Babur Ozden, Founder and CEO of Maana

In the first of an exclusive series of interviews with our 2017 Energy Digitalisation Summit Middle East speakers, Babur Ozden, Founder and CEO of Maana shares his views on digital transformation in the energy sector.

'Our vision is to organize the world’s industrial data and expertise into digital knowledge for millions of employees at the world’s largest industrial organizations to make better decisions, while managing and operating the assets that the global economy depends on. Our vision is shared by corporate venture arms of Shell, Chevron, Saudi Aramco, GE and Intel who have been instrumental in the great success of Maana. Our work earned us the reputation as one of the most innovative technology companies in industrial digital transformation. This year we were recognized by IHS Markit CERA Week as one of eight Energy Innovation Pioneers from over 500 candidates and The World Economic Forum also recognized Maana as a 2017 Technology Pioneer.'

How do you see Digital Transformation reshaping the energy sector?
Digital transformation is becoming a strategic priority for the energy companies. It enables them to create new business models to remain competitive, improve bottom line and reduce risk.

What is driving innovation in Digital Transformation – strategy, technologies or both?
Digital Transformation is more than strategy and technology, it also requires leadership and people to embrace it. It is as much a cultural transition as it is learning to adopt new technologies.

How is Maana driving innovation in Digital Transformation?
Maana is the “knowledge” layer of the digital industrial stack. It enables industrial companies to turn their employees' domain expertise and data from silos into new knowledge. This new digital knowledge helps employees make better decisions faster at operational decision points. 

Are you able to give a use case study or an example of a company that has applied digital transformation in the energy sector and how this has tangibly improved its business?
Yes at Shell for example, crude engineers possess deep expertise on the impact of hundreds of crude types on equipment failure and corrosion during the refining process.  This invaluable intellectual property and the data sources it is captured are scattered around the enterprise. Shell developed an artificially intelligent Crude Risk Mitigation knowledge application on Maana Knowledge Platform that captures the domain and subject matter expertise of crude engineer and learns from historical and new data to help engineers to quickly access risk profiles, mitigation strategies, and optimal processing practices. 

What role does IoT play in the digital transformation journey in the energy sector?
The Industrial IoT forms “the Edge” of the energy sector. Edge is where the sectors’ assets are, and it is a new layer of machine intelligence for rapid realtime decision making at mass scale. Edge brings a wider range of autonomousness to the operations of assets.

Is Big Data really the new oil? 
One thing I can tell is that making excellent use of massive quantities of data is nothing new to the O&G industry. What is the new oil in our opinion is digital knowledge, which is a new layer of intelligence that drives digital transformation.