This essay is a literature review of the article “Shell Drives Industry Transformation and Innovation with Microsoft” by Joyce Wells, available on KM World.
Marc Rentschler @marcrnt. Photo gallery available on Unsplash.com
Shell Global Solutions is working with Microsoft Corporation to achieve industry transformation and innovation through artificial intelligence (AI). Indeed, all of the company’s activities have been optimized, from drilling and extraction to employee empowerment and collaboration. Shell has integrated a leading IoT software provider C3, as its solid digital AI platform to stimulate the company’s digital transformation and to optimize its core business at all its levels and on a global scale. Shell leveraged the power of AI through its platform to conduct predictive maintenance for thousands of critical assets worldwide. Shell has also expanded its AI applications to support machine learning and natural language processing.
Firstly, Shell has already succeeded in AI implementation by developing Shell Geodesic to improve the accuracy and consistency of wells’ directional control to find the most productive rock layers holding oil and gas. The AI application streamlines drilling data and processes predictive algorithms through a “drilling simulator” which makes real-time decisions regarding the drilling and extraction of the natural resources.
Secondly, Shell has also successfully implemented a cloud-based deep learning application built on Microsoft Azure, which uses gas stations’ live camera footage to identify safety hazards and to alert employees immediately.
Thirdly, Shell has integrated innovative digital experiences for all of its employees globally to foster a more personalized collaborative environment through Microsoft communication applications such as Microsoft Stream, SharePoint Online and Yammer.
The collaboration of Shell with Microsoft has been very successful on so many levels. Shell has implemented AI applications through C3 to all aspects of its business and has optimally improved its drilling and extraction processes. On the first hand, it is refreshing to witness the implementation of AI in fields other than IT, software development or telecommunications. The integration of AI in the oil and gas industry has improved the drilling and extraction processes and therefore has improved the overall production chain which in return has also improved the consumption chain, and has made more resources available to more consumers in less time. The implementation of AI has also ecological implications because fewer rock layers are being drilled as the “drilling simulator” is able to predict which rock layers contain oil and gas and only those layers are drilled, which saves unnecessary drilling and all its harmful consequences to the environment.
On the second hand, I wonder why it took Shell so long to finally adopt a digital transformation on a global scale. It seems that Shell Global Solutions has attempted a digital conversion in the past which was unsuccessful. Indeed, the digital conversion of the company was only possible with the assistance of Microsoft which helped develop effective AI applications. Furthermore, Microsoft has helped other energies and petrochemical companies leverage the power of AI to control costs and achieve operational efficiencies, such as Chevron and ExxonMobil. It seems that all these petrochemical companies are seeking a strategic advantage by using the same technology solutions from Microsoft and branding these solutions as their own. Microsoft is on its way to take over the oil and gas industry.