International services supplier to the Oil & Gas industry replaces spreadsheets with purpose built, professional risk management tool.
Aker Solutions is a global provider of products, systems and services to the oil and gas industry. Its engineering, design and technology bring discoveries into production and maximize recovery. The company employs approximately 16,000 people in around 20 countries.
Aker Solutions provides subsea production equipment and offshore field design. Its portfolio of oilfield products, systems and services stretches from concept studies and front-end engineering to subsea production systems, maintenance, modifications and operations services, and solutions for extending the lifetime of oil and gas fields. Aker Solutions’ customers are international, national and independent oil and gas companies from around the world.
Risk Management integral to business
Thames Water is the UK’s largest water and wastewater services provider, supplying water and waste services to 15 million people across London and the Thames Valley.
To achieve greater efficiency in the delivery of its strategic business plan, Thames Water operates an alliance model, eight2O, to deliver infrastructure development and maintenance projects. The alliance includes two design and build joint-ventures consisting of Costain, Atkins and Black & Veatch (CABV) and Skanska, MWH Treatment (now Stantec) and Balfour Beatty (SMB).
The £1.7bn portfolio of infrastructure projects form part of Thames Water’s capital investment for its 2015-2020 program. Setting out guidelines for delivery, the organisation identified a requirement for a robust software tool to manage risk across the projects. Following a rigorous evaluation process in which a total of six organisations were shortlisted, and three products demonstrated in detail, Active Risk Manager (ARM) from Sword GRC was selected for its ease of use and its cross-industry pedigree.
Need for common approach
With a large number of projects in operation at any one time, spread across various locations and different business areas, managing and keeping a complete overview of the associated risks is quite a challenge. Therefore, the company sought to improve and simplify its risk management process. Active Risk Manager was selected due to its flexibility, configurability and its strong track record in the oil and gas sector.
Anders Øksne, Head of Enterprise Risk Management at Aker Solutions explained; “Our objective was to implement a tool that was flexible enough to cover all risk management processes in our company, from day-to-day risk management in our individual projects and operations, to our top-down enterprise risk management processes. We needed a system that would provide transparency and corporate control, at the same time as being a useful and value adding tool at the project level. After a thorough review of alternatives, we concluded ARM was best suited to fulfil these requirements.”
An important reason for choosing ARM was the scalability and configurability. This meant that Aker Solutions could implement and configure the tool to specific needs without risks of limitations or needs for tailoring.
Another objective of implementing a new risk management tool was to involve the owners of risks and related responses more directly in the process. In Aker Solutions, all risks and related responses recorded in ARM must have an owner assigned, and these owners are responsible for the daily follow-up and execution of actions. The alert functionality is also used to notify the relevant people when key events occur, or to proactively remind them about approaching reviews or due actions. Anders Øksne commented: “Involving people directly in the process creates engagement and ownership, and is instrumental in ensuring that risks actually are being managed – not merely identified, assessed and reported. ARM has provided the catalyst for us to achieve this.”
Aker Solutions started its ARM implementation by running a limited number of pilots in ongoing projects in the organization. In parallel, super users were trained to support their local business unit or region – both during the roll-out and later on in normal operation. In the initial roll-out, ARM was implemented in more than 70 projects over a period of eight months. “It was an ambitious roll-out plan, but the transition from existing systems and spreadsheets risk registers to ARM went very smoothly”, Anders Øksne said. ARM has now replaced existing solutions in all delivery and execution projects and is also used for tenders, technology development projects and studies (early phase projects).
Through ARM, Aker Solutions has standardised its approach to risk management and ensured that all projects follow a common process aligned with corporate requirements. The centralised solution also provides the ability to aggregate, analyse and report the complete risk picture across units, regions and other dimensions that were not previously possible.
Anders Øksne commented: “ARM has banished the silos and helps us understand and act on the risks across our project portfolio. Through accurate and up-to-date reports, we are able to provide management on various levels the best support for risk informed decisions. We are looking forward to continuing the journey and extend the application of ARM to new processes in our company.”