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Author's profile photo Brent Potts

Top Takeaways from the International SAP Conference for Oil and Gas

Over 1,200 people traveled from around the world to attend the combined International SAP Conference for Oil and Gas, and International SAP Conference for Utilities, in Berlin, Germany, in April.  Oil and Gas conference attendees heard keynote addresses from SAP executives Simon Paris, Peter Maier, and Ken Evans; Professor and Forecaster James Woudhuysen; Glen Endress of ConocoPhillips and advisory council Chair; Rinat Gimranov of Surgutneftegas; and Tobias Schroedel, IT Security Expert.  Our partners got great exposure and interaction in the demo area, including demo theaters and microforums similar in format to SAPPHIRE NOW. 

By almost any measure, the conference was a tremendous success.  Unlike many other events, content for the International SAP Conference for Oil and Gas was heavily influenced by industry through SAP’s global advisory council for Oil and Gas.  More details are available at event producer TA Cook’s website:

The world of oil and gas has changed dramatically since our 2014 conference, driven by the low price of oil and gas.  The following are my top takeaways from the event:

1.     The Industry Has A Laser-Like Focus on Cash Flow

Due to the dramatic drop in commodity prices, oil and gas companies have seen their revenues cut significantly.  This has caused them to have a keen focus on cash flow and cutting costs, and there is a significant move from “volume” to “value” as companies look for ways to improve operations and get more out of existing assets.

2. IT Landscape Simplification is a Great Way to Reduce TCO

Reducing Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is definitely a hot topic as companies look to consolidate systems and simplify their IT landscapes.  One way is to shrink your data footprint – and IT costs – with a simplified data model that no longer requires indexes, aggregates, or data redundancies.  Another is to reduce hardware and software required for applications, as well as reduce the efforts of administration and development resources.

3.     Resilient and Agile Operations

History shows that the oil and gas industry is resilient, but companies must be agile to quickly adapt and thrive as business cycles change.  Enlightened oil and gas companies will use the downturn as an opportunity to enhance operating efficiency and performance, and will carry these enhancements forward when the market inevitably recovers.

4.     Capturing the Discipline of the Downturn

The new reality in the oil and gas market is forcing companies to focus on cash flow optimization and cost cutting.  With the proper infrastructure, steps can be taken to capture these efficiencies for the long haul so that best practices are instilled in the culture of the company while lowering overall TCO

5.     The Internet of Things is Changing the Game

Although the oil and gas industry has been highly automated and connected for decades, the Internet of Things (IoT) will touch nearly every area of O&G operations and customer engagement.  As part of his keynote address, Ken Evans showed a great demonstration developed with AT Kearney that showed, leveraging IoT, how improved data flows and analytics can statistically improve production rates by 5-15%, depending on data availability.  One example provided was one operator generated more than $1 billion in shareholder value from improved information processing across its asset base for an investment of only $50 million!

6.     Sponsors

Nothing speaks more to the growing popularity of the conference than the number of companies wanting to be a sponsor.  Event producer TA Cook sold out early, and ended up with 23 sponsors of varying levels.  Sponsors also had access to the demo theaters and microforums along with SAP.

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