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How do established oil & gas companies develop their digital transformation strategy?


How do established oil & gas companies develop their digital transformation strategy?

How do large and established oil & gas companies develop their digital transformation strategy? We had a chat with Giacomo Silvestri, Group Digital Strategy, Innovation & Portfolio Management at ENI, to discuss that.

What is your role at ENI?

At ENI I’m leading the digital agenda of the company. In my role as a Group Head of Digital Strategy, Innovation, and Portfolio Management, I’m responsible for the overall digital strategy of the company. I’m responsible for what we call digital agenda, meaning all the digital initiatives that we encompass within our group, including technology and digital solutions that fuel digital innovation.

How is ENI approaching digital transformation?

We have a very large and broad scope of programmes within our digital agenda. First of all, within the oil & gas major companies, ENI is the only one where Chief Digital Officer (CDO), reports directly to the CEO. Other oil & gas companies have CDO reports either to Chief Operating Officer or separate business officers (Vice Presidents for Upstream, Refining and etc.) or even to Chief Information Officer. We do that because we position digital at the core of the company’s strategy.

The digital agenda
of ENI is composed
of around 200 digital
initiatives in 4 years plan.

We apply all kinds of digital technologies – blockchain, AI/ML, advanced analytics, augmented reality, drones, industrial IoT. We are doing projects on all the typical digital technologies that are out there.

We are rolling out those projects in 38 countries, and there are around 1500 people who are directly involved in that. The projects lie all along the value chain – exploration, all the upstream business, drilling operations, even retail, and all the support functions have their own digitalization projects.

In such a complex structure, how do you make sure that there are no siloed projects and digitalization initiatives are synergized?

Of course, this is part of the role of CDO.  Speaking about my role in particular, when I develop the digital agenda for the company and approve it –  it’s one of the first points we are paying attention to.

We are evaluating how to leverage synergies as much as possible and avoid situations where to different company’s functions approach the same issues with different approaches, technologies, and providers.

We do that when we develop digital agenda of the company. We also have a function called Digital Performance which takes care of measuring results and impact of the projects, both in terms of spending and economic benefits.

That’s how we align all the projects within the whole oil & gas value chain and across all of our business.

What are the main difficulties you are facing with implementation of ENI’s digital agenda?

One of the major difficulties, of course, is change management. We work on involving people through the entire project cycle – Elisabetta Purlalli, our Head of Change Management, can tell you more about how we approach to change management around the key projects that we have.

Another difficulty that
we face, is the ability
to kick off projects
in a fast manner.

This is the reason why within digital division we have another unit called Digital Delivery. It is sort of digital factory where we prototype and do the typical proof-of-concept with agile design and thinking. This helps us to speed up projects, especially in the beginning.


Group Head of Digital


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