Executing Digital Strategy at Speed

In this interview with the World Refining Organisation, Simon Cherewicz, Denver discusses how businesses invest a lot of time and effort producing really well thought through digital business strategies, only to then face the challenge of executing those strategies. Speed and scale of execution is often overlooked and is an opportunity waiting to be grasped.

Executing Digital Transformation at Speed Questions & Answers

Amanda Oon, Content Manager, World Refining Association & Simon Charewicz, Technology Service Owner, Denver

Can you tell us a little bit about Denver's key goals and business priorities at the moment?

Simon: So I'm a big believer in speed to execution and for solution providers today there is, of course, a big emphasis on innovation and disruption through technology and also through our ways of working.

But typically what I see is that businesses will invest quite a lot of time and effort producing really well thought through business strategies or digital business strategies, only to then immediately face the challenge of executing against those strategies and I think speed of execution is often overlooked. So the differentiator I think therefore is to be a provider that draws out innovative thinking from within the business and prove that thinking is viable or not in a very short timeframe and with low cost. Where it is viable the speed to action to actually scale needs to be done, like, now and I think that's really key as a differential that whole factor of speed. So I'd say to be the provider that closes the time frame for businesses to realize the benefit behind their innovative ideas is where you want to be to differentiate yourself and to me that's where Denver are positioning ourselves today. We see ourselves as digital execution partners so our focus is pretty simple: we look at and execute digital strategy at speed.

You mentioned supporting customers. How do you feel that new technology and innovations can help operators remain competitive during these challenging times?

Simon: So now more than ever, we're seeing adaptation of technology everywhere during COVID-19. In some ways it's a catalyst thrusting innovation technology to the forefront for operators to remain operational and competitive. I see it as being a leading factor right now in taking technology that's being trialled, per se, and increasing productivity so then it’ll now be immediately scaled as essential technology. So as we make key decisions on the use of the tech and innovation in these times, I take the view that it's speed and quality of your execution capability that is the differentiator for enabling the workforce. So during these times to remain competitive I think we need to be making informed decisions quickly and back that up with a speed of execution. And ultimately we're dealing with certain constraints right now in the way that we operate and so productivity relies on technology that our people have in their hands and so that's what we should be looking at.

And how can operators integrate sustainability into their strategy while remaining commercially competitive? Can technology help with that?

Simon: Yeah I think business sustainability is quite a diverse topic and if we work on the premise that progress in the current marketplace in the foreseeable future has a growing emphasis on sustainable product offerings, reduced market price volatility, offsetting carbon emissions and then also competition through innovation disruption. All of these things have a reliance on integrated technologies, importantly, in the management of change as we introduce them into businesses. So how do we do that? Well right now to do that and remain commercially competitive I'd focus on working on the alignment of any effort to increase operational productivity with the knowledge of what it means if overall productivity and sustainability initiatives are introduced at the same time. So to remain commercially competitive as you introduce one of these initiatives I think it's key to strike a balance between productivity gains and the initiative to actually avoid productivity decline. So to me, if overall productivity remains moving in a positive direction with technology innovation at the forefront it'll allow businesses to undergo sustainability changes whilst not impacting their ability to address the current market.

You talk about the digital impact on the market. What do you think will be the key change that technology will make on the downstream industry in the next few years?

Simon: I think there’s a growing capability in automation, removing the need for manual intervention by people is where I think it's heading and it needs to keep on heading as we take what innovation comes out of businesses but make it real. So you can see a whole lot of great thinking and projects that show innovation but I think implementing them on scale into the refineries is where downstream is headed next.

And finally what's your key tip for success in the downstream oil and gas industry?

Simon: I think right now the key tip is resilience, so having resilience in how we operate now in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic - the cost constraints that we have in the marketplace - and to maintain our resilience to do what we do best. So to continue to build the products that we are building but also to innovate in new products and as we mentioned before the sustainable products that will likely move into the future. So I think we keep an eye on how to be resilient through this time we're going to see our market change and, and change for a positive.

Thank you very much Simon for sharing your insights, look forward to meeting you at the event

Case study

Business Critical Asset Management Upgrade for BP

BP operates the BP-Husky refinery at Toledo in the United States in a joint venture with Husky Energy.

Read case study