Identifying the right oil and gas customer

A 100-year-old oil and gas company was going through a large, expensive digital transformation. They had started the digitization (changing everything from paper to digital) and digitalization (using technology to change the way they work) processes. But if they couldn’t agree on who their customer was, how could they be customer-first, which is the most important part of any digital transformation?


A year prior to working with this client, they engaged with a well-known U.S. business strategy-consulting firm. This consultancy helped implement an Agile software development methodology. Products were kicked-off based on the problems identified in the strategy work, but they struggled with gaining traction and producing measurable products. We identified two key issues after the first day of working with this client:

  1. The consulting firm identified how to build technology that drives digital transformation, but it did not address what to build.
  2. Although they had product roadmaps and were running their software development teams via an iterative Agile methodology, there was no cohesive vision that the individual roadmaps led to.


We’re struggling with what technology updates to make and in what order.


In order to identify what to build and in what order to build it in, a company vision for the digital transformation had to be defined. What would this oil and gas company look like if we built it from scratch today? How would their customers interact with them and get access to their data? How would the men and women in the field do their jobs? How would the business support these field workers? We started with interviewing executive leadership, product teams, and the operations side of the organization. The technology side was frustrated with operations, wondering why they couldn’t provide requirements, feedback, and participation. Operations was frustrated with technology, wondering why they were building products that were incomplete, wrong, and not helpful. We then interviewed anyone identified as a customer, as we found out that different groups served internal or external customers, leading to confusion about who is the “customer” and how each employee works with them. This allowed us to rework their existing customer personas, correctly identifying the true customer, as it pointed back to the newly clarified company vision.


Branch Strategy partnered with this client to offer an independent perspective to evaluate their digital transformation process. We helped to identify the right customers, unifying a very fractured organization. Through a highly technical discovery project, we created actionable plans to tackle their hardest data issues, which had been avoided due to their complexities. Most importantly, we correctly identified a vision, which allowed this oil and gas company to change their approach to digital transformation.

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