Sphera recently attended the International Quality & Productivity Center (IQPC) Intelligent Automation in Oil & Gas Summit in Houston in February. More than 200 Oil & Gas experts joined the event focusing on how organizations are leveraging intelligent automation and technology to manage operational risk and drive Operational Excellence.

Bill Lutz, a Sphera Operational Risk Management account executive, hosted a roundtable discussion titled Digital Twins: The Next Big Thing in Operational Risk Management.” Digital Twins and automated decision-making are at the forefront of Industry 4.0 innovation today. In fact, industry anticipates 440% growth in Digital Twin adoption, according to Sphera’s 2019 survey on Operational Excellence and Digital Transformation.

Lutz explained that most companies are saddled with an array of siloed data. While companies desperately want to keep up with the buzz generated by “Digital Transformation,” the truth is that hazardous industries are suffering from ill-defined data models. Data is simply not as structured as it is in other industries, which compromises analytics and automated decision-making.

Furthermore, the process of reworking decision-making workflows, hazardous industries must first consider data that supports the reality of operations in terms of condition and performance.

As the event name suggests, innovative automation and technology are at the forefront of this movement. Several sessions highlighted new technology including, Industrial Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, wearables, mobile among other.  Lutz reaffirmed this message in the roundtable by explaining that technology is developing to deliver a view of the operational reality by extracting, translating and aggregating data for sensors, systems and human activity to support decision-making workflows and support tools of the future, like Digital Twins and automated decisions.

The big upside to a digital twin solution to support Operational Risk Management is the efficiencies gained from the ability to simulate and proactively mitigate and manage risk; take action on the schedule based on the simulated impact of conflicting activities; and improve prioritization based on simulating the Major Accident Hazard risk impact of specifics within the maintenance backlog.

Participants of the round table all agreed that organizations need a simple way to visualize and manage risk and activity to make better, safer decisions.