Quorum powers the oil and gas industry with cutting-edge software solutions built on a Microsoft-centric framework. Their software platform is used across every step of the energy cycle from well to burner. Quorum is leveraging their partnership with Microsoft to drive a new paradigm in the industry. With the full suite of Microsoft products including Azure, Surface Hubs, and Skype for Business, the company is able to stay at the forefront of innovation and deliver a seamless experience for all users.
Quorum has a history of innovation. For 20 years the company has been automating workflows and business processes for the oil and gas, renewable energy, and natural resources industries. Their software platform, built on a Microsoft-centric framework, has enabled them to successfully complete 1,500 deployments and projects for hundreds of customers.
Today, that software platform— designed to deliver both optimal efficiencies and maximized profits—boasts tens of thousands of users. Their solutions are used by all of the major energy companies across every step of the process, from well to burner.
“We’re about five to seven years ahead in terms of innovation and cloud enablement.” says Olivier Thierry, Quorum’s Chief Marketing Officer. With 17 of the top 20 E&P companies and 85% market share in midstream, the company is successfully transitioning current customers to its mobile-first myQuorum platform; migrating them to the cloud with cloud-enabled premium service offerings.
A Long-term Partnership
Quorum and Microsoft have a long history of working together. With the full suite of Microsoft products, Quorum stays at the forefront of product innovation to stay on top of their own digital transformation. Delivering insights through data, replacing a huge paper trail for greater efficiency, and providing a consumer-like experience appeals to a new generation of professionals and enables the company to deliver more innovation to its customers.
Watch the video and learn how Quorum uses the Microsoft technology stack to drive new user experiences.
The Hub of innovation and productivity
Now that they have enabled their customers to become more productive and mobile, Quorum wanted to help their own employees realize the same benefits. The ability to harness the power of technology to bring together geographically dispersed teams, share and collaborate on projects and documents, and stay up-to-speed on technology updates led them to Microsoft’s Surface hub. Because it’s so intuitive, user adoption is high and has had a profound impact on the team. Another plus? Quorum realizes significant savings with the Surface Hub versus traditional videoconferencing and content sharing solutions.
See how Quorum users interact and leverage Surface Hubs to deliver efficiency and collaboration.
New Opportunities Through Cutting-edge Technology
There’s little question that the oil and gas industry is changing. Long time employees are retiring, the cultural mindset and reliance on fossil fuels has evolved, and the economics of hydrocarbons are shifting. Taking advantage of the entire Microsoft technology stack—such as Microsoft Azure, SQL Server, Windows 10, Office 365, Surface devices, and Cortana Intelligence—their software is helping oil and gas companies navigate these changes more efficiently and effectively. Being ahead of the curve has Quorum prepared for when the IoT wave hits oil and gas.
With the help of Microsoft technologies, Quorum customers are reimagining the possibilities in the oil and gas industry and discovering previously unconsidered efficiencies. “There is so much we can do together to drive digital transformation to the oil and gas sector,” Theirry says of Quorum’s partnership with Microsoft. “And we are starting to lead that digital transformation.”
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How Collaboration Tools Can Turn Your Business Into A Social Enterprise
Social networks for business help enterprises collaborate securely across departments, offices and countries. Many available tools give employees a sense of online community and help forge connections between different parts of the business and your customers.
However, some business leaders struggle to understand the benefits of the “social business”. Furthermore, organizations that have made the leap often find that after embracing the technology initially, employees’ enthusiasm soon dies down and only a handful of workers continue to use the technology.
So, how can businesses develop a long-term social business strategy? We spoke to a number of experts to find out.
“Social tools have evolved well beyond Facebook and Twitter, this much we have to accept as a given,” said Adrian Bridgwater, an enterprise IT blogger for a number of B2B sites, including Forbes. ”We now have an opportunity to use socially-driven collaboration tools in new ways to change the way we work. Role-based, goal-based, cloud-based collaboration can now be engineered into the computing fabric that firms now centre their Line of Business architectures around.“
David Terrar, founder of digital transformation and social business consultancy Agile Elephant, underlined the point, saying that enterprises that don’t embrace these technologies risked become irrelevant.
“I don't care what business you are in, your business model is under threat from a smarter, nimbler competitor with a new idea or a better use of technology. If you don't want to end up like a Kodak, a Blockbuster or your local taxi firm you need to be harnessing the collective know-how and the potential returns from the great ideas of all of your people.”
According to Computerworld’s 2015 Forecast Study, social networking, alongside predictive analytics, will be one of the most disruptive business technologies over the next three to five years, more so than the Internet of Things and mobile payments. For many organizations, that disruption is already underway.
For those businesses that are already reaping the rewards of a social enterprise strategy, it’s not simply about providing employees with the means to interact with each other more effectively. Christian McMahon, CIO at business consultancy three25, said that in future many interactions with customers could be improved by the use of social tools.
“Harnessing social collaboration through your socially enabled cloud infrastructure is a great way to engage with and get rapid response from/to both your internal and external customer base,” said McMahon.
“Social media will soon become the main interaction point for customer service and external communication in less regulated industries, away from just being pointed at traditionally bloated websites with pages of static content and FAQs to wade through. In this more interactive and collaborative mobile world, customers now deserve more dynamic and engaging interaction beyond the traditional call centre approach,” he added.
René Büst, Senior Analyst and Cloud Practice Lead at Crisp Research, said that a cloud infrastructure with social capabilities has the potential to help improve the customer engagement by letting the customer become an integral part of the entire customer life-cycle process. “The customer is empowered to follow his request in real-time and be integrated into the process in real-time, giving him more power, influence and overview. This kind of closer, real-time, collaboration helps to accelerate the overall process to solve issues and challenges faster by working like a team together with the customer,” said Büst.
Furthermore, by becoming an enterprise that relies on social collaboration, you have the opportunity to reduce reliance on other things, like storage and even paper.
“Gone are the days when large attachments need to be sent to hundreds and thousands of employees and consume vast amounts of storage for each individual copy: single points of cloud-based storage enable short messages linking to one copy only… the risk of out-of-date manuals, procedures and processes can be mitigated by similar mechanisms,” said Daniel Steeves, a business consultant at Beyond Solutions. ”Costs in printing and posting paper contracts and agreements can also be reduced or eliminated – as well as the time lags required – by combining file sharing and e-signature capabilities.”
“With the right collaboration and sharing service, a lot of your storage and data management problems go away,” agreed Dale Vile, Research Director at IT analyst firm Freeform Dynamics. “You know where your data is, you know it is safe and secure, you don’t have to worry about long-term retention, and everything is easily accessible, subject to security policy of course. How much can you say those things in relation to all that data sitting in file shares, on personal hard disks, mobile devices, and so on.”
So, what are the major hurdles faced by organisations striving to become a “social enterprise”? Vile said one of the challenges is weaning users off unofficial and “often insecure” communication tools, and ensuring “that the service you choose delivers the same the level of convenience.”
But even with the perfect collaboration tools in place, encouraging users to change the habit of a lifetime will be a battle, said Alan Mather, former chief executive of the e-delivery team at the UK Government’s Cabinet Office and now Director at Ardea Enterprises Limited.
“How do you get people off email and into collaboration when email is so often the default way to communicate, exchange files, debate the contents of a document, send a version of a document for review and so on. That latter point is nothing about technology and all about how you make the collaboration space the heart of the where the company does its business - it means the CEO must be active and everyone down from him or her must be as active. It means that if you want the latest version of a document or you want an opinion on a policy or a strategy point, you can only go to that social space to get what you need.”
CULTURE OF SHARING
Forcing employees to use social tools is one way to ensure new technologies are embraced, but ultimately the challenge will be in changing the culture of the organisation.
“The way you do that is with a culture of sharing, working out loud and collaborating across the organisation, underpinned by the accessibility and connectivity of a cloud infrastructure combined with the sort of open, lightweight communication that good social tools or the right enterprise social network can bring,” said Terrar. “You need cloud, social and mobile technology to make that happen effectively, but it only works if you get the culture and leadership right too.”
CIOs and other IT decision makers face plenty of challenges in their pursuit of social enterprise collaboration. Business must understand what they’re trying to achieve before they set off on the journey, and be committed to making cultural changes to the way they work. But the message is clear – collaboration tools are likely to take over your enterprise whether you like it or not, and it’s better to be the leader rather than the follower.
“If you are not presently positioned as a socially aware organisation that offers social collaboration, your customers may force your hand and insist you rapidly change your approach,” said McMahon. “The proliferation of modern devices, always-on mobility and the way your data is consumed proves social collaboration isn’t the ideal, it’s the new norm and you had better be ready.”
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Failing Fast: The Quickest Route to Digital Transformation
Failing Fast: The Quickest Route to Digital Transformation
Speed, agility, and innovation—these are the hallmarks for success in the digital era. What’s less proven is the “fail fast” concept, which encourages exploration by floating trial balloons quickly, then allowing ideas to fail if they don’t help drive positive business outcomes. Using this approach, failure becomes a stepping-stone for success—allowing teams to iterate quickly, learn from mistakes, and triage ideas in rapid succession, much like a startup.
Not too long ago, a failed IT project could be catastrophic, resulting in missed delivery targets, productivity drop-offs, even lost revenue. It’s no wonder that IT teams remain a bit gun-shy about adopting a fail-fast approach to business given that their job stability likely depends on their success. The IDG Cloud Futurecast survey found that just 15% of IT directors believe risk-taking is critical to transforming products and services.
C-level executives, by comparison, are far more bullish on the advantages of fail-fast techniques, in part, no doubt, because their jobs don’t directly hang in the balance. According to the IDG survey, 29% recognize the ability to fail fast as a key enabler for revenue-driving strategies compared with only 17% of vice presidents and general managers.
These forward-thinking leaders understand that the cloud is the engine behind creating an iterative, agile mindset across the entire organization. The cloud allows teams to test-drive many small innovations without the traditional risk of a major setback. A cloud-based, fail-fast approach removes technology constraints and allows organizations to explore new ideas constantly, versus one or two ideas annually.
AI Increases The Pace
Advances in big data analytics and artificial intelligence promise to take fail-fast strategies to entirely new heights, delivering real-time monitoring and robust data access capabilities that can detect failure almost instantaneously.
The cloud’s ability to drive innovation and mitigate risk are also central to a fail-fast mentality. Twenty-eight percent of IDG survey respondents say the cloud is essential for reinventing their businesses. Perhaps more important, 25% of respondents say the cloud’s ability to support testing product concepts in early stages with greater accuracy is a key asset. Another 21% say exploratory, fail-fast methods can help minimize the risk associated with continuous innovation. These percentages, while relatively low, signal an important shift in thinking: The cloud is no longer just a cost-saver, but an innovation engine.
For many organizations, enhancing customer experience is the leading priority for success in the digital era. And applying a fail-fast methodology may be the secret sauce. Organizations emphasizing the cloud for customer engagement strategies are far more likely to embrace fail-fast capabilities—32% of survey respondents, compared with companies using cloud to optimize operations (19%), empower employees (17%), or transform products (15%). Experimenting with new products and services using the fail-fast method may give these leaders a leg up on their competitors.
For all the negative connotations, fast failure in the digital era may be just the right recipe for digital transformation success.
Stetson University democratizes data-driven decision-making and debunks myths
How Stetson University democratizes data-driven decision-making and debunks myths
Making sense of the massive amounts of data universities gather can be tricky, but it can also be helpful when it comes to definitively answering the most pressing questions facing educators and administrators today. What makes students stay at your university or apply to transfer? What leads to academic successes or struggles, and what are the early warning signs? How can you optimize your curriculum?
This is a real story of digital transformation.
Crunching the Numbers
For Dr. Resche Hines, finding answers to these questions took time—a lot of it. As the Assistant Vice President of Institutional Research and Effectiveness at Stetson University—a university located in DeLand, Florida, a cool 20 miles from Daytona Beach and 30 miles from downtown Orlando—Hines regularly interacts with data and reports from across the entire university. This could range from research to better understand the university’s 4,300 students or crunching the numbers for a new construction project.
Hines recognized the need to find a more scalable, user-friendly solution that could empower his university’s faculty and staff to conduct their own data-driven investigations and engage students and alumni with the most up-to-date information. For Hines, that meant implementing an interactive data visualization tool that helped him draw smarter insights from his institution’s data. That tool was Microsoft Power BI.
Now Stetson’s community is more engaged and more frequently turns to data instead of inherited wisdom and intuition to answer questions. Students and alumni feel more knowledgeable and connected to their campus with readily-digestible, interactive information. Faculty feel supported in their never-ending quest for better curricula and offerings for their students. And perhaps most importantly, Stetson University has enhanced its ability to conduct complex research, have more productive conversations, and debunk long-held institutional myths.
“There’s so much data out there that it becomes overwhelming for people to consume. Though you have data on every element you want about your life, there’s no way to easily use it,” explains Hines. “You can get it, but what are you going to do with it? Power BI has allowed us to transition that data to make it usable for the end user, to leverage it, and finally start looking at the data in a comprehensive way.”
Big data is often complex, which makes it difficult for researchers, faculty, staff, and administrators to understand. To encourage user adoption and explain to the Stetson community that Power BI would help alleviate challenges associated with data engagement, Hines and his team went to every school and department chair and personally demonstrated how the tool could be leveraged. Through this personal interaction with his community, Hines was able to directly empower the Stetson faculty and staff.
The easy-to-use platform even transformed critics into advocates. Today, faculty and staff at Stetson are using data to have better structured, more informed conversations about transforming curricula and classroom supplies. “We had a faculty member who was able to use Power BI to ask the Dean of their school for additional resources,” says Hines. “That’s when I knew we were on to something special.”
Click on the dashboard above to view an interactive enrollment report from Stetson University using Power BI.
Power BI has helped Hines debunk many long-held and potentially damaging institutional myths.
“There were some areas of the institution that I thought were pain points for us in terms of retaining students, but we’re actually doing very well in retaining students,” Hines explains. “I thought most of the data would tell us that STEM areas are pain points for any institution in retaining students. Our STEM areas here are out-retaining our general population, which was an amazing discovery. To see that through Power BI was definitely a myth buster for me and for the institution. It helps to change the conversation.”
Engaging Students and Alumni
For prospective, current, and former Stetson students, access to university information has improved dramatically. Federally required information such as enrollment trends, retention, and graduation data is more accessible than ever. Before Power BI, the university could make PDFs for people to download, but the data was static and complex. Students can now interact with and explore data online rather than being forced to download information.
Hines has even seen progress in Stetson’s alumni and stakeholder community. The university is in the early stages of developing a Power BI partnership with Stetson’s Alumni Gifting Program. Hines is currently working on a template to help them understand and leverage historical statistics about the program for the public. For every gifting program, they’ll be able to pull up data on the success of each campaign in progress and understand the intricacies of campaigning. The end goal is to help stakeholders and alumni see data points that have been previously difficult for them to see, such as the best time for email and calling campaigns or which days of the year are the biggest giving days.
Power BI has not only helped debunk myths and change the conversation at Stetson, it has also helped acknowledge students who often go unnoticed.
Click on the dashboard above to view an interactive retention report.
“Sometimes students outperform their scholarships, which were based on high school performance,” Hines says. “How do we track this and show student appreciation and reward them? Power BI helps us track these students and provide better incentives to show appreciation for their hard work.”
Microsoft is proud to partner with Resche Hines and Stetson University as they continue to engage students and empower faculty and administrators to achieve more.