In my last article, I discussed some general questions oil and gas companies should be asking about SCADA products. Many companies use an implementation of a SCADA system to monitor and control equipment in the oil field, but a vast majority of the solutions available don’t make your data as useful or usable as it should be.
There could be a long list of these, but it is easiest to evaluate how usable your SCADA system is by identifying if your company has any of these three major symptoms. Having just one of these is enough to diagnose an important issue.
Symptom 1: Low utilization rate. You are collecting more data from more devices each year and the utilization rate of your SCADA data remains the same -- few people using it infrequently throughout a day.
Symptom 2: No questions or requests from the field. Users are not asking new questions or making requests for the output to be displayed in ways that help answer these questions.
Symptom 3: It doesn’t work well or at all on mobile devices. Few to none of the operators in the field are using their phones to check data, capture data, process data, or use the data to prioritize their work and make decisions. People are on their phones, but are they using it for SCADA?
We want to equip you with some fundamental questions to help understand and evaluate SCADA solution offerings. A basic implementation of a SCADA system almost never prioritizes usability. This is in part because companies don’t think about usability until it’s too late. They make a decision and investment and find out later their people won’t use it. There are some easy-to-spot differences in SCADA applications if you ask these questions.
Question 1: Can users easily configure their own views on screens?
Question 2: Can SCADA data be easily retrieved on any device?
Question 3: Is all the data available in one system?
Question 4: Can I create one alarm that relates to many devices so my alarming becomes smarter?
Question 5: Can I assign attributes to devices, such as route, field, and foremen, to allow them to dynamically filter into premade groups?
Question 6: Can I quickly create notification lists to allow users to easily move recipients around on alarms and other alerts when people in the field change?
Question 7: Is there an interface that enables a system administrator to easily control who can see what devices, make these changes in the system, and add users?
Question 8: How do customer support tickets get managed?
For nearly 20 years, eLynx has been working side-by-side with big and small oil and gas companies across the United States to provide them with the turnkey SCADA product. Our offering continues to evolve based on new problems, opportunities, and requests. This is why we have been able to build both the most useful SCADA system in the industry and the most usable.
We closely examine the key metrics of our product and measure the adoption rate and utilization of our customers. Active daily users in a company, time spent in our SCADA product, and the number of visits per day is chief among these. If these aren’t growing over time, we take swift action to learn what is holding people back and implement measures to increase adoption and use.
This type of relentless focus on users and usability of our SCADA product means that more people in a company are using data to make good business decisions. The power of historical data and SCADA analytics comes from not just the insights, but from how simple they are to understand and make decisions about. An oil and gas company only transforms how it works if most of the people are using data each and every day to make better business decisions.
Our team is always eager to learn more about your company and situation and show you how our SCADA product offers value. It will be beneficial for you to see how one of the most useful and usable oil and gas SCADA solutions works and what it could do for your entire company.