If your company has issues managing compliance, the good news is you’re not alone. In oil and gas, there are many causes for the consternation around compliance. Here are a few common causes lurking behind compliance issues.
Compliance, no matter whether it be regulatory, safety, tax or any other type, almost always requires information from across your organization. While most companies in the oil and gas industry are usually great at gathering information, it tends to be segmented by department, and not easily available to those who might need it for secondary purposes (like compliance!). In the software consulting world we blame that gap between information in one department and the people who need it in another on siloes of information. Luckily information siloes are a very solvable problem as technology-supported business collaboration becomes more and more advanced.
Chasing a Moving Target
We’ve noticed that most people in the industry feel that once they find a solution to complying, the rules have already changed. It is for this reason that we recommend solving compliance not with a specific one-off system, but with a set of logic that can be applied based on standard inputs that can be changed on the fly. Compliance is all about getting the right information to the right people, so we recommend an ability to change the request for information as needs change. For instance, in our lease compliance solution, as lease provisions change, land administrators are able to input new provisions into the system and create new sensitivity cases to drive notifications and alerts based on their absolute latest needs.
One of the most challenging aspects of gathering information around compliance is that in many cases it’s traditionally been gathered via phone, over email or is sitting in an old powerpoint on a drive somewhere that only a few people know about. Many people we talk to say that knowing who to ask is the key to gathering the information they need. As we move from a generation built on direct relationships to a generation that’s used to searching for the information they need, it’s important to give both types of information consumers access based on the way they look for information. In many cases our compliance solutions have include SharePoint consulting to 1) create areas where you can see who ‘owns’ the information you need, so that they’re easily contacted, and 2) surface metadata that will allow searching of these unstructured data types so that even if it’s not in a standard data structure, it’s still available on an ad-hoc basis.
Lack of Awareness
The final contender for top compliance challenge is that companies simply don’t have a plan for compliance until something negative occurs. In many cases, a paper or excel-based process occurs in one section of the company, and is left be until suddenly an audit or litigation brings weaknesses to the surface. This is usually because compliance is considered at odds with company strategy about getting the job done, when thinking about compliance as a strategy could actually be beneficial in many ways. Making compliance a company-wide goal and giving your team both freedom in implementation and accountability in metrics can help you develop a track record of compliance improvements.