Making waves in the energy industry

Today’s Office 365 post was written by Hercu Rabsatt, director of infrastructure and service management at Mansfield Oil.

IMG_1469The oil and energy industry isn’t known for pushing the proverbial envelope when it comes to technology, but at Mansfield Oil, we’ve consistently taken advantage of technology to put ourselves at the forefront of what we do.

We’re now in our 57th year and at a pivotal point as we transform our business. Last year we launched a three-year plan, which began with consolidating and stabilizing our IT environment. Converting our IT department from a cost center into a revenue generating part of the company is also underway as we continue in our “building phase.” Although I view 2015 as the “transformation phase,” I’ve been surprised by how much transformation and payoff we’re already experiencing today from our technology investments.

Nowhere is that more true than with our adoption of Microsoft Office 365. We knew we wanted to move to the cloud because we needed more storage space and more stability for our email environment. We evaluated the choices out there, and determined that Google Docs, Amazon Web Services and the others just didn’t make sense from an integration perspective. Choosing Office 365 removed complexity, so it really was a no-brainer for us.

Using Office 365, we’re able to eliminate technologies we no longer need, which adds to our bottom line. But we’re not just replacing existing functionality—we now have many new resources at our disposal. Our mobile capabilities make it possible for us to interact from anywhere using different modalities for communication. For example, our executive team avoids a lot of travel now that they conduct meetings through integrated videoconferencing. And with collaboration workspaces, our research and development team work together from multiple offices to optimize loads of oil for greater trucking efficiency.

As we grow, we have to find new and better ways to pool resources and act cohesively for the company’s greater good. We’re making a cultural shift, and Office 365 is supporting us every step of the way. It starts when we add new employees. We no longer have to worry about onboarding lag times because our new automated workflows take care of so many of those processes, which means that our new employees feel like part of our team and can be productive more quickly. Once those new employees are up and running, they—and everyone else—can essentially do more with less. We’re looking to deploy Yammer as the enterprise social network so that we have a platform where colleagues can share ideas, best practices and valuable insights. We’re also replacing our phone system with Microsoft Lync Online so that voice communication travels with our employees.

That flexibility extends to nearly every facet of our work environment. Employees don’t have to be logged onto our network to be productive, and they no longer email spreadsheets around to track projects. Instead, they work on and store documents within Microsoft SharePoint Online, and that ease of use and version control decreases the amount of time it takes to complete each bit of our work. Collaboration among our offices has skyrocketed. With Office 365 as the catalyst, we’ve become a more interconnected business. We’re working together like a 21st century company, which is a real game changer for us and gives us a competitive advantage. Honestly, this is the most dynamic that our company has ever been, and it’s only the first step in what promises to be an exciting period of change at Mansfield Oil.

—Hercu Rabsatt