Introducing a forward-looking digital culture across a large and historic company like OMV Petrom is no easy feat and it is one Jaco Fok has not taken lightly. Grace Allen talks to Jaco Fok, chief of innovation at OMV Petrom, about data challenges, how to change patterns of working and why, in the end, it’s all about people.
“All of a sudden, the world was woken up by the internet,” he says, pointing out similarities between what he describes as the “hype cycle” of the rise of the World Wide Web and today’s widespread digitalisation, as well as the vast underappreciation of what the internet would come to be – not just a marketplace, a way to conduct transactions more easily, but a game changer in how we communicate and collaborate.
“I’m pretty sure that whatever estimations we make of this digital revolution, we’re going to be underestimating something, and we’re missing something big.”
In 2017, Jako Fok was appointed chief of innovation at Romanian oil and gas producer – and South and Eastern Europe’s largest energy company – OMV Petrom.
My task is to make this company more innovative and more digitally dextrous
Enabling change across a company of 14,000 employees is no small task, but Fok emphasises that OMV Petrom is committed to the evolution.
“The most important one of any piece of change management is senior leadership,” he explains.
This change is already under way, including the development of a background architecture which can unite the company’s disparate data sources.
Another project is the creation of a dashboard of refinery data, allowing a refinery manager to easily access undisputed key figures and areas for attention.
We recently gave the big technology and innovation event here in Petrom City, where we had 28 booths in a sort of internal exhibition that showcased innovations that have happened over the past two years, and people were actually amazed,” he says.
As important as the introduction of new technology, is the provision of the skills to use it.
Fok describes how OMV Petrom is setting up a digital academy to provide training at a range of levels on key concepts such as the internet of things (IoT), video analytics and blockchain.
More in-depth training is also provided to allow people with a background in analytics to become data scientists: A vital skill set in a digital future.
Fok points out the value of internally educating employees who already benefit from expert knowledge of the data sources and the challenges of the company, rather than bringing in data specialists who lack industry experience.
July 1, 2019