Modernized DSI Workflow for an Oil and Gas Giant

Modernization for an Oil and Gas Giant

Our client is a large oil and gas organization that provides multiple different services to their customers, such as Gas Compression Services, Water Management, Chemicals Management, and more.

Our client’s subgroup focuses their business on the deployment and servicing of large scale compression units that are delivered to oil and gas drilling and refinement companies. Their field service technicians are trained to install, maintain, and monitor these compression units as they are deployed out in the field to ensure they’re running at peak performance. 

CLIENT PROFILE
EMPLOYEES: 20,000+
INDUSTRY: Oil & Gas
HEADQUARTERS: California
FOUNDED: 1951
 

The Project Scope

For the field service technicians to do their work, they needed a system to track their assigned work orders, parts, and labor for each job. The system would also need to be capable of functioning while the technicians are out in the field, where there is often very little to no network connectivity. Finally, the system would need to be rugged and mobile enough to be on the job site, and easy enough for the technicians to use without having to require much effort to capture the necessary data.

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Key Challenges and Issues

The existing system that our client’s subgroup technicians use is a laptop-based solution, with a custom DSI Global application deployed on the laptop. The laptops were bolted to the technician’s truck and connected to the internet through a wifi hotspot. The laptops were outdated, and the DSI application had severe issues with connectivity and data tracking.

Additionally, the technicians completed several forms, tracking their work time on a paper spreadsheet. The paper and spreadsheet data were dropped off to the corporate office when the technician had time to stop by. The existing solution was beginning to have a significant impact on the performance of the business. Smartbridge conducted an assessment of the existing solution and identified the areas that were affecting the business.

The key impacts are as follows:

  • Profit loss from inaccurate data or missed data capture from the application or paper processes.

  • Employee labor hours had little to no relationship with the chargeable hours on work orders.
  • Hardware and software issues often impacted the technician’s ability to capture work order details for the day, leading to data loss and eventually profit loss.
  • Parts used and truck inventory was not accurately reflected or recorded, often leading to discrepancies and product loss.
  • Management had no oversight or control over the technicians work which often resulted in downtime for the client.

The Smartbridge Solution

Our client connected with Smartbridge to provide a modernized DSI workflow, and propose enhancements that can streamline their technician’s process. Smartbridge also brought in mobile and integrations experts to ensure that the solution was fully modernized, eliminating the core business issues while still retaining the use of their existing DSI platform. Smartbridge’s team of consultants were able to provide a number of different services during this project engagement:

1. Hardware Selection

Smartbridge aided in selecting the new hardware to replace the old laptops in the trucks. We tested and demoed a variety of devices ranging from Apple iPads, Android tablets, and Windows tablets. The form factor, capabilities, organization support, user acceptance, and product maintenance cost were all factors weighed. After the assessment and pilot testing, the organization chose to go with rugged Windows tablets with touch screen and keyboard capabilities. This provided the field technicians access to DSI and other 3rd party Windows applications.

2. DSI Platform Setup and Upgrade

Smartbridge performed a complete overhaul on the DSI Platform, upgrading it from Version 7.9 to 8.5 on a newer hosting environment (in order to comply with IT’s supported systems). The upgrade involved moving from Windows 2008 R2 servers and a SQL 2006 Server to the more current Windows 2016 Server and SQL 2012 Server.

The upgrade from Version 7.9 to 8.5 also provided access to the latest DSI capabilities. The entire upgrade provided the system with added robustness and security, while providing direct access to the DSI platform without needing to connect to a VPN. This simplified the connection problem, and eliminated numerous connectivity issues that users were experiencing.

3. Mobile First Design

The custom DSI application needed to be modernized from its initial implementation. The previous application design was for Windows laptops, which heavily required the usage of keyboard and mouse for several key tasks, such as selecting inventory and entering labor time. The application was fully redesigned to ensure that it incorporated touch capabilities as much as possible to reduce the need for a keyboard and mouse.

The redesigned application provided easy to tap buttons, with lots of visual content displayed without the need for keyboard entry. This new capability allowed the technicians to carry their tablets directly onto the job site, and allowed them to capture their parts and labor without having to resort to paper or memory for entry.

4. Process Improvement

The field technicians also had various other forms that needed to be filled out specific to the work type and equipment. Often, technicians had to rely on their original training and memory in order to fill out these forms. As part of the process improvement effort, Smartbridge incorporated this workflow into the existing application. Paper forms were digitized and captured directly in the DSI application rather than put on paper.

This meant that the forms could be verified for completeness before submission, and they were directly linked to the service work order that generated it. Required forms could also be pre-attached to work orders so that technicians never have to remember which form to fill out on the job. This process improvement eliminated the huge paper trail that often got lost or misfiled from the work order and paved the way for our client’s digital transformation.

5. Development and Production Environment Upgrade

In addition to our client’s Compression Services company using DSI 7.9, they also had a separate entity running DSI 4.2. Both of these platforms had only received security patches since their implementation. As newer versions of the DSI platform became available, it became harder to migrate from the older versions.

Smartbridge proposed a planned upgrade to consolidate all entities under a single DSI account, and also migrate all legacy applications and scripts to DSI 8.5. Smartbridge had to update several older scripts to ensure compatibility, as well as provide updates to the mobile client running on scanner devices.

6. Application Support and Maintenance

After the project work was completed, Smartbridge proposed a quarterly maintenance plan to ensure a smooth transition for external to internal support. The application support contract provided services such as, bug fixes, platform maintenance, and services monitoring. Smartbridge monitored the DSI Transaction log to identify any data issues and resolve any should they appear.

Through the managed services project, our client relied on our experienced consultants to run and manage the DSI platform end to end, all without having to maintain a full-time dedicated resource on site.

Success Through a Modernized Implementation

Smartbridge was able to offer several different services in order to accomplish what seemed to be a large hurdle to overcome. Smartbridge offered experience in many areas to aid in our client’s needs, such as DSI platform development, device hardware selection, and mobile applications design.

Alongside our client, we were able to design a truly modern solution that addressed the needs of the technicians in the field, and satisfied the requirements demanded by management. The solution provided the tools needed to improve their field service group, and eliminated many areas that often led to a loss in operations.

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