Data Science is About Making Better Decisions

Posted on: Sunday, 22 October 2017 at 5:07:54 PM

“Data Science is About Making Better Decisions”

Article from the AICC(WA)'s Cisco Technology Series Sundowner hosted on 18 October 2017, featuring Dr Tom Ridsdill-Smith, VP Chief Digital Officer, Woodside Energy speaking on "How Data Science is driving a digital transformation at Woodside" 

From L to R - Mr Sean Salter, VP Technology, Woodside Energy Pty Ltd, Mr Mark Patterson, Western Australia State Director, Cisco Systems Australia Pty Ltd, Dr Tom Ridsdill-Smith, VP Chief Digital Officer, Woodside Energy Pty, Ms Robyn Sermon, Associate Director - Industry Engagement, The University of Western Australia and Mr John Cluer, Chief Executive, Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (WA)

 

The third CISCO AICC(WA) Technology Series presentation for 2017 was introduced by Ms Robyn Sermon, Associate Director, Industry Engagement, UWA. The University is engaged in projects such as the renewable energy centre in Albany, where UWA has been awarded $3.75 in funding to establish the project, and other activity such as research into the impact of FIFO work and defence industry innovation. In the context of this activity and event, UWA, Woodside and the AICC(WA) continue to deliver thought leadership to the WA business community.

 

 Ms Robyn Sermon, Associate Director - Industry Engagement, The University of Western Australia

A discussion between Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and OurCrowd CEO Jon Medved about Technological Innovation in Israel set the scene for Mr John Cluer, AICC(WA) Chief Executive to outline recent trade accomplishments between Australia and Israel. Mr Cluer highlighted the value and volume of bilateral trade as depicted below. More than 300 people have now attended AICC(WA) trade delegations to Israel, resulting in tangible business outcomes.

Tipping Points in Israel-Aust Economic Relations 2017

To introduce the keynote speaker and share a recent account of his participation in an AICC trade delegation, Mr Sean Salter, VP Technology, Woodside spoke of the integration of business and culture that contextualised the ecosystem that primes and sustains Israeli innovation. The broad base of participants, on-the-bus delegate networking, and a first-hand account of Israeli start-up enterprise combined to deliver a truly unique experience.

 

 Mr Sean Salter, VP Technology, Woodside Energy Pty Ltd

Mr Salter referenced Tom Ridsdill-Smith’s record of leading teams and delivering innovative business solutions for digital service and analytics for Woodside. The implementation of technology and innovation has further influenced a culture transformation for the organisation.

In his address, Dr Ridsdill-Smith spoke of the simple objective of his team’s work, namely, to use technology to make better decisions. The success factor comes down to both the quality and timeliness with which business decisions are made. This relates both to operational decisions such as production optimisation, occupational health and safety or infrastructure maintenance, as well as more strategic decisions relating to the initiation of exploration, market diversification or infrastructure investment.

The “Collective Intelligence” approach targets all information and learning of the organisation across its long history, contributing to the predictive modelling of the future.

“The timeframe to make decisions reduces because competition and market intelligence is growing. We use open source tools where possible to minimise complexity, and we build partnerships to expand our technical capability. This enhances the effectiveness of our work.”

Dr Tom Ridsdill-Smith, VP Chief Digital Officer, Woodside Energy Pty

Dr Ridsdill-Smith shared three examples of data science innovation deployed by his team;

  • An analytics application for maintenance that allows engineers to direct their resources effectively. Using the example of valve maintenance, the application was demonstrated to identify how analytics predict the likelihood of valve failure and optimum performance. The technology delivers insights into trends that may impact performance, for example, manufacturer and operating lifecycle.
  • Woodside has deployed “Watson” to deliver better decision making. Watson is a cognitive computing tool that searches and summarises information from diverse sources to evolve artificial intelligence. Predictive information relating to important operational requirements such as occupational health and safety can be derived, such as the likelihood of an accident under certain conditions and variables.
  • A system called “Willow” is a one stop information portal to collect insights and access corporate intelligence. The system provides a single interface across all systems and a vast amount of historic data to ensure that valuable information is not lost to the company.

From L to R - Ms Robyn Sermon, Associate Director - Industry Engagement, The University of Western Australia, Mr Sean Salter, VP Technology, Woodside Energy Pty Ltd, Mr Mark Patterson, Western Australia State Director, Cisco Systems Australia Pty Ltd and Mr John Cluer, Chief Executive, Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (WA)

In reflecting on the lessons learned by Woodside, Dr Ridsdill-Smith concluded that an innovation culture is not about the technology, but about the business. For this reason the development of their innovation is provided by multidisciplinary teams using an iterative approach towards defining value.

He also noted that the cost of experimentation can be minimalised by building the smallest possible prototype to test a hypothesis in a real environment. However it is also important to focus on the veracity and relevance of the hypothesis itself. Finally, having a clear vision and roadmap is critical due to the pace of technological advancement.

Mr Mark Patterson, Western Australia State Director, Cisco proposed a vote of thanks, concurring that business is experiencing rapid change. He referenced The Digital Vortex a recently published joint initiative of IMD business school and Cisco. The series explores how digital disruption is altering traditional competitive dynamics in virtually every industry, and how technology can assist companies to leapfrog competitors. Mr Patterson commended Woodside for continuing to push the boundaries of innovation.

Dr Tom Ridsdill-Smith, VP Chief Digital Officer, Woodside Energy Pty

 

About Dr Tom Ridsdill-Smith

Tom manages Woodside’s data science at IT as Chief Digital Officer.

Prior to this he has worked in a variety of roles for Woodside including as VP Science, Chief Scientist and as Chief Geophysicist.

Before joining Woodside in early 2000, Tom worked for 5 years in airborne geophysics at World Geoscience Corporation.

Tom is an Adjunct Professor of Physics at the University of Western Australia.

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