Americas producers lag in social media technology use - survey

10 March 2010 21:46  [Source: ICIS news]

Americas lag in social mediaHOUSTON (ICIS news)--Oil and gas companies in the Americas are the slowest to embrace social media technology, according to a survey released on Wednesday.

Among respondents from the Americas, 25% said their companies were not open to the adoption and implementation of social media tools - well higher than 14% from the Asia Pacific region and 17% from the Europe, Middle East and Africa region.

Furthermore, 40% of Americas respondents said they were currently not using any public or company social media tools in the workplace.

 “Companies slow to embrace collaboration technologies are missing strategic opportunities to leverage tools to drive work-force utilisation and improved business and operational performance,” said James Arnott, a senior executive with Accenture’s energy industry group’s consulting practice.

The survey was conducted by Microsoft and Accenture, and unveiled on Wednesday at the CERAWeek 2010 energy conference in Houston.

The survey defined social media tools as including instant messaging, video conferencing, social networking sites, mobile phone text messaging, video or photo sharing, and the use of blogs and microblogs.

Companies in the Asia Pacific region were the most frequent to use social media, the survey said, with 37% of respondents in that region stating that social media was “very valuable” for work collaboration and sometimes surpassing peers in other regions by margins of 10 to one.

“Asia Pacific, with its rapidly growing demand for energy, will set the oil agenda of the future, so driving increased productivity, enhanced collaboration and more efficient operations is of top importance in this region,” said Albrecht Ferling, managing director of worldwide oil and gas industries for Microsoft.

In Europe, Africa and the Middle East, the top social media use was as a search tool, with over half of respondents using social media most in that capacity, the survey said.

Meanwhile, in the Americas, the top priority was “documenting and transferring knowledge”, with 61% of respondents saying that “scarcity of skills/talent due to a shrinking or aging work force” was the industry trend most often driving their need to collaborate.

Overall, 75% of oil and gas professionals said they saw value in using social media tools at work - an 83% increase from year-earlier findings, the survey said.

“The high rate of usage in emerging markets reflects those companies’ rapid adoption of new technologies to provide differentiated levels of work force, operations and business performance - this is creating new levels of competitiveness,” said Arnott.

“It also highlights the increasing use of technology to support a critical shortage of skills and experience within the oil and gas industry,” he added.

The CERAWeek 2010 conference lasts through Friday.

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By: Ben DuBose
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