Assessing IT capabilities and investments at an E&P company
Superior CIO Advisory services to drive successful IT outcomes.
A private oil and gas exploration and production company had weathered the recent downturn but was faced with its IT service providers proposing a number of spending initiatives. The CFO desired an independent perspective on its IT strategy and a detailed review of the proposed spending. The company came to Aventine Hill Services for help.
We provided two CIO Advisors to perform a high-level assessment; recommend IT strategies that fit this company's business model and scale; and recommend which proposals from the IT vendors best fit with the company's requirements and budget.
- One CIO Advisor had deep experience in IT infrastructure. The Advisor assessed the current services provided by the company's IT managed services provider (MSP) and the server and network capacity; plus reviewed proposals from the MSP for investing in new server hardware and improved backup and recovery capabilities.
- The second CIO Advisor had deep experience in operations and accounting applications plus reporting and Business Intelligence (BI) strategies. The Advisor interviewed key users to understand how the business operated and what applications were used to support key business requirements, plus reviewed reporting and BI options to evaluate whether a vendor proposal for a custom data warehouse was an optimal path forward.
Given the size of this company, the initial information gathering and interviews were conducted over just two days. Recommendations were drafted and a collaborative workshop was conducted with company leaders to align on a holistic strategy and tactical next steps.
The IT Infrastructure portion of the workshop focused on:
- Providing observations on the current IT MSP's capabilities and current backup and recovery procedures.
- Aligning the business leaders on disaster recovery requirements for business critical applications.
- Discussing security, disaster recovery, network, and reliability risks and potential mitigations.
- Recommending which project proposals and investments proposed by the IT MSP were the optimal fit.
The Application Portfolio portion of the workshop focused on:
- Aligning on a one page diagram that described how the business critical applications supported the company and how key information flowed from one system to another.
- Providing observations on which systems were best suited to "cloud" strategies and which were appropriate for on-premise.
- Discussing two potential roadmaps for reporting and BI, one proposed by a vendor for a custom data warehouse and one based on exploiting existing systems already in place.
- Providing general advice on issues and contract terms that are important in cloud and software-as-a-service (SaaS) contracts.
Subsequent to the workshop, one of the CIO Advisors was a participant in a meeting between the CFO and the IT MSP owner. The options the IT MSP was recommending were discussed in detail and the CFO decided how best to proceed.
Thanks to Aventine Hill's CIO Advisory team providing independent advice, the CFO of this company was able to confidently make some urgent decisions related to investments in new hardware and improved disaster recovery capabilities, while also aligning with the larger management team on near term priorities and a strategy for prioritizing the use of cloud services versus on-premise solutions. Potential higher cost investments in custom development were deferred and replaced with a less risky and less costly tactical roadmap based on optimizing the use of existing applications. For a company still managing expenses closely, the CFO was able to realize practical benefits without having to authorize large spending with IT vendors.
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