PTAC and GO Pal Emergency Management Services created an online market assessment survey/questionnaire to clearly identify the problem solution fit of mobile technologies in the petroleum emergency preparedness industry with the support of Alberta Innovates Technology Futures (AITF).
On August 9, 2016, the survey was distributed to various emergency preparedness industry stakeholders, mainly consisting of oil and gas producers operating in Western Canada. Awareness of this study was provided via e-mail and through personal outreach to PTAC members and GO Pal’s industry contacts. Additional exposure efforts were made to external stakeholders via PTAC’s and GO Pal’s LinkedIn pages. We received 16 online survey responses, which included participation from major Canadian oil and gas producing companies. In addition, 9 post survey interviews were conducted with various industry stakeholders who provided further insight to the answers provided on the online questionnaire.
The Problem Solution Fit for GO Pal’s proposed development of a mobile Emergency Response Plan Mobile Enterprise Application System (ERP App) was assessed and confirmed the following pain points: costs can be reduced for physical copies of ERPs, document management can become more efficient, communications between field and corporate personnel can be improved, and poor accessibility to ERP manuals can become more easily accessible through the implementation of an ERP App.
The Product market fit for GO Pal’s proposed development of a mobile ERP App was addressed during both the survey and interview process through direct inquiries to end users regarding their interest in using an ERP App within their company. We found that 100% of interviewees who were questioned about the value of including an ERP App as part of their emergency preparedness program advised that they see it as a valuable addition. Reasoning provided to support this statistic includes: convenience and value driven features with cross applications to improve emergency response as well as day to day business activities by providing easy access to critical material such as contact information and operational maps. This end-user feedback demonstrates that this product is market-ready, as similar products are proven to be used and deployed in the field, but have not yet reached mainstream usage in the field. Existing products mentioned by five of the interviewees are currently available for purchase. From this study, we became aware that one of the available products is currently being used by two small oil and gas producers.
The Business model fit for GO Pal’s proposed technology was addressed through survey and interview processes and we found that approximately 40% of those interviewed for this study were aware of technologies in this space that currently exist. Companies who were aware of available technologies in this space, but opted not to purchase mobile ERP Apps at this time, did so due to high prices and incompatibility of the ERP App with the company’s existing global information system and/or other software. Thus, there is still a need to take the business case for ERP mobile applications to the appropriate channels within oil and gas companies to raise awareness and inform. We were informed by this study that the process for purchasing this type of application requires approval from several internal levels and varies per company, but 100% of interviewees indicated that their company would allocate budgets towards the installation and implementation of an ERP App if the business case existed. For example: During our conversations with one company, we were advised that the approval and purchasing process of an ERP App would require approval from a technology management group within their organization, must be applicable to all POS’s (Principal Operating Subsidiary), may require sign-off from the Vice President of operations for health and safety, and likely would involve their IT committee group as well as their Crisis Management Team. The Health and Safety Manager at another company advised that he was the one who vetted and approved their ERP App on behalf the company. The process for yet another company involves IT, security group, and business group review before taking the matter to the executive Vice President level for approval. The purpose of all these steps for approval is to ensure the safety of the App, confirm that it meets company standards, and assess whether or not the product is actually needed prior to going through budgeting personnel. Lastly, one other company advised that this type of technology would be taken to their emergency response group.
Client branding was assessed during the interview process and our results varied. Approximately 40% of companies advised that they would prefer and pay extra for personalized company branding, while others indicated that company or service provider branding was not a priority or that an alternative solution could be used.
This market assessment confirms that the pain points that GO Pal’s ERP App aims to solve currently exist among industry and that technologies related to emergency management could improve public confidence in the petroleum industry’s emergency response programs. The study also provided GO Pal with valuable information to develop their business model and potential product to align with industry needs.