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Simpler Oil & Gas IT Requires a Unified Approach

With years of oil and gas experience and a solid relationship with Microsoft’s energy industry team, we were in a unique position to launch the Microsoft Upstream Reference Architecture (MURA) Initiative in 2010.

MURA The Story

More complex reservoirs can create data management headaches in today’s oil and gas environment. An overabundance of upstream data, outdated, poorly integrated IT infrastructures, and fragmented workflows and bottlenecks make it difficult for upstream experts to execute their strategies. As a result, there is a focus on convergence and simplification of upstream industry solutions. Microsoft addressed this shift by leading an IT initiative with 30 of its oil and gas industry partners and four customers called the MURA Initiative.

How We Told the Story

We served a pivotal role in supporting communications within the initiative and to the upstream oil and gas industry. Our work began in March 2010 as the Microsoft Worldwide Oil & Gas team met with trade journalists in a series of pre-briefings at CERAWeek in Houston. The MURA Initiative was later rolled out publicly at the European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers (EAGE) annual conference three months later. Media briefings and press material for both events were driven collaboratively with Microsoft’s partners, who served as members of the initiative. It was clear that, although Microsoft was driving the collaboration, progress to create the IT reference architecture would involve all participants and should be communicated as a group. As a result, several media and marketing opportunities became possible including jointly written white papers and bylined articles, speaking opportunities at user events, and consistent messaging across participant press releases and social media channels.

In Sept. 2010 Microsoft and its partner Accenture sponsored an oil and gas industry study to document the information deluge prevalent in upstream operations, as well as the IT workflow challenges the MURA Initiative sought to address. The findings gave credence to the need for a more unified IT reference architecture. We supplemented the survey news with updates on the Initiative’s progress including new participants, solution demonstrations and new white papers.

We continued to support momentum in the MURA Initiative by communicating key milestones to all stakeholders, including:

Technical white papers and demo videos about declarative integration and complex event processing, vital for integrated operations in the upstream environment

Partner support at Microsoft’s Global Energy Forum and SPE Digital Energy Conference where MURA participants exhibited, sponsored MURA-breakout sessions and shared news. We supported monthly MURA meetings by providing updates to participants and the Advisory Board.

Media and analyst briefings to share key updates and secure opportunities to place bylined articles and expert quotes.

Current and fresh messaging communicated at industry and partner events, including a MURA workshop at the OSIsoft Users Conference 2011.

The Result

The MURA Initiative remained a strong focus for Microsoft’s Oil & Gas Industry group and for its partners long after its 2010 launch. All top oil and gas trade publications – in the U.S. and abroad – have written about the MURA Initiative, its updates and the industry study. We garnered references in support of MURA and encouraged third-party press releases from Microsoft partners.