[Posted on November 2, 2015 by Bill Stewart]
The last few decades have seen an unprecedented rise in the development of software for virtually every industry. This is nowhere more apparent than in marine and offshore structures, and fluid dynamics. Advances are occurring almost faster than the industry can keep up.
This presents a positive outlook for companies in need of consulting firms that use this technology or who need to implement the software themselves. These innovative tools have changed the face of the entire oil and gas industry with improvements in safety, cost-savings, expedited designs, fast turn-arounds, and more. And it also means an increase in profitability and an improved rate of return financially.
The sheer amount of data that is generated and that is available to everyone from frontline engineers to CEOs is staggering. This, of course, is a boon to the informed decision-making process in terms of effectiveness and real-time choices. New technology always presents a challenge in implementation, but the payouts are worth the time invested in the learning curve.
Specific software applications give consulting firms an edge when it comes to being competitive and acting on opportunities. The latest trends also provide a game-changing way to impact the marine field in a significant manner.
Getting Up to Speed
Luckily, the trend in the industry is toward a less steep learning curve. Having to bring a number of people up to speed on a complicated piece of software can be time-consuming. Of course, there is always a learning curve, but the current software should be and is being streamlined to be more accommodating to individuals who are less technically savvy. You shouldn’t have to be a software engineer to be productive with an application. The objective is to minimize downtime, not only in learning the software but using it as well. It is crucial for training to be available for your employees who are going to be using the software.
Instruction and Support
Quality developers will offer support before and after the purchase, and will be accessible to answer questions and provide guidance. They should work closely with whoever will be using the product to bring them up to productivity as fast as possible.
Ease of Use
In the overall refinement process being used in developing new software technology, the goal is to simplify as much as possible. Making the application easier to use by more people makes it appealing to potential buyers. If the software can be utilized by a greater number of individuals within a company, it increases the versatility of the firm using it. Streamlining isn’t just about usability; it is also about reducing the actual size of the application as well as making it affordable.
If an application or piece of software is priced too high, then only large companies can afford licenses. This has a limiting factor on the software manufacturer in that it cuts out a vast portion of mid-size business. There are numerous smaller outfits that are involved in consulting, and if they can’t buy the software, then they are unable to compete. A resulting drop in revenue occurs for the software maker as well as the small business that needs it to survive. Mid-level companies that need to occasionally hire consulting firms may not be able to bear the expense of hiring a larger company. This has an adverse impact all around.
Instead of one-size-fits-all software, developers are streamlining apps to meet specific requirements. You may need to work on structural design and analysis, or assess risk, but you don’t necessarily need software that will do both. A particular application for a specific situation is the very definition of streamlined. If a product is geared toward your industry, then you are not paying for applications that you do not need. Sometimes you require software that covers a broad spectrum of services in one package. However, if you don’t and that is all that is available to you, it then becomes a pricey and complicated prospect. There are pros and cons to a software package that is versatile enough to be used for an array of applications. The same can be said of software that is geared to a specific discipline.
Standards and Best Practices
Finally, new software must adhere to previously adopted standards and best practices. Software generation is a process of evolution by its very nature, but if it doesn’t meet industry compliance and standards, it is useless to everyone. Marine engineering is strictly regulated, and requirements have to be met in a consistent way. This applies to all aspects of the business, including the development of new software.
The goal of any business is longevity and profitability. Any tool or product that helps your firm achieve this is a welcome asset. Marine O&G Software advances have added value to the companies that use it either in-house or for consulting purposes. The tendency is always to push toward the ideal combination of usability and effectiveness.
In the years ahead, we will see brand new applications spring up as well as serious improvements to existing software. We can expect improvements in productivity, effectiveness, and cost management. Additionally, we will also see a marked increase in efficient logistics; scheduling; health and safety planning, and environment monitoring. It is an interesting and exciting time to be part of this software revolution.