Data Visualization

With oil at $30 a barrel, every marginal penny of cost counts. You can’t work any HARDER. You simply MUST work smarter. Every oil and gas organization on the planet is in a race to explore reservoirs of data (pun intended) in search of cost savings, some for means of survival.

History repeats itself, how to scale?

At the turn of the last century, when a burgeoning industrial economy was booming, Alexander Graham Bell commercialized a new technology dubbed the telephone. Now the telephone had great promise. To talk to anyone, you simply picked up a handset and asked the switchboard operator to be connected to anyone that was connected to the same switchboard. An unknown futurist said “Someday soon, you’ll be able to instantly speak with anyone in the world.” The unknown pundits, who were also good at math, retorted “Are you kidding? Even if we could connect all the switchboards, do you know how many switchboard operators the world would need?”

Fast forward a hundred years or so, to infinite connections.

“Someday soon, you’ll be able to instantly connect to and visualize any data source in the world.” In much more learned terms, the modern-day futurists at Gartner say that we’re there, that 2015 was a watershed year.

Traditional BI and analytic models are being disrupted as the balance of power shifts from IT to the business.

The rise of data discovery, access to multistructured data, data preparation tools and smart capabilities will further democratize access to analytics …

No report writer required!

To make a call, all you need is a phone, a telco account, and a phone number; no switchboard operator. To run self-service BI, all you need is data, access credentials, and a self-service BI tool; no BI report writer.

There are many self-service BI platforms that proclaim dominance in the business intelligence market. If I were a betting man, my money’s on Microsoft’s Power BI.

Innovate or be superseded…

Firstly, and most importantly, Microsoft is setting a new pace of innovation. Download the recently announced Power BI Desktop and you can expect updates every 30 to 45 days. Peruse the growing list of commercial data sources in the Azure Marketplace and you can expect new sources every visit.

Secondly, we can’t ignore Microsoft’s muscle when they flex it in the personal productivity space. The patterns are way too familiar. WordPerfect was superseded by Word. Harvard Graphics spawned the launch of PowerPoint. VisiCalc and Lotus were replaced with Excel. Tools like FoxPro and Progress were consolidated by Access. I predict that so too will be the fate of data visualization tools like Tableau, Spotfire, Cognos, and BusinessObjects in favour of Power BI.

So grab your well files, your facility construction costs, your land files, some regulatory data, some commercial oil and gas data, a forward price curve, and explore. It makes good cents!