Introduction: Visure Solutions had the privilege to interview the well-known Geoffrey Cann for our requirements engineering podcast. In this discussion, we covered many topics such as digital innovation and cybersecurity in asset development, with expertise provided by Cann himself. He also gave examples to illustrate these concepts more clearly for the listeners. Here are some key takeaways from the fascinating conversation had on Visure's podcast. Who is Geoffrey Cann? Geoffrey Cann is an author, speaker, and trainer of the Oil and Gas industry. Following an early career with Imperial Oil, he joined Deloitte, where he carried out several hundred consulting assignments worldwide. Eventually, he led many businesses, services, and industry programs. Today, he specializes in digital innovation, produces a weekly article and podcast on digital issues in energy, and teaches an executive course on digital awareness. He published his first book, Bits, Bytes and Barrels: The Digital Transformation of Oil and Gas, in January 2019. He is also a contributing author for Machine Learning and Data Science in the Oil and Gas Industry: Best Practices, Tools and Case Studies, released in March 2021. Geoffrey is the independent Director on the Board of Adappcity, a blockchain start-up, and is an advisor to several digital technology companies in such areas as artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud computing, robotics, and the internet of things. https:\/\/youtu.be\/K8-IlpouQSU What is Digital Innovation? Digital innovation refers to the use of digital technologies and processes to create new or improved products, services, or experiences. It involves taking advantage of advances in technology to develop innovative solutions that can help businesses stay ahead of their competition and remain competitive in an ever-changing market. Digital innovation requires a combination of creativity, technical know-how, and collaboration between teams within an organization. By leveraging modern tools such as machine learning, natural language processing, augmented reality, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence (AI), companies can gain a competitive edge by creating new experiences for customers and developing more efficient ways to conduct business operations. Cann refers to digital innovation as the introduction of digitally-driven ways of working in an enterprise. According to Cann, there are three elements of digital innovation: Digital Foundations - Organizations need to rethink the foundation of their company in order to embrace more digital tools that are compatible with cloud computing and ubiquitous network. This includes discussing the organization's net worth, database, etc.Capabilities - Organizations that succeed, try to automate their processes by only utilizing a few select capabilities such as big data, collecting and categorizing information, the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence, and robotics. A great example of this would be Tesla's autonomous capabilities. Ways of Working - Where the requirements are at such an interesting angle that they touch on how work gets done in heavy industries. The waterfall method is typically followed in heavy industries whereas the technology industries are much more on the end of iterative cycles and rapid development cycles. Geoffrey believes that digital innovation is about embracing the above three things. He also believes that the first two are about the foundations and the capabilities, and thus, one can easily buy or outsource them. But if you want to think or be like a literal digital organization, you must change the ways of your work. Furthermore, since changes are an inseparable part of the world, you will also have to think about how to embrace those changes and your ways of working in order to stay ahead of the competition. How would Cann describe these “Ways of Working” in a Digital Innovative World? The waterfall method, used for heavy industrial designs, has been perfected over the years. There are various tools and methods existing to support those learning it. And this is how most big industries work - energy companies, oils & gas companies, railroad companies; any company involved in heavy manufacturing or mining typically adopts this approach They tend to see great outcomes using this model but because it takes so much time commitment upfront without being able to adapt well to changes later on down the line. Therefore, in case there are some changes partway through the development cycle of your asset, the waterfall method does not allow you to go backward and rectify things in order to embrace the change. Once the asset moves beyond the designing phase and into the development or delivery phase, it can be super expensive to go back and make changes. The digital world is constantly changing, and it can be difficult to keep up. However, since the digital world relies heavily on software, it is easier to change and adapt as needed in a way that industries that don't use technology cannot. This births a lot of challenges in the heavy industry as it is not clear whether to stay on the waterfall approach or move to agile iterative models. Cann used boilers as an example. He stated that it would not be logical to use agile when one thinks "Let's organize our engineering teams and re-create boilers!". It would make more sense to apply agile when creating an interface between the boilers and the users. Agile Vs Waterfall: What is the difference and Which way to go? For Cann, it was once plausible for industrial companies to say that they could not digitize due to being in an agile environment, but Cann believes this is no longer the case. With computer technology becoming more and more affordable, we can now digitalize anything - even boilers. The digital capability that is attached to your physical asset makes it possible for digital innovations or iterative development. Therefore, the world would become more hybrid. It will not be one OR the other, but rather both Waterfall AND Agile. What are the top risks faced by the Oil and Gas Industry? Cyber is viewed as a borderline that one mustn’t cross in every organization because the consequences of a cyberattack on a heavy industry or any industry, for that matter, can be pretty dramatic. Hence, it is a very critical issue for every industry across the globe. Cann mentions that there are two kinds of cyber challenges: Intentional Cyber - Imagine a guy in a black hoodie in a dark basement typing furiously on his five-faced monster computer with that signature devilish smirk on his face. Those are intentional cyber attackers. These types of people deliberately try to do harm and are difficult to track since their motives could be anything from making money to causing chaos. Cyberattacks like this are one of the top concerns for businesses today.Unintentional Cyber Failure - This is a far bigger challenge in the digital world. In this type, a person is not exactly a cyber actor or is not intentionally trying to create a cyber problem. But by their virtue or actions, they create a cyber incident. This can have several ramifications in your facility. Cybersecurity is a two-fold problem - external and internal. External cybersecurity threats are ones that can be quite harmful because we can see them happening to other people or businesses. However, the internal threats - even if they're not malicious or intentional - are actually much worst and unfortunately, happen more often. Another problem with the cyber world is that the more we roll out digital capabilities into the industrial lands, the bigger playground we create for the attackers to play. Simply put, the more we digitize the world, industrial and otherwise, the larger the surface area we give hackers to attack. In other words, there are more opportunities for cyberattacks. There is a plethora of techniques the companies can follow to mitigate these cyber risks. According to Cann, A good one is Ethical Hacking. Ethical Hacking is simulating a cyber attack in order to test an organization's detection and recovery mechanisms. You would provide a malicious actor with a task or assignment, directed at revealing your company's weak points, allowing you to plug the holes in your digital security. A trusted friend can help you carry out this process by playing the role of the hacker. Cann also suggests that, at the design level, cyber thinking be put in from the beginning. It's like the old saying goes, "It's better to be safe than sorry." So, with this type of technique, you would bring in cyber experts during the designing process so they can help identify points of vulnerabilities. A professional requirements management tool, like Visure, is useful for risk management when it comes to cybersecurity. The tool would give you the right metrics needed to generate safety-based requirements during the design phase. What are the other challenges, apart from cybersecurity, in the digital innovative transition? One of the industry's primary concerns is that the general planning cycle takes a long time. For example, companies will construct something and it'll remain operational for two decades without requiring any modification. This lack of change creates big risks. Another risk area would be designing assets that are not resilient to climate challenges. The Japanese Nuclear Explosion, for instance. The risk here is that the power supply was significantly damaged by the reactor explosion. Considering the risks is essential not only for those in the digital world but all industries. Forming creative solutions to these problems is how we can gracefully adapt to change over time. Cann gave the example of a fighter jet to explain his theory. Imagine a fighter jet that hasn’t changed in 20 years – what happens then? No military pilot would want to fly it because he\/she would want the latest weaponry systems and radars. Therefore, we must keep that aircraft not only airworthy but also safe and productive with the latest technology over the years. Other industries tend to build things and then just leave them as-is. This isn't an effective way to deal with infrastructure, especially when it comes to planned obsolescence. We have to think differently about how we manage our resources if we want to overcome this challenge. Environmental Risks as an Industrial Challenge Environmental risks are a major industrial challenge due to their potential consequences and the difficulty of controlling them. Environmental risks can arise from natural causes, such as floods or earthquakes, but they can also be caused by human activities. Such risks include air, soil and water pollution; contamination of agricultural products; damage to fragile ecosystems and biodiversity loss; global climate change; and depletion of non-renewable resources that may lead to resource scarcity. As environmental issues increase in scale and complexity, companies must take measures to mitigate these risks in order to protect their investments and reputation. Cann begins by discussing ESG, which stands for Environment, Social, and Governance. The 'E' environment is more important than the other two topics combined. This environment includes aspects such as air pollution, water contamination, and land destruction. Also included are impacts on wildlife and other problems that arise from industrialism. All of these things must be considered when designing anything relating to the industry. Let's take oil and gas companies for instance. We are aware that oil and water have a well-known tendency not to mix, so oil companies often use water to transport oil underground. Water is also used in fracking, as well as in creating steam to heat oil reservoirs or extract oil. Finally, water is used to separate oil from Dromoland sandstone. Therefore, water is a large problem here. Not only is it expensive, but people are also quite sensitive to water because putting water underground can cause micro-tremors making it feel like an earthquake. So, you need to get the proper government permit, or else there will be chaos. Industrial Challenges and Requirements Management Requirements are key in any industrial asset development. They need to be specific and appropriately time-managed so that the design phase can flow smoothly. Without accurate requirements management, millions of dollars and countless hours could easily be wasted. Cann took the example of an Oil Company in Alberto. Somehow the facility forgot to provision their settling pond. What could forgetting something as basic as a settling pond be if not a breakdown in the requirements? It means that the requirements process was somewhere broken. Henceforth, requirements management and requirements tracing are absolutely vital. As the old saying goes, “Devil is in the details”, right? But what could be the reasons for such missing or breakdowns? And what could be the steps to avoid them? There is no specific reason for such issues. But the absence of an appropriate information planning infrastructure in the project where each of these requirements is developed, traced, and recorded can be an expensive mistake. Another potential cause for failures or missed opportunities could be poor organization. When an organization juggles multiple contractors, stakeholders, or engineering firms, each with its own methods, things can become incompatible and slip through the cracks. Even if a company Infrastructure is available to break requirements documents into more manageable tasks for different teams, it can still be daunting. This is because there are often tight deadlines and an overwhelming number of documents and teams. When all these factors come together, they create a significant challenge. The lack of investment is what hinders development and deemphasizes the importance of requirements. But there is no “cure-all” kind of solution for this issue. Though some may debate it, regulations play an important role. They develop a set of rules for industries that organizations must follow in order to get their assets approved. Cann took the example of a horrific rail disaster that happened a few years ago. An oil-transporting train from a western oil base to the Canadian east coast stopped for the night in a small town. Sometime during the night, the brakes of the rail slipped and the train went down the hill into the town. The speed caused it to jump off the tracks when it hit a bend in the river and then exploded. In that incident, more than 40 people lost their lives. Later, the government found out that the rails being used to transport oil were single-walled and thereby prohibited their use in the railway system. What are the Benefits of Industry Regulations? Implementing industry regulations has several benefits. The most important of these is safety. Regulations ensure that facilities are designed and operated in such a way that minimizes the risk of accidents or disasters. Ensuring that companies follow guidelines, also reduces the cost of failure and repairs due to negligence or ignorance on the part of operators. Furthermore, proper regulation can ensure efficient operation and reduce unnecessary waste by preventing companies from misusing resources or running inefficiently. Additionally, regulations provide an opportunity to keep track of operations and inspect them periodically for compliance with standards as well as identify any potential risks before they become major problems. Finally, regulatory processes create a uniform standard for all industries so that consumers know what to expect from their products and services. By having a better understanding of the importance of requirements management, organizations can avoid costly mistakes and ensure that their projects are completed on time and within budget. Regulations also help to keep companies safe, efficient, and compliant with industry standards. Finally, regulations provide consumers with uniform products or services that meet their expectations. All these benefits come from taking the process of managing requirements seriously in any project. Therefore it is important for businesses to prioritize this process and ensure they have the appropriate infrastructure in place to ensure success. Successful Vs Unsuccessful Projects: What sets them apart? The successful ones are hard to see as successful until they are known to be running for a while and meeting all their performance objectives. From the project sense, successful companies are the ones that meet the owners’ ultimate expectations sets like timely delivery, quality outcome, budget, and safety. In other words, A project is successful if it reaches its goals and benefits the client. Therefore, the success of any given project lies in its goals. To accurately measure a project's success, we must have well-defined objectives to compare against clear criteria that show whether these goals were met. Final Thoughts by Geoffrey Cann According to Cann, it is very important when dealing with things such as energy transition, decarbonization, and the expenses we put into new assets like gas plants, nuclear facilities, solar & wind\/other renewable resources, to build them better. A way to do that is using the new innovative tools in the market for stuff like tracing requirements all the way through the development cycle. Sophisticated requirements management is a useful solution to ensure that you don’t forget or miss anything only to find out things like “Ohh! We forgot the plumbing in the new home!”. Conclusion In conclusion, regulations are essential for the safety and efficient operation of any industry. They ensure that companies comply with standards, reduce risks, and provide consumers with uniform products or services. Furthermore, proper requirements management is essential to ensure a successful project outcome. Successful companies meet their performance objectives on time and within budget while unsuccessful ones fail to do so. Therefore it is important for businesses to prioritize these processes when dealing with different projects such as energy transition and decarbonization. Finally, digital innovation tools can help organizations manage requirements more effectively in order to avoid costly mistakes.