An interview with Petoro CFO Jonny Mæland: Data availability is the key

Bilde av Anja Loug Helland
by Anja Loug Helland

12. Jan 2021, 8 minutes reading time

An interview with Petoro CFO Jonny Mæland: Data availability is the key

It is December 2020 and exactly 3 (!) years since my colleagues and I first stepped into the Petoro office in Stavanger and were given the task of identifying a good use-case for a proof-of-concept (PoC) for the new data platform. Financial reporting was chosen for the PoC where data was to be ingested, transformed and modeled in a flexible model to serve all reporting needs, pre-defined reports and ad-hoc analysis, and made available for self-service for every Petoro employee. This PoC was successful, and the project continued with adding more data sources, business logic, data models and Power BI reports. 

Today, three years later, I have had the opportunity to sit down with the Petoro CFO, Jonny Mæland (on a Teams-meeting, of course 😊) to reflect on what Petoro has accomplished, what they have learned and how their journey of digitalization has been so far. Jonny is responsible for both finance and digitalization in Petoro and is himself an active user of their data platform, which has been given the name of TORA. Jonny has been working with finance in various functions for over 20 years and has worked a lot with reporting, analysis and planning. He has been involved in the TORA implementation as a data consumer as well as having the overall responsibility for securing that Petoro harvests the benefits of their digitalization investments.

 

Data at my fingertips 

Jonny says that one of the significant benefits of having TORA is that he has access to the latest qualified data on his tablet, phone or laptop at any time. In partner meetings, meetings with operators, internal management meetings, or meetings with field or portfolio owners, he does not need to spend time to prepare a report or gather data from key personnel. Reports with data in a unified context and terminologies are always at his fingertips. A lot of time spent on preparations and manual iterations with employees to gather data is eliminated. “And I know going into meetings I have the full overview and I have the facts available; it is HSEQ, produced or sold volumes, prognosis or any budget deviations.” 

Previously the questions were related to ‘what is the number for this or that’, now the questions have changed to ‘why is the number this or that’ or ‘what can we do?’. We also spend less time on identifying causes for data discrepancies in different, manually gathered reports, discussing what the numbers should be or backtracking manual calculations. This enables more focus on Petoro’s actual task at hand: to maximize the value of the SDFI-portfolio, representing one fourth of the production and one third of the remaining reserves of the Norwegian continental shelf. This is done through a tight follow-up and review of the license activities and by influencing decision-making in each license, all of which is easier and more credible with the use of high-quality data.

 

Think Big, Start Small

Jonny smiles when he thinks about how much the organization has learned the last couple of years and admits that he naively thought that “now this worked great for the finance PoC, let’s run an agile and iterative implementation project to gather all our data and then close the project”. Yeah, right! It turned out there were a lot of other considerations in this “project” such as work processes, internal resources, competency gaps, master data, data governance, data quality, and data availability. 

One of the takeaways from the last 3 years of becoming a more data-driven digital organization, is that you should regularly look up from your keyboard and remind yourself of the big picture; your large puzzle of ambitions and strategies - and choose small projects and initiatives that are pieces of that same puzzle. The projects should be tied to business processes and ultimately change and improve the business process. “It is only when processes change, and we change the way we do things, our routines and methods, that the tangible benefits of digitalization will be found, and new opportunities will arise,” says Jonny.

When choosing a technical solution, it is important to take into account the same philosophy: think big – start small. That is, implementing solutions that are scalable and flexible, but still appropriate for the current tasks at hand. Solutions must meet the current requirements first, but not be limited in terms of extending and scaling up to future ambitions.  

 

Jonny Mæland - Fotograf Elisabeth Tønnessen  PT6A7241Always be open to learning more

When asked what Petoro has learned from the process of implementing TORA, and also to advise other companies on the same journey, Jonny mentions several takeaways, some of which are listed below:

Start with the data you know, and data that is well defined and available in structured formats. This will give quick wins and open the door for new initiatives. And for each initiative establish the purpose and process for which the data is required and will then support.

Start early with establishing a unified and common structure for how data should be modeled and the shared dimensions and master data entities. This will ‘hit you’ as soon as you start merging data from different sources. This will also increase employee awareness of other department’s terminologies, which is part of the learning process.

Establish roles and responsibilities at an early stage: Data manager, data owner, data quality/testing etc. When sharing data, it is important that data is correct and trusted, and this is as everything else a continuous process.

Do not underestimate the need for training and continuous awareness across the entire organization. We have mapped out the different digital tools we are using on a regular basis and each individual or department’s required knowledge level. As digital tools and possibilities advance at high-record speed, everyone needs a knowledge refill on a regular basis. This also ensures buy-in and ownership from all levels in the organization

Last but not least: Co-operate and engage with experts. Each digitalization initiative has its specter of experts and professionals, from IT hardware and scalability, Office365 with best practices, data platform architecture, data processing and modeling, reporting and visualizations, and much more. Petoro does not have this competency in-house and therefore has engaged with many different partners, BI Builders being one of them, to get to where we are today.

 

For more information about the chosen technical solution for the TORA data platform at Petoro, please contact us in BI Builders, visit the Industry page: Energy and also view the success story. For more information about Petoro please visit Petoro.no.

 

 

Anja Loug Helland

Anja Loug Helland

Anja is Head of Advisory and co-founder of BI Builders and has worked with data warehousing and data platforms for over a decade. Having experience from a range of different clients, Anja is an expert in understanding our customers' needs and map that to data and data models to get business value.

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