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Digital Can Provide Predictability Amid Global Uncertainty

Process Industry Leaders Stay Competitive by Tapping Technology

As the quarter closes, most companies are working on financial summaries of performance for the last period. Predictability is top of mind during earnings season, as companies are evaluated on how well they meet the expectations of financial markets. Digital technologies are key to achieving these expectations, allowing companies in the process industries to ensure that they can meet the expected targets.

“In an environment of deep global uncertainty, we are committing predictable results to our shareholders,” noted Walter Pesenti, Manager of Petrochemical Operational Excellence at BP, at an industry event earlier this summer. “Digital is the way to stay competitive.”

This concept was discussed in detail recently during a presentation at the International Refining and Petrochemical Conference (IRPC) in Houston. Meridian Energy Group president Paul Coppola highlighted that implementing digital technologies in refineries was a critical success strategy for his company. 

Meridian is a capital group that has been buying and building refineries in the US mid-west. Coppola emphasized that digital innovation at refineries helps eliminate waste and redundancies, reduce complexity and accommodate change. “We have found that an investment of 1% of capital brings at least 5% of value,” he said.  

Key to financial group success is delivering the expected financial results. “De-risk, de-risk, de-risk is what we must do,” Coppola stressed, “and you need digital to do that.”

In my presentation at IRPC later that day, I highlighted the strategic imperative in implementing digital technologies to stay competitive in refining and petrochemical markets worldwide. The audience was particularly interested in my comments on a report from the World Economic Forum earlier this year that highlighted the importance of action now. “Waiting for cheaper and better technology does not pay off,” the report states, “since front-runners are expected to capture the largest benefits.”

The value of reducing risk is readily apparent in an interesting new relationship that Aspen Technology developed over the last year with AON, the global insurance underwriter. AON is promoting AspenTech solutions for prescriptive maintenance (Aspen Mtell®) and decision support (Aspen Fidelis Reliability™) to its customers as ways to reduce unplanned downtime and associated events and also as an incentive to lower their insurance rates.  

Clearly the time for action on your digitalization journey is now. Get started with tips from our recent executive brief, “Next-Generation Operational Technologies Enable the Smart Enterprise in a Changing World.”

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