H&P maximizes drilling performance by connecting employees across locations over Microsoft Teams
Helmerich & Payne, Inc. (H&P) is one of the oil and gas industry’s most trusted partners in domestic, international, and offshore drilling productivity and reliability. To keep operations at maximum performance, H&P uses Microsoft Office 365 to quickly connect employees, share knowledge, and ensure that everyone is working with the most current data. Using Microsoft Teams has engendered collaboration and conversations that weren’t happening before.
Tulsa, Oklahoma–based Helmerich & Payne, Inc. (H&P) is one of the oil and gas industry’s most trusted partners in drilling productivity and reliability. It has operations across the United States, the Gulf of Mexico, South America, Middle East, and Africa. Depending on the number of rigs in operation, H&P employs about 8,000 people—650 in Tulsa and more than 7,000 on rig sites and offices around the world.
H&P has discovered that no matter how advanced the drilling technology, keeping rigs operating at maximum performance boils down to its people. “Like any company, keeping our employees connected and informed results in higher efficiency and productivity for the organization and ultimately our customers,” says Cheryl Bartel, Manager of Platform Systems at Helmerich & Payne. “We’re always looking for technologies to help us do a better job of that.”
Connect in the cloud
To speed up communications and ensure that the right people are in the loop for making daily decisions, planning projects, and sharing ideas, H&P adopted Microsoft Office 365 for its headquarters staff and drilling rig managers. “Going to the cloud made sense, because we could provide consistent services across our employee base, gain services that are always up to date, and enjoy a steady stream of new capabilities,” says Bartel.
H&P already relied heavily on Microsoft Office, and there are hundreds of devoted Excel users at the company, so Office 365 was a natural choice. With Office 365, employees have access to all the Office programs on all their devices. They use Exchange Online for cloud-based email and OneDrive to store and share documents from any device.
The H&P team received implementation assistance from the Microsoft FastTrack program but handled employee training itself. “We actually did very little training because Office 365 is so intuitive,” Bartel says. “Usage of various applications has spread by word of mouth. Office 365 has given us one platform for any form of communication, without the need to bring in third-party tools.”
From better teamwork flows better rig performance
One Office 365 application that’s met with enthusiasm at H&P is Microsoft Teams, the hub for teamwork in Office 365. With minimal training or encouragement from IT, employees have set up more than 2,000 Teams channels in a matter of months.
H&P employees use Teams to chat, share documents, share schedules, and more. “Teams took off so quickly because it helps employees communicate in real time from their desks or smartphones,” Bartel says. “We can get all the right people in one place to get in front of problems sooner and run projects much more efficiently.”
H&P uses Teams as a much-needed bridge to share and discuss issues between district offices, rig crews, and Tulsa staffs. “This helps us run our rigs at peak performance. Sometimes you don’t know who to ask when a problem crops up. Teams helps us surface the right expertise faster,” Bartels says.
H&P has started to extend Teams to external partners like rig service companies, which further increases its ability to keep rigs drilling reliably. Carter Todd is Rig Performance Manager on the Performance Engineering team at Helmerich & Payne. His group took on a big project with a large customer that involved several different companies pulling together rig performance reports for a big presentation. They used Teams to pull many monitoring and operations people into one continuous conversation; responses were quick and all in one place.
Todd has observed that Teams also helps to collapse hierarchies that sometimes get in the way of fast answers. “In the old paradigm, if an employee had a problem, they would route it to their boss; that individual would kick it up to their boss, and so on, until the person was found who could solve the problem,” Todd says. “With Teams, a rig-level employee can contact a vice president if he thinks they can help solve a problem and resolve the issue in minutes versus days.”
Adds Bartel, “Having a platform like Teams that facilitates cross-functional sharing among employees ranging from the field to the executive floor has been a game changer.”
Connect firstline workers to the company
In March 2018, H&P equipped its 6,000 Firstline Workers with Office 365 F1 licenses, which will give them access to company email and the company SharePoint Online–based intranet. The intranet uses the SharePoint communication site, which includes using Microsoft Stream for video and Microsoft Forms for quick pulse surveys.
“Our firstline rig workers have not had access to company email,” Bartel says. “Once a year they might sign in to the company intranet to fill out benefits forms, or if they wanted to contact the payroll or human resources departments, they used their personal email addresses. But with Office 365, all staff, regardless of their location, have access to internal resources that will make them feel more connected to the company and its mission. That’s important for reducing turnover and building camaraderie.”
Continue to innovate
Bartel says that employees are excited about setting up SharePoint hub sites, which will let them aggregate related SharePoint team sites into one master site with easy search and usability.
Microsoft Power BI has also made a big impact at H&P, she says. It’s being used chiefly by Todd’s group, the performance engineering team, to convert well performance data into easily digestible reports for customers. Previously, this team relied on Tableau for reporting, but it found the software so complicated to use that the IT department had to prepare and modify all reports. “Our customers are constantly asking us for custom reports, and we didn’t have time to wait for IT. This was something we needed to be able to do ourselves,” Todd says.
The team downloaded Power BI Desktop and re-created in a week the reporting infrastructure that had taken a year to create in Tableau. Excited, they licensed Power BI, which they now use to perform ad hoc analysis using features such as Q&A to discover insights and share them broadly—in 30 minutes versus the hours, days, or months required before.
Lastly, H&P is deploying the Windows 10 operating system companywide to gain a more stable and secure software foundation. “With Microsoft software on devices and in the cloud, H&P can more efficiently, securely, and profitably satisfy our customers around the world,” Bartel says.
Collaboration between our corporate office, district offices, and our rigs has always been an area we struggle to maintain … Teams has been the tool to help us bridge the gap.