GE O&G '17: Reliance Industries CIO talks digital optimization, big data

By Adrienne Blume, Editor, Gas Processing and Executive Editor, Hydrocarbon Processing

FLORENCE, ITALY—Manoj Chouthai, CIO of Reliance Industries Ltd., spoke about the digital optimization of his company's operations on the second day of GE Oil & Gas' Annual Meeting 2017.

"Digital is changing our industries, our families, our lives," Mr. Chouthai acknowledged. "Where do we see our [Reliance's] future? In data."

Digital encompasses process automation, gathering data based on those operations, running analytics on the data, and applying the learnings derived from the data. "There is an untapped market for digital within India," the CIO asserted.

From silos to digitized information-sharing. Reliance's foray into the digital management of its operations is a relatively new trend for the company. "We came across a fundamental truth that we were organized in silos," Mr. Chouthai explained. "We were effectively organized [in this way] through about 2012, but then we realized this [segregation of information] would be a challenge for us going forward. These were the circumstances—but we also saw opportunities."

Photo by Adrienne Blume.
Photo by Adrienne Blume.

Reliance began to utilize its access to a pool of highly motivated, highly educated, young professionals focused to succeed. These young workers helped integrate technology tools like the cloud, big data, and improved data analytics into Reliance's operations between 2012 and 2015.

The CIO noted that Reliance now has a Nelson complexity index of 12.7, which he said is one of the highest in the world. In the future, the company also aims to improve its gross refinery margin from the present level of $10.50/bbl.

"We've automated most end-to-end processes and have a robust, real-time data-management business in place," Mr. Chouthai said. From 2016 onward, Reliance will advance its digital future by making large investments in technology and taking advantage of big data (Fig. 1).

Reliance, GE to partner in IIoT. To advance its digital evolution, Reliance signed a global partnership agreement with GE in November 2016 in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) space. The two companies will work together to build out joint applications on GE's Predix cloud platform.

The benefits to customers include driving operational efficiencies, profitability and new revenue streams by making use of data and analytics.

"Data, truly, is the new oil for us," Mr. Chouthai said, in closing. "Big data is helping us drive our manufacturing story."

Stay tuned for more coverage. More coverage of key speaker presentations from the GE Oil & Gas Annual Meeting is forthcoming. Watch this space for updates!

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