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Are your systems really fit for purpose?


Steve Blunn
CEO at Lumos 365 Ltd.

All small to mid-size operators in the Upstream Oil & Gas and Mining sectors face very similar questions when trying to adopt digital technology. One of the very first that is often overlooked is ‘why are we doing this and what are we trying to achieve?’.

The simple truth is that this doesn’t need a lot of thought. The organisation will need finance, supply chain, plant maintenance, specialist technical software and the usual personal productivity apps. There are accepted industry norms such as Sun Financials, Infor EAM, Maximo, Proactis, P2 Energy Ideas for all these functional areas. This creates a simple, if limited, choice followed by an integration project to make it all work together as best as possible. Right? Wrong. 

A time to reflect

The near global shutdown we are currently experiencing has caused deep personal, corporate and political reflection. In respect of the former two, individuals are realising some of the benefits and challenges of working from home. Companies are often scrabbling to facilitate secure and robust methods of supporting these challenges and onsite operations whilst still maintaining control and respecting compliance requirements. 

It is times like these that we are forced to make the most of what we have and really think about how we utilise it. This may be through necessity because that webcam with the trick microphone that can drown out next door’s dog has sold out. The corporate perspective is one of leveraging what is in place to deliver the best service to internal and external stakeholders. Traditional systems may not offer the best solution for either type of stakeholder. 

This situation is only exasperated by the downward spiral of the oil price. The need for operational excellence and cost reduction has never been greater. 

Ecosystems not just applications

This leads to the point that more than ever our infrastructure, systems and processes must be considered as a single, streamlined, cohesive ecosystem. It must deliver operational excellence whilst minimising cost, maximise profits and support cost recovery in a joint venture, where appropriate. 

This in no way means that every tool in the box must come from the same vendor but if core systems do then it will certainly help. Core systems should not be limited to finance, supply chain and plant maintenance etc., email, document management and reporting all count. This is not a particularly insightful observation and yet how many deployment decisions look beyond specific departmental or functional requirements?

Any operator will be aware of the enormity of the upfront and ongoing cost of integrating a finance and supply chain system from separate vendors. The business disruption of specifying and deploying the systems in the first place only adds to this. 

Aside from specialist technical products specific to the sector, Microsoft offer most of what we will ever need. 

Take a look at the diagram below: 

Office 365, by way of example, often considered by the uninitiated as little more than a different way to license Outlook, Word, Excel et al, is in fact right at the heart of an amazing ecosystem. SharePoint is often overlooked and in many cases remains under-utilised at best through insufficient understanding or resource to integrate it into an effective workflow. To do anything other than deploy these applications in the service of company-wide and policy-driven best practice is denying the business a return on an investment already made.  

The Lumos 365 system sits on top of all of this. The system benefits from and facilitates the entire technology stack. We deploy our finance and supply chain system through Microsoft Business Central that sits within the Dynamics 365 suite of products and leverages the Common Data Model. This database model creates a single repository across your applications and can be extended as your requirements evolve. 

We have built a fit for purpose platform that can utilise the other Microsoft applications that you already have or can easily procure, such as field service tools and HR. 

When circumstance requires you to make the most of what you have it is important to have most of what you need. 

Operational excellence and best practice built in

Our platform has been designed to support most of your core business processes at all stages in the value chain in one single scalable platform. We deliver fit for purpose finance, procurement, contracts, inventory, logistics, plant maintenance, management reporting and information management in a secure, single Microsoft cloud-based system. You can adopt the various modules as you move across the value chain, seamlessly. 

This modular approach will enable you benefit from our built-in best practice from day one saving you significant time and resources for supporting your day to day operations.

Our pre-configured and configurable financial, operational and KPI management reporting will get you the information you need quickly. This is ably supported by our information management portal that combines business data, reports and documentation through a single portal with configurable user or departmental access.  

The fact that all this is delivered through the Microsoft cloud and integrates fully with Office 365 creates a genuinely collaborative environment. This includes, for example, mobile support approval workflows in line with your Delegation of Authority that can be accessed through any connected device.

The Lumos 365 platform delivers tangible business and bottom-line benefits through its inherent design and functionality to support control, compliance and cost recovery through best practice. 

The platform defines the way people work together and through effective process and better collaboration operational efficiencies are increased. An example of this can be found in the mandatory cost allocation to the correct Approval for Expenditure (AFE) at source of spend or transaction. This means that a warehouse operative retrieving an inventory item is supporting the cost recovery process, which is just one example of why the Lumos 365 platform can generate a Joint Venture billing statement in just a few mouse clicks. Likewise, the ability to highlight an existing contract and facilitate a call off at the point of request creation alleviates the need to involve the supply chain team. 

These very basic examples speak for the true benefits of designing a single platform to deliver business outcomes. 

Cost effective and rapid deployment

The Lumos 365 platform will provide a framework that your business can grow into, not out of, at a very affordable entry point. Our 80% fit templated approach will reduce upfront CAPEX, increase speed of deployment and reduce costs whilst also introducing best practice. There is no need for third party applications for consolidation, time writing or workflows or for that matter additional hosting costs. 

You only pay for what you need, when you need it, with our ‘cost-effective’ subscription- based pricing. You decide when to introduce new modules as you move across the value chain with every stage benefitting from our 80% ready templated approach.  

Contact lumos365 for further information   l   KeyFacts Energy Industry Directory: Lumos 365

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