Industry talking to customers What's this? Fueling a competitive edge for energy providers Published: March 9th, 2018 By: Suzanne Robicheau Only a few years ago, oil and gas companies were asking how they could afford to invest in new technologies. As energy enterprises come under increasing pressure to drive efficiencies, improve performance, and cut costs, the question today is how can they afford not to invest in digital solutions.For competitive firms, the writing is on the wall when it comes to the means of achieving renewed prosperity in the utilities sector. When asked what has the greatest potential to transform their businesses, respondents in the Accenture and Microsoft 2017 Upstream Oil and Gas Digital Trends Survey identified cloud, big data, the Internet of Things (IoT), mobility, cybersecurity, and high-performance computing (HPC). Even more telling, 70 per cent of those surveyed said they have plans to ramp up their digital technologies spending in the next few years.Deciding to capitalize on new technologies is the first step in getting an edge on the competition. The next critical move is partnering with a technology expert to take full advantage of advances in the industry. In addressing energy sector vulnerabilities, digital transformation will bring dramatic changes that, in turn, will lead to lower costs and higher production.CDW Canada is positioned to optimize IT infrastructure and address this sector’s unique challenges, starting with an increase in cyberattacks. As companies begin shifting their emphasis from physical security, a CDW white paper makes a strong case for protecting valuable assets by bolstering cybersecurity. According to this paper, the average financial loss caused by security incidents in the power and utilities sector is a staggering $1.2 million.The CDW white paper, Protecting I.T. Resources in Oil, Gas and Utilities, outlines a strategy for safeguarding valuable assets, such as customer data, intellectual property, and networked heavy machinery. A comprehensive guide to cybersecurity, it includes industry-specific information on everything from assessing weaknesses and implementing a security plan to securing supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) networks.Because mobility is such an important factor for workers in the energy industry, SCADA offers invaluable support in enabling secure connections with geographically dispersed equipment, devices, and people. A key component of a robust networking solution, both on land and offshore, this increased connectivity helps companies boost performance, eliminate downtime, improve communication and enhance the customer experience. The challenges, benefits, and key components of uninterrupted connectivity are detailed in the article Maximize IoT Performance with Ruggedized Networking.As low oil prices continue to drive an agenda of efficiency, HPC and analytics is one area that can save companies time and money. By improving drilling accuracy and optimizing oil and gas production, digital technologies, such as advanced sensors and data analytics, are already paying dividends across the industry. In the rapidly evolving world of supercomputing, organizations needs help deploying new technologies, keeping them connected, sifting through mountains of data, and keeping that data secure. CDW Canada’s account managers and solution architects have the knowledge and experience to help energy companies make decisions that minimize risk and infuse their organizations with innovation.