canadian oil and gas industry, is therefore not merely interesting: it is vital.
Field Service Lightning from Salesforce is bringing new capability to meet this need, pushing forward on multiple frontiers at once. Maximizing speed of response reduces production losses, minimizes costly compliance incidents, and keeps scarce resources optimally engaged. The comprehensive integration of the Salesforce Platform, included under the hood of the ready-to-roll service solution, assures consistent and efficient handling of account information, asset management, entitlement information and other key data to assure Service Level Agreement (SLA) satisfaction. Smart scheduling of crews and equipment assigns the right resources and skills to the job.
With skills shortage becoming such a concern, this is the time to put Einstein to work: that is, Salesforce Einstein, with AI-based capabilities including Einstein Vision to identify assets and parts in images, and to offer relevant knowledge and guidance to technicians for improved performance.
Making all of this available in the field, so service people can minimize round trips to desks and depots, requires robust mobile device support that can handle device diversity and sometimes intermittent connectivity. The Field Service Lightning mobile app is readily tailored to specific work flows and practices, as are the Salesforce desktop and laptop-oriented solutions: even the power of Salesforce analytics is readily accessed from tablets or smartphones.
This is a time when people, more than ever, are strategic assets, and the safety as well as the performance of those people is elevated in a fully connected world. Geolocation capabilities of mobile devices, and biomonitoring capabilities of wearable devices, accelerate recognition and response to injuries or other situations requiring prompt and effective response. Training and development of skilled workers improves both near-term performance and long-term retention: the connected worker can be prompted to consult targeted content, in the moment, based on specific needs, situations, and demonstrated worker competencies – with improved learning outcomes, at lower cost, compared to traditional classroom training.
Merely connecting the worker is just a starting point: with growing assistance from augmented reality, AI, companion robots and drones, the field worker of 2030 or sooner will create far more value than ever before – taking the value of Canada’s proved oil and gas reserves, likewise, to a new level.