This O&G CEO’s search for a digital solution ended in a billion pound software company


My definition of digitization is to use digital tools to improve business processes.

Karl Johnny Hersvik, CEO of Norway’s second largest oil and gas company, Aker BP, understands that investing in software is not enough to create real added value in an organization. Instead, it’s about finding the right software, removing friction, and freeing data. Hersvik was ahead of his time in his digital thinking, which is why he took matters into his own hands early in his tenure, helping to build a future-ready oil and gas operation from the digital base.

Bold moves from the start

When Karl Johnny Hersvik became CEO of Aker BP (then Det Norske Oljeselskap) in 2014, he wasted no time trying to maximize the operational capacity of his organization.

“I spent my first month talking to everyone at the company. We have formulated a plan to increase to 60,000 barrels of production. And my first task was to acquire Marathon in Norway.

Hersvik signed with Marathon after just a month of work, and it marked one of the largest deals ever on the Norwegian continental shelf. It was a bold move for a new CEO, but Hersvik had something even bolder in mind as the next step.

The start of a journey towards digitalization

In 2016, when the company officially became Aker BP, Hersvik began to think about how digitization could change the business. “I have computer training. And when I came into the business there was a lot of software in use, but that’s not what I had in mind. Having software is not digitization. But having the right software definitely helps you get there, ”says Hersvik.

If you look at another company that has been successful with digitization, it’s because they removed friction in a process, Hersvik explains, and not because they use a lot of software. He reflects on how much easier it is to make a purchase or make an appointment today because digital tools have made the process so easy for consumers. “So why can’t we do the same in a business-to-business process? Hersvik questions.

At the start of Aker BP’s digitization journey, Hersvik wanted all data produced or consumed by the company (and any vendor it has worked with) to be accessible to anyone, on any device, with extremely high latency. weak. He and a few colleagues traveled the world looking for solutions, to see if there were any technologies available that they could apply. Hersvik said, “No one had solved this problem yet. “

This awareness was the catalyst that led to the launch of smacks, industrial software publisher specializing in the liberation and contextualization of industrial data for workers in the Oil and gas industry, for example, to be able to act, develop technology and optimize complex production and maintenance processes.

One of the first technology companies to emerge from the oil and gas industry

Originally founded to solve the complex problems facing Aker BP, Cognite has grown into a successful company specializing in software that puts industrial data into context and makes it actionable. Its flagship product, Cognite Data Fusion â„¢, is now the foundation for a multitude of successful digitization projects across the Oil and gas industry, from PA, OMV and Saudi Aramco, in addition to its original partner Aker BP.

As originally planned, Hersvik commissioned the platform to release all of Aker BP’s data; data that Hersvik wanted everyone across the value chain to access, understand and act on. “This data platform lowered our threshold for accessing data in our ecosystem, and it gave us a platform to experiment and test,” he says.

© Provided by Cognite
Karl Johnny Hersvik, CEO of AkerBP

More than technology

Hersvik explains that the Cognite technology has already helped them make progress by “eliminating friction and waste and shortening lead times”. But making these big changes in an old industry isn’t just about technology. You have to change the whole organization, the value chain and most importantly, the people. This is the ultimate problem to be solved, with enough complexity to make anyone’s head spin.

Today, Aker BP relies on the digitization of its activity, because that’s the only way, according to Hersvik. And with the right people on the team and the right platform to stand on, the odds are certainly in their favor.

Find out how Cognite Data Fusion can benefit your business.

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