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Breaking Down Barriers to Collaboration

White(Star) Papers

Breaking Down Barriers to Collaboration

December 2010
By Robert C. White, Jr.

Is inter-departmental collaboration just a dream? Or can it become a reality?

In my last column, I introduced the concept of collaboration as a realistic goal of upstream E&P efforts thanks to GIS map servers and web mapping services (WMS). Traditionally, geophysicists, geologists, and land men have operated independently of one another, each with their own departmental goals, management and budgets. But now GIS and WMS have made enterprise maps the rallying point for the entire upstream team. Most technical barriers to collaboration are gone.

Assuming an energy company understands that better internal collaboration puts the organization into a superior position to make sound strategic decisions that positively impact the bottom line, the next question is, “How can we break down the traditional barriers to collaboration?”

With the technical barriers removed, let’s face it – the primary roadblocks standing in the way are political. This is why the move toward collaboration must come from the top of the organization.

One challenge is overcoming the hoarding mentality and fiefdom building that often separate one department from another. Granted, different departments have different resources and different requirements, but managers must invest time in holding multidisciplinary strategic sessions to identify where various departments can work together and share resources for the greater good. In some companies, management has devised ways to reward departments that find ways to dissolve barriers and produce improved results.