SteelPointe: Consulting Engagements to Deliver Multi-Win Scenarios

January 1901. Spindletop Hill, located near southeastern Texas, awakened to the oil contained for 160 million years shooting up in a geyser 60m high, heralding the boom of the oil and gas sector. Leafing through the historic pages, the Hamill brothers had an advantage—use of revolutionary technology by way of a steam engine to drill the pipe through the sand instead of the primitive rigs. Riding on the oil wave, Houston has evolved over the years to be the ‘Energy capital of the world’ and is home to numerous oil and gas companies, yet challenged with newer IT processes, technologies and operations.

As oilfield operations expand, the profound effect of technology, environmental, security, quality, and efficiency are calling for a transformation in execution. This transformation can’t be achieved by the traditional consulting and managed services that leverage engagement models which are laborious and time consuming. Headquartered in the beautiful Woodlands, Texas, SteelPointe Partners changes that paradigm in the overall marketplace by redefining technology consulting and delivering business value through IT strategies and operations optimization. At its core, SteelPointe is a focused global IT management consulting, professional services and outsourcing firm differentiating on flexibility and speed. “We deliver business value through a unique approach with transformational accelerators—rapid, scalable and tailored solutions spanning businesses and IT strategy, operational optimization and traditional technology consulting areas,” says Justin M Williams. As the Managing Partner of the company, Williams’ two decades of combined experience in technology, manufacturing, sales and client relationships in the energy industry enables him to deliver business value to his clients.

The Quintessential Transformational Accelerators

SteelPointe Partners differentiates through its use of Transformational Accelerators. “Transformational Accelerator’s libraries of best practices, capture the experience of our teams and are organized along the three dimensions of Business & IT Strategy, Operations Optimization and Technology Consulting,” adds Williams. Accelerated scoping and delivery models, enabled by Transformational Accelerators and led by industry practitioners, provide value in differential timeframes.

Transformational Accelerators have been designed to be implemented in part or whole, focused on leveraging client’s previous investments and delivering maximum ROI

The success of SteelPointe, as envisaged by Clif Triplett, Managing Partner, lies in its bench strength comprised of former C-level executives of leading companies and subject matter experts. Their deep industry experience helps in identifying the gaps for the unique client requirements and deliver business value faster. “The Transformational Accelerators allow us to go page by page, chapter by chapter or accelerators as a whole and stitch together multiple variants of them to deliver a solution to the client. The last core element that we differentiate is leveraging existing investments and best practices into the solutions delivered,” says Triplett. He further explains, “The Transformational Accelerators are built and managed, in a way that allows us to extract the value from previous investments, and incorporate these into our frameworks. We can train the client on the new solution or provide services to continue to operationalize and run those programs as an end-to-end managed service.”

Building bridges across corporate C-suite

A diverse set of perspectives predict the necessary technology changes, the future innovations and the deliverables needed from the IT consultants.

The cyclic nature of the oil and gas industry—increasing number of entrants to the market, and revolutionary technology introduction— is creating a new set of cost pressures and challenges not common when compared to historic norms. This coupled with the increased integration and dependency on technology for operations is driving a significant number of companies to revisit their approach to systems architectures and operating practices. The need is to establish multi-year IT strategies aligned with this transformation of the industry. SteelPointe offers a number of solutions and techniques to its clients to assess their situation and quickly target those activities that will maximize their ROI. Sharing his best practices for building bridges across the C-suite, Triplett says, “We present to our clients the whole picture, and explain what's happening from the perspective of people, process and technology.”
In the oil and gas sector, multiple business performance enhancements are happening simultaneously. While downtime and productivity continue to be big issues, the movement to more intelligent drilling and production systems is driving the need for a new generation of applications to be integrated with field operations. With the aggressive deployment of sensors in oil and gas operations, the new real-time data from these sensors has become critical for reductions in non-productive time and improvements in both drilling and production. This industry has been collecting and storing historic log files for years, and each year the data has grown in volume and richness. “Now most major oil and gas companies are in possession of vast amounts of historic information. The new and immediate challenge is to take the historical data, and correlate it to the actual real time production information, to optimized operations thus improving oil field productivity and safety,” explains Triplett.

These huge logs of data in oil and gas sector are broken into three parts—upstream, midstream and downstream. “At SteelPointe, we have a lot of experience in handling, managing and understanding upstream data and helping people develop the frameworks and architectures to process them,” says Triplett. Master data management initiatives, particularly in upstream activities, are related to seismic data and have the potential to dramatically improve reservoir optimization and drilling productivity.

With the significant digitization of oil and gas, the resulting data explosion, the need for integration of data across silos, and industry consolidation brought on through acquisitions and mergers; never has there been a greater need for these services to organize, manage and integrate data. “These challenges of transforming an oil and gas operating environment bring risk and can gain both a reduction in risk and an improvement in speed with experienced assistance. SteelPointe and its alliance network of partners can bring the experience and talent that most organizations need to meet their business expectations,” says Triplett.

These industry trends reflect the need for an integrated and aligned business-IT strategy, technical architecture, application roadmaps, and an effective and nimble portfolio management processes. These trends also demand the development of a new hybrid workforce built of contractors, technology vendors, corporate IT employees and a new generation of knowledge workers with the skills to deliver the right solutions. It will require enhanced employee development, supplier management, and organizational change management support. Unfortunately, most organizations will need to address the majority of these as a concurrent set of initiatives. Additionally, we face a new national concern of nation sponsored cyber threats. All of these are the backdrop to the challenges of moving existing data and systems from traditional client server architecture to cloud services.

“SteelPointe’s Transformational Accelerators, strategies, architectures, and our experience based consulting solutions assist organizations in preparing, transforming and harvesting the value each of these trends and challenges they represent,” says Triplett.

Methodology Accelerating Speed to Value

SteelPointe’s Intellectual Property includes a set of tools referred to as “Situational Assessments” that have the ability to identify and define the problem and propose the most appropriate solution in mere hours instead of days and weeks. “Once the focus area has been determined, our normal course of action is to align the situation with the proven Transformational Accelerator and implement the solution with little or no configuration,” says Williams.

This approach enables SteelPointe to achieve a major internal objective to deliver perceived value within the first week, delivering transformational initiatives—an order of magnitude faster than historic consulting approaches. “Most notably, our clients are not paying to develop our library of Accelerators; they are engaging SteelPointe to have them deployed and gain the strategic advantage in the marketplace they offer. For instance, if it is testing, then we provide the testing policies, methodologies, and governance. It encompasses the complete gamut of testing,” adds Williams.

A particular focus of SteelPointe is Software Quality Assurance (SQA): creating a testing framework for establishing and enhancing Testing Centers of Excellence (TCoE) for clients. As the price of oil began to decline, SteelPointe saw an opportunity for SteelPointe SQA to refocus the industry on efficiencies and cost savings. By automating the testing processes within the software development lifecycle, and also within non-traditional areas such as financial control testing and production reports, SteelPointe could drive immediate value for energy companies: Such areas would be a very quick win on an energy company’s journey to increased efficiencies.
Justin M Williams, Managing Partner “When we reviewed what was available on the technology side, we found the HP toolset answering the requirements overwhelmingly and bringing everything needed for those solutions. For software quality assurance we turn to HP every time,” says Williams. HP understands and appreciates the people and processes at SteelPointe, and how closely they mesh with HP’s technology. “We value the partnership between HP Software and SteelPointe Partners,” says Phil Rayment, Vice President, Alliances and Channels, HP Software Americas.

“SteelPointe’s dynamic approach around Transformational Accelerators and its proven industry talent is a winning combination. Our HP Software teams have trust and confidence in SteelPointe to deliver business value faster to our customers.”

The Defining Edge

SteelPointe’s offerings have focused mostly on cross industry solutions. “Our differentiating value is the effort we have taken to capture and integrate best practices across industries. Most of our partners have exposure to multiple industries and almost all have extensive oil and gas experience. Our effort is to apply these learnings and further adapt those concepts to the unique nature of every company. A Lead Partner, who manages client interactions, has access to the complete SteelPointe’s ecosystem,” says Triplett.

SteelPointe’s solution transcends the competition in flexibility and speed. For example, the company’s Transformational Accelerator was used at a major university to assist them in launching a supplier management initiative. An on-site training and rollout included the IT, Finance and Purchasing organizations and even the first supplier was on-boarded to the new program. At the conclusion of three days, the university had a documented playbook on Supplier Management and identified benefits beyond the cost of the program. Nearly two years later, they continue to manage consistently with SteelPointe’s playbook and on-board new suppliers thereby enhancing their maturity in each of the processes.

In addition to oil and gas sector, SteelPointe serves eight other segments: energy, utilities, high-tech, education, manufacturing, automotive, defense and aerospace, financial services, communications, and media and entertainment. SteelPointe solutions can serve large enterprises as well as new start-ups across industry segments. Mid-market to start-ups seek out SteelPointe solutions to quickly put in place processes and technology imperative to their core business without extraordinary time and cost investments. This translates into improved processes and productivity warranting future investments from potential private equity firms. All of these clearly correlate to say that SteelPointe is very well poised to support the significant growth in the oil and gas market.

Distinguishing through the speed of value realization, SteelPointe’s guiding principles are based on uncompromising integrity, deliver on commitments, and respect for people and clients. “We will continue to innovate with our products and services; accelerate with our clients, and cultivate our team of executive leadership,” asserts Williams.

“In the beginning of oil, it was hardship. We didn’t know anything except the surface of the ground,” the Hamill brothers.

“With vast amounts of information and technology in oil & gas we still search to better understand what is happening below the surface,” says Clif Triplett.

The oil and gas technology journey continues...SteelPointe Partners has positioned itself to assist.

SteelPointe Partners

The Woodlands, TX

Justin M Williams, Managing Partner and Clif Triplett, Managing Partner

Provides strategy consulting, business services, technology advisory services, and corporate governance