Asia-Pacific Oil & Gas industry leads Web 2.0 uptake: survey

Oil and gas industry professionals in the Asia Pacific lead the industry in the use of social media and collaboration tools at work, according to a recent survey by Microsoft and Accenture.

Three out of four respondents in this region said social media tools improve their work performance.

The Microsoft and Accenture “Oil & Gas Collaboration Survey 2010” polled 275 professionals from the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.

It found that industry workers in the Asia Pacific significantly led those in other regions in the business use of social media tools such as instant messaging, videoconferencing, social networking sites, mobile phone text messaging, video or photo sharing, and the use of blogs and microblogs.

They surpassed their peers in other regions by margins of 10 to one. In fact, 37 percent of respondents from Asia Pacific stated social media is “very valuable” for work collaboration.

“Asia Pacific, with its rapidly growing demand for energy, will set the oil agenda of the future, so driving increased productivity, enhanced collaboration and more efficient operations is of top importance in this region,” said Albrecht “Ali” Ferling, Ph.D., Microsoft managing director, Worldwide Oil and Gas Industries.

“Oil and gas professionals in Asia Pacific clearly have their sights set on adopting the newest technologies to help them keep up with the growing demand for energy.”

When asked where they see the most value in social media for collaboration, the top answer of workers in the Americas was “documenting and transferring knowledge.” This response tracks with the 61 percent of all respondents who said that “scarcity of skills/talent due to shrinking or aging work force” is the global industry trend most often driving their need to collaborate.

However, 40 percent of respondents from the Americas said they are not currently using any public or company social media tools in the workplace. While half of respondents from all regions said their companies were on board but not widely implementing social media at this time, one in four from the Americas said their companies were not open to the adoption and implementation of these tools, a higher response than from Asia Pacific (14 percent) and EMEA (17 percent).

James Arnott, Accenture senior executive in Energy industry group’s consulting practice said, “Companies slow to embrace collaboration technologies are missing strategic opportunities to leverage tools to drive work-force utilization and improved business and operational performance.

"The high rate of usage in emerging markets reflects those companies’ rapid adoption of new technologies to provide differentiated levels of work force, operations and business performance — this is creating new levels of competitiveness. The key finding that individuals, work groups and teams around the world are driving the use of collaboration tools within their company is indicative of the widespread need for knowledge-sharing and improved productivity through collaboration. It also highlights the increasing use of technology to support a critical shortage of skills and experience within the oil and gas industry.”

Three out of four professionals in all regions cited complex projects as the largest workplace factor driving collaboration, with 21 percent from the Americas saying they use social media to manage capital projects. Beyond that, geographic responses varied: Americas felt strong pressure to push for innovation to stay competitive (35 percent), while Asia Pacific (43 percent) and EMEA (34 percent) said the new tools help them meet the demand for frequent or detailed reporting to management.

Overall survey results reveal that nearly 75 percent of oil and gas professionals worldwide see value in using social media and collaboration tools at work — an 83 percent jump from responses one year ago.