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Need for enterprise software solutions [Khaleej Times (United Arab Emirates)]
[May 19, 2013]

Need for enterprise software solutions [Khaleej Times (United Arab Emirates)]

(Khaleej Times (United Arab Emirates) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) More than $50 billion worth of contracts for various oil, gas and petrochemical projects will be awarded across the GCC in 2013.

The volume of investments is nearly twice the $27 billion worth of contracts awarded in the previous year, reflecting a sharp increase in oil and gas (O&G) projects being undertaken across the region. While the enormous figure reflects positively on the overall growth of the O&G industry, it also hints at the growing complexity involved in completing these projects. Whether they manufacture, maintain, build or install in support of the energy industry, a diverse array of companies and professional services are involved in the distinctly complex energy projects across the region. It is essential for such companies to be adequately equipped with the right tools to effectively manage the complex tasks involved, from controlling processes, to reducing costs, complying with regulations, and through to responding to a new set of challenges each day.

Oil and gas investments in the region have sharply increased and we are seeing a growing number of specialist enterprises involved in the value chain. Companies involved in various energy projects are unique because they deal with complex and diverse requirements when compared to other industries. Fixed asset management, work management, field service management, geographical information systems, CRM, and crisis management are just some of the varying needs that somehow need to be integrated together by companies operating in the energy sphere. Finding the right enterprise software solution that can handle all these diverse needs is therefore a primary challenge.

In light of the growing complexity of O&G projects, companies in the region are aggressively investing in enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions to effectively reach into all areas of the business and value chain. ERP binds together various systems of a large organisation, allowing each department to communicate, share information and collaborate with the rest of the company while retaining their own systems. Moreover, ERP is an ideal solution in the asset-intensive O&G industry as it helps facilitate project-driven materials management; harmonize engineering, purchasing, fabrication and other key O&G disciplines; proactively manage contractors and sub-contractors; and optimise forecasting and project accounting.

Conventional ERP solutions, however, are limited in scope mainly because they are designed for automating back-office functions, lacking critical functions that offer real-time interaction and collaboration internally and externally. Improving on conventional ERP capabilities, there are now more advanced, fully integrated solutions such as 'Epicor for Energy', which delivers highly specialized features catering to specific needs of the energy sector. 'Epicor for Energy' combines applications such as project management, service management, field service, mobile field service, maintenance management, advanced quality management, dashboards and a suite of web services. The ideal ERP solution must understand the need of energy companies to manage complex projects and adapt to a highly dynamic market landscape.

The writer is a product marketing manager for Epicor Software Corporation. Views expressed by the author are his own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy (c) 2013 Khaleej Times. All Rights Reserved. Provided by an company

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