Software tool enables intelligent operations

Organisations need reliable and real time access to operational data in a flexible and scalable environment with actionable and auditable outcomes. Intuition Executive is considered the flagship product of Honeywell's new Intuition software portfolio. David Dickson (pictured alongside) spoke with PACE about the key elements of Honeywell's new software product and its applications in industry.

What are the key elements of Intuition Executive?
Intuition Executive is a deployable software product that we have built using our Intuition family of technology. It’s a set of software services that are specifically designed to best support operations in the resource industry and process industry.

In Australia it extends to conventional and unconventional gas and oil, both very focused operations that are asset intensive in business. The objective is to deliver enterprise wide information management, decision support services and to be an enabler in supporting improved collaboration and business functions within organisation.

It’s really a set of software services that we stitch together – blend information from the plant or from the field and support the delivery of composite applications.

We’ve adopted a forward-facing position on technology, using semantic modelling. This ensures people get the information they want in a format that’s meaningful to them and in a very scalable and flexible manner.

Once we’ve measured it and put it into a format that’s readily recognisable for the people, we then support it with another layer of analysis and reporting services for engineering and some business intelligence type analytics and reporting.

Then we present and visualise that information, and this is where we adopt Microsoft SharePoint as our both content management and visualisation portal. But we take it beyond the use of SharePoint in enterprises and integrate that with real time industry visualisation information and really extend the concept of collaboration.

So, we’re measuring the current state. We’re putting it into a usable format. We’re then providing tools to drive analysis, to anticipate problems. We’re then presenting that, visualising it.

The critical point is we’ve taken it further to provide orchestration services. Once they have all that information, traditionally, organisations really haven’t done much with it. They’ve invested an awful lot of money in creating some great analytics but not actually doing anything with it. So it’s basically shelf-ware.

So we want to extend that and we’re providing an orchestration layers where we support a work flow environment that can, “orchestrate” – conduct, different processes and functions, work flows that span multiple business functions.

So you get end to end visibility and actions and ultimately measurable outcomes. So this is an operational excellence feedback loop, this is Intuition Executive support.

What is the principles behind Intuition Executive?
We’re going through something of an information revolution. Information was doubling every 20 to 40 years a hundred years ago, but now it’s doubling every six months.

We’re living in an age where we’re drowning in a deluge of data and the process industry is no exception. Operators need to drive the practices, processes and examine key business-determining information. And currently, it’s case of trying to find a needle in a haystack.

Take the coal seam gas industry as an example. Typically in conventional oil and gas extraction, you’re talking about 20 to 100 wells. With coal seam gas, you’re talking somewhere between 3,000 to 10,000 wells per field making them incredibly asset intensive enterprises. To determine key information out of the volumes of data is a real challenge. It’s an ecosystem of data out there.

So we went to Gartner about four or five years ago and asked them really what’s important to businesses and they came back with all the typical principles.

A lot of it comes down to anticipation – businesses need to be able to understand what the problems are before they arise. Resource retention, workforce expertise retention and gleaning knowledge from subject matter experts is a real challenge. You’re coming back to enabling open standards and interoperability, being able to capture that information.

We want to improve workforce effectiveness too by providing tools, an environment and enabling technologies to support collaboration. It’s based on this concept of the Single Source of the Truth. Organisations need reliable, real time access to operational data in a flexible, scalable environment with actionable, auditable outcomes.

This is a very important consideration with so many assets in, say, coal seam gas, especially considering the increasing environmental and security related concerns. It is all about action – taking the right decision and then executing it.

If you imagine a scenario where some of coal seam gas operators have 30,000 assets. This is going to scale over the next three to four years to 300,000 to 400,000 assets. That’s an enormous quantity of data that needs to be proliferated through the organisation in various ways.

It’s got to go to financial asset registers. It has to go to an engineering master data management record. It has to go a asset management system, a condition based management system and so forth.

So you can imagine as this change is going on, in order to be able to manage the transfer of that information throughout the organisation in a timely manner and know where those assets are in their life cycle, who owns the assets, what land they’re on, if there are any disturbances on that land or other issues.

The operators need to have a good handle on that information. So this is that interoperability piece. This is open standard, so that my engineering data management system talks to my Intuition Executive system talks in the same data format to my asset management system. That’s a very important and pervasive concept in these organisations.

Are you able to quantify the benefits?
We’ve done quite a few studies for the tier one super majors in the oil and gas industry, local gas companies, as well as mining companies. A lot of the challenges are around retention of intellectual property. Over the next decade western oil and gas companies are predicting to lose about 75 per cent on intellectual capital.

Typically these people have worked in functional silos. If you take an upstream oil and gas environment you might have geophysics, drilling, reservoir, production, engineering, planning, finance and so on, all working within different pressure constraints and timelines.

Upstream environment reservoir engineers, for example, look at the ultimate recovery of a reservoir and talk in terms of months or years. But production technologists need to know things in minutes and weeks. So production operations impact recovery from reserves potentially if changes are made.

The reserve recovery is really the holy grail of upstream oil and gas. Short term decisions taken by production can adversely affect the draw down from the reservoir and reduce the ultimate recovery. Also reservoir engineers operate in a different timeline and might not be aware of their impact.

There’s some good references through organisations such as the Society of Petroleum Engineers where there’s estimates of eight per cent ultimate recovery for adoption of collaboration technologies which is a phenomenal increase in reservoir recovery.

We’ve got reports based on work we’ve done that shows a reduction of 66 per cent in terms of freeing up workforce by automating procedures. A reduction from about 36 core functions to about five repeatable functions through the adoption of improved work flow, through the adoption of collaboration technologies, examination of business processes, improved data connectivity and access to that data.

So there is a quite a lot of recognised value. Another super major has recognised that just in one function on one of their assets they’re looking to save $5 million per annum. And that’s just on one function within one asset. They’re a super major, so extend that globally, you’re talking significant savings.

These are cited figures. So there are some great benefits to be had by adopting a more flexible, scalable and collaborative environment that can actually transform processes.

Intuition Executive itself is many things to many people but importantly, each one of those service layers – connectivity, contextualisation, analysis, presentation and orchestration – are all shared services and open standards based.

All our solutions use the same set of services. So our solutions are built using the Intuition family of technologies, as is Intuition Executive. So we have solutions already using the same set of technologies.

So it’s really architecture out of the box. This is about closing this implementation gap. We don’t want to go through a 12 month theoretical exercise of developing up a beautiful theoretical architecture for an end user and spend a lot of money and then go the board and the board comes back and says, well, actually what business study have you given it.

Intuition Executive is a solution building format for those end users that have specific needs. But we also have solutions that are built using Intuition Executive and its framework services ready to go.

So we’ve got products such as Well Performance Monitor for analysing the performance of wells. We have Mobile Equipment Monitor for management of mobile fleets particular to mining – the health of shovels, dozers, loaders and so forth.

We have supply chain solutions. So we’ve got a range of solutions all ready to go that are built using that same sort of technology. It’s a very horizontally scalable technology. So you can slot in a solution and incrementally build functionality as your business demanded.

A lot of the CSGs need to attain something like a five-fold increase in productivity while maintaining their current resource levels.

These are all the challenges out there and these are why these frameworks and Intuition Executive in particular are being looked at in terms of the flexibility, scalability and the ability to actually work with the business and capture the knowledge of the business to support decision making.

More information.