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Information Management Drives Safe and Compliant Operations

After decades of haphazard information management practices and growth by acquisition, the downstream division of this integrated energy company needed a fresh evaluation of its information management strategy and portfolio, and a plan to address the findings.  

Access Sciences worked with client executive leadership and subject matter experts (SMEs) to develop an Information Management Strategy and Roadmap for Downstream Operations that encompassed the client’s three major plants in the U.S. and Europe, in conjunction with divisional management at their headquarters. 

Current State Assessment Identifies Gaps and Inefficiencies

The Access Sciences team began by assessing the current state of information management and technology at each plant, including practices / policies / governance, application portfolios, application architectures, communications networks, physical and electronically stored information repositories, and disaster recovery capabilities and risks.
Based on assessment findings, our team identified gaps and inefficiencies in information management, developed goals for information management improvements, and developed an integrated strategy and roadmap for improvements to information management processes and technology.  See Figure 1 below for an example of the proposed IM Roadmap.


Figure 1 – Information Management Roadmap 

As a complement to the IM Roadmap, our team also worked with the client’s downstream operations management team and plant operations SMEs on an assessment and selection of a common Plant Information Management System (PIMS) for all three refineries.  As part of this effort, Access Sciences assembled requirements and facilitated the vendor selection process. 

Regulatory Compliance Drives Electronic Content Management (ECM)

Regulatory requirements drove the need for a defined strategy for managing electronic and corresponding hardcopy documentation within the plants. To support defensible information management practices, the team designed and developed records retention policies and schedules, including legal research in multiple U.S. and European jurisdictions. Some of the issues found included:

  • High risk of records loss in a disaster scenario
  • Unnecessarily high off-site storage costs
  • Lack of guidelines for retention and disposition to support compliance with legal requirements

Identifying and documenting requirements for an ECM solution for downstream operations was critical in order to mitigate these issues and to ensure regulatory compliance across the plants. Our team worked with the client to select the most appropriate ECM system, then designed and developed taxonomy, metadata and security models for use in its deployment.  These models were built to meet the need for employees to create, file, and retrieve their information in a way that is familiar to them and efficient for their use, and to support regulatory compliance.

From Information Clutter to Structure

To address identified IT / IS issues, the Access Sciences team worked with the client to design a consistent information architecture centered around:

  • A common data bus using commercial Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) technology that allowed a variety of applications and data stores to communicate in near real-time, improving information flow and consistency, and enabling proactive decision making.
  • An ECM solution for managing “unstructured” content that provided a secure, accessible platform to deploy the enterprise taxonomy and retention schedule.
  • A Downstream Information Portal based on Microsoft SharePoint that provided for centralized, role-based access to applications and data from systems across the Downstream Division. This unified portal was needed to aggregate and combine information from multiple, disparate systems, and provide a unified view into the enterprise.

Figure 2 - Information Architecture

Safe and Compliant Operations 

As a result of this effort, the client gained a strategic path forward for managing the information and applications needed to efficiently and safely operate its refineries, at the unit, refinery, and division levels, while lowering risk and enhancing regulatory compliance. 

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