Energy and Utilities

Powering Energy and Utilities Now and in the Future

Energy and utility companies continue to face challenging issues at the enterprise level as well as within functional groups or divisions. More so than any other industry, many energy and utility companies must address requirements from multiple stakeholders, the changing economic climate, regulatory requirements, environmental issues, unanticipated process failures, aging baby boomers, and even to some extent public opinion.

Concept Searching’s Smart Content Framework™product platforms, and intelligent metadata enabled solutions address and solve content management and information governance with one set of technologies. The products have been deployed within energy and utility companies to address a wide range of enterprise and process challenges including: exploration; upstream technical functions, including reservoir development and subsurface; high performance computing (HPC);  group-wide safety & operations risk; integrated supply and trading (IST); refining and marketing; upstream global operations (GOO); upstream global wells (GWO); global refinery operations; global platform operations; global knowledge operations; and health and safety.

Regardless of the specific issues, all energy and utility clients share the same common goal – to improve access and utilization of unstructured and semi-structured content to enhance business outcomes. What are they trying to achieve? Better enterprise search, information lifecycle management, records management, security violations identification, intelligent migration, management of the costs of eDiscovery and litigation support, text analytics, and knowledge capture and dissemination.

How is this accomplished?
The Concept Searching product platforms can deliver all of the above through the use of one set of technologies including:

The still unique technology transparently identifies the meaning of ‘content in context’ enabling the use of rich semantic metadata to be automatically generated, without end user intervention, auto-classified, and managed through highly sophisticated and interactive taxonomy tools.

What are some of the benefits our energy and utility clients have achieved?

Clients such as BP, BHP Billiton, California Independent System Operator, Baker Hughes, Strike LLC, Talisman Energy, Midwest Independent System Operator, and Talisman Energy have implemented the platforms to achieve one or more of the following:

  • Elimination of information complexity and improved utilization and access to enterprise information
  • Information transparency and immediate and actionable visibility of relevant content
  • Transformation of  information to knowledge enabling the capture of knowledge from retiring baby boomers
  • Proactive identification of precise and relevant information, reducing costs associated with eDiscovery and litigation support
  • Elimination of manual tagging and end user intervention
  • Secure access and distribution of information to diverse groups needing information on demand including systems, employees, suppliers, partners, and third parties
  • Common vocabulary and normalization of organizational nomenclature eliminating language barriers and inconsistencies of terminology within the organization
  • Automatic records declaration and protection from data breaches

Smart Content Framework™

Information governance is often viewed as a project that is pushed to the lower level of the value chain, where organizations focus on solving specific business process challenges on an individual basis. Information governance is the fundamental component to manage a host of content management challenges at the enterprise level and provides the framework for long term improvement of organizational performance and risk reduction. Encompassing and addressing the various issues in the energy and utility sector, information governance can become the center cog in the wheel that addresses multiple challenges and reduces risk at the enterprise level.

The biggest problem for any organization is that unstructured information is growing at an unprecedented rate. Coupled with increasing regulatory requirements, content security, and compliance issues, unstructured information is the weak link in any information governance strategy if it is not effectively managed from inception to disposition.

The umbrella term focuses on solving problems from an enterprise level to:

  • Quickly address and implement changes to regulatory requirements and mandates
  • Reduce the costs, time, and resources associated with eDiscovery and litigation
  • Proactively address potential process failures before they occur or after the fact to more quickly access the root cause to enable rapid resolution
  • Protecting organizations from potential security or privacy exposures reducing the impact of eDiscovery, litigation, or loss of brand
  • Capture best practices, intellectual assets, and expertise, to develop a knowledge repository to improve corporate memory

Concept Searching’s Smart Content Framework™ is a combination of technology and organizational input that assists in defining the major risk factors relating to the tactical changes needed in business processes. The building blocks of the Smart Content Framework™ include:

    • Metadata – the development of an enterprise metadata repository that is flexible, to address multiple business challenges with one set of technologies, providing the ability to apply policy across diverse business groups, repositories, and applications
    • Insight – improves any interactive metadata application such as search, eDiscovery, litigation support, text analytics, social tagging, and collaboration, and is used as the data to analyze and quantify risk
    • Risk – defined by staff to determine organizational risk factors, and effectively identify and validate specific risks to analyze cost versus benefit
    • Policy – defined by the organization to implement and enforce policy based on the risk factors
    • Action – fulfills the organizational policies, enforceable and adaptable by end users, and can be quantifiable and measureable

The end result is the ability to deploy intelligent metadata enabled solutions that share the same framework for information governance. Instead of reinventing the wheel for each challenge, with the framework in place, organizations can improve agility and business results more quickly and with less effort.

Industry Challenges

From an enterprise view, energy and utility companies share common challenges, although each can be unique in nature. Specific to the industry, some challenges are outside the control of the organization. Yet dealing with them successfully is key to organizational profitability. To address these challenges the organization itself must proactively envision innovative ways to increase preparedness, and solve the challenges within its control. This needs to be done at the tactical, business process level through a combination of people and technologies. At the heart of many of these challenges is the inability to manage unstructured and semi-structured content in a manner that facilitates, if not solves search challenges including eDiscovery and litigation support, protection of confidential information, records management, migration, text analytics, collaboration, and social content.

What are the challenges at a business operational level?
To solve the big picture challenges, it comes down to executing day-to-day tasks through a combination of people and technology. When addressing the big picture challenges, organizations must solve the basic problems that support the overall objectives of the organization.

The fundamental technology problems that can improve the performance of the organization as a whole include:

  • Search, eDiscovery, and FOIA – the inability to identify and retrieve content, based on precise relevance and provide a single integrated view of content regardless of where it resides, reducing the costs associated with eDiscovery and litigation support
  • Records Management – the inability to accommodate the human factor, typically responsible for tagging and processing documents of record
  • Security – the inability to define vocabulary and descriptors used for the real-time identification of confidential or data privacy information, remove it from unauthorized access, and prevent portability of the content
  • Migration – inability to migrate content based on semantic metadata tagging to simplify pre-migration activities and improve the organization of content post-migration
  • Text Analytics – inability to reduce the quantity of information to be analyzed, cleanse the content, and find the precise information needed to make informed decisions and gain insight into content
  • Collaboration – inability to communicate and collaborate with diverse stakeholders to ensure all participants have access to the same, up-to-date information delivered based on their authorized access to the content
  • Social Content – inability to provide structure to enterprise social content applications that drive productivity and encourage business user participation to deliver a ROI and capture knowledge assets from a retiring workforce

At the crux of all these challenges is metadata. In alignment with the Smart Content Framework™ intelligent metadata enabled solutions can only be achieved through the automatic generation of multi-term metadata, are specific to the various vocabularies and nomenclature of the organization, and serves as the foundation for any application that requires metadata. The enterprise metadata framework is then used to auto-classify content, and manage it through interactive, yet highly sophisticated, and industry unique taxonomy tools.


Concept Searching technology platforms are proving to be the solution of choice for energy and utility companies. Not restricted to just solving search challenges, the products reach far beyond to improve any application that requires the use of metadata and establishes the framework for information governance.

To solve the over-arching and often global challenges, changes are needed at the tactical level using technology, people, and business processes to meet global objectives, reduce risks and costs, and improve business performance.

Below are the fundamental issues followed by information on how our energy and utility clients were able to address their challenges.

Download our Challenges and Solutions version of our mini case studies


Enterprise search is an infrastructure component and the impact of poor search reaches far beyond the retrieval of information. Impacting eDiscovery and litigation support, as well as unauthorized access to confidential information, inaccurate results can increase costs as well as organizational risk. A core component in all Concept Searching platforms is the ability to automatically generate compound term metadata, eliminating end user tagging. Using multi-term metadata that represenent a concept, identifying relevant content during a search effectively removes ambiguity and enables the retrieval of information based on the concepts within, increasing both precision and recall.

Case Study

Improving Search on a Corporate Website and Intranet
Finding one product to provide an effective search experience for both a website and intranet can be a challenge. A nonprofit public benefit corporation operating in one of the largest states in the US found the solution in conceptClassifier for SharePoint. In the process of rolling out SharePoint 2010 and FAST search, it wanted the missing piece to provide automatic semantic metadata generation, auto-classification, and an integrated taxonomy solution leveraging the SharePoint Term Store. Concept Searching offered the only option that provided all the requisite features. With the ability to feed the multi-term metadata to the FAST search engine index, concept based searching was achieved. In addition, the solution provided one set of technologies to easily manage and improve access to information on both the corporate website and intranet.

Records Management

Regardless of whether you are using the SharePoint Records Center, or a third party application, records management and the lifecycle of documents of record are typically challenges, in any industry, let alone energy and utilities. The biggest stumbling block has always been end user tagging. With complex file plans, and the fact that human tagging is often haphazard at best, organizations can often unwittingly fall into the trap of non-compliance. The Concept Searching platforms, are being used to automatically identify documents of record, auto-classify the content to a taxonomy that mirrors the file plan and route directly to the records management application.

Case Study

Eliminating End User Tagging in Records Management
A leading global resources company delivers value through the discovery, acquisition, development and marketing of natural resources. With over 100,000 employees, tagging documents of record manually was a continual challenge, error prone, and highly unproductive. Using the SharePoint 2010 Records Center, it deployed conceptClassifier for SharePoint to automate the process of applying metadata for document retention codes, and maintaining GUIDs for synchronization with content inside the SharePoint Records Center Library. Now, each document is automatically tagged with a retention code when it is uploaded. The synchronization of native GUIDs with other applications within the enterprise infrastructure provides additional value.


Sensitive, confidential, and data privacy information exists in documents, scanned items, faxed items, emails, and could be in any unstructured or semi-structured content. The Concept Searching platforms provide the ability to automatically identify, secure, and prohibit portability of organizationally defined vocabulary and descriptors. Since the metadata generation is not restricted to keywords, it is highly accurate in identifying potential security exposures, in real-time, as content is ingested or created and then routed to a secure repository for disposition. Full support for standard descriptors is included, additional value is provided by the ability for the organization, or functional group to define confidential information that falls outside of standard descriptors.

Case Study

Using conceptClassifier for SharePoint to Eliminate Data Exposures
A global upstream oil and gas company facing unstructured content management challenges deployed conceptClassifier for SharePoint, to provide the enterprise infrastructure to support information governance initiatives in SharePoint and automate processes and policies. The information governance initiative was designed to save money, reduce corporate risk, and create value for stakeholders. Although the applications were wide-reaching they included records management, compliance, search, identification and protection of confidential data assets, and migration from Hummingbird and SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2010. The company also took advantage of the ability to identify potential security exposures. This secured confidential content assets, averting a data exposure, breach, and improved compliance.


To migrate document collections effectively, the text content of each document needs to be searched to determine its value. This cannot be done manually, as the volume is too high, and the consistency of human review and decision making is unreliable as well as costly. Using Concept Searching platforms, an intelligent approach to migration can be achieved. As content is migrated it is analyzed for organizationally defined descriptors and vocabularies, which will automatically classify the content to taxonomies, or optionally the SharePoint Term Store, and automatically apply organizationally defined workflows to process the content to the appropriate repository for review and disposition.

Case Study

Migrating from Autonomy
A top-tier oil field operations company’s first project was deploying conceptClassifier for SharePoint and conceptTaxonomyWorkflow to improve the delivery of precise and relevant content to maximize the use of reservoirs. The solution supports over 58,000 employees across 80 countries. However, before they could improve search, they needed to migrate from Autonomy. Using conceptClassifier for SharePoint made it possible to intelligently migrate content to be accessed by SharePoint 2010 and FAST search.

Text Analytics

The ability to aggregate very precise information from diverse sources and then analyze them can be invaluable in decision making and cost reduction. Data is machine driven, whereas unstructured content is driven by people, which makes the nuances, insights, relationships of disparate content, sentiment, and knowledge capital much more difficult to extract. Using Concept Searching products before analysis, the quantity of content can be reduced through an initial cleansing. Once the ‘noise’ has been eliminated, the ability to analyze the content at a very granular level produces actionable results that can be used to solve problems, reduce costs, and improve decision making.

Case Study

Using Text Analytics for 5,000 Research Personnel – Saving Millions in Unproductive Drilling Projects
A multi-national oil and gas company is a long-term client of Concept Searching. One of its projects was to deploy a high-quality search solution across technical research data, to be used by over 5,000 geophysicists globally. The objective was to improve geological decision making, through the ability to identify accurate, relevant and related content from a large corpus of highly technical and specialized information, which resulted in millions in cost reductions. The solution included the implementation of conceptClassifier for SharePoint, to provide the underlying semantic and geo-tagging framework to improve FAST search in a SharePoint 2010 environment. They were able to then use the core technologies to extract highly specific and relevant information from a large corpus of documents for analysis and improved decision making.

Collaboration, Social Content, and Knowledge Capture

With the challenge of retiring baby boomers the need to retain their experience and expertise should be proactively captured as intellectual assets. Using social and collaboration tools enables a diverse workforce to be united, while capturing best practices and knowledge, to reduce risk and become part of corporate memory for future access. Organizations need to capture the existing knowledge, and knowledge workers need to be able to access these intellectual assets to collaborate globally with diverse stakeholders, find organizational resources, identify experts, and leverage past business insight to make informed decisions. Concept Searching platforms deliver the automatic culling of information to meet the requirements of the individual business users through the delivery of relevant content in the right context, as well as to the right people at the right time. This is can be an extremely useful tool within the energy sector facing a surge of retiring baby boomers to transfer knowledge and expertise.

Case Study

Solving Collaboration Challenges
An early stage mining company of rare earths needed an infrastructure technology that would support its SharePoint 2010 knowledge and information portal. conceptClassifier for SharePoint was able to aggregate diverse repositories of information, provide a hierarchical search interface and support multiple search methods. The end result is consistent understanding of the value and context of information. This provides confident cross-organizational decision support capability, shared knowledge, and the enterprise-wide availability of knowledge, to increase organizational performance.

Why Metadata Matters to You


The CIO or CTO in any industry faces both strategic and tactical challenges. In the public sector the responsibilities are broad and challenging. The strategic challenges must be carefully addressed with a focus on the impact at a tactical level. Budgetary constraints can change the priorities and force a ‘pick and choose’ philosophy to improve performance. One of the key differentiators in the Concept Searching platforms is the re-usability of the core technologies to solve multiple content management and business process challenges. This provides a cost benefit in terms of the elimination of separate solutions to address key application challenges, a reduction in staff to implement and maintain the applications, and transparent usability from the end user perspective. The flexibilty of the intelligent metadata enabled solutions can address search, eDiscovery, records management, eliminate data privacy and data breaches, provide intelligent migration, social media applications, text analytics capabilities, and over all content management. The ability to leverage the existing infrastructure to improve these challenges assists the CIO or CTO in addressing multiple issues. An additional key component in the Concept Searching platforms is the ability to deploy in an on-premise environment, cloud, or hybrid environment.

Information Technology Professionals

Regardless of whether you are a SharePoint Administrator, or the CTO, Concept Searching technologies make your management of metadata easy. Integrated natively with the SharePoint Term Store, Concept Searching platforms remove the manual processes of metadata management, eliminates end user adoption issues, and aligns IT with business objectives. Installed quickly and easily, means you can start classifying content in a matter of hours. Without a taxonomy expert on staff, the interactive, powerful, yet easy-to-use taxonomy tools can be used by business or IT professionals. Organizations can build an enterprise metadata repository and provide the re-usable technology to improve any application that requires the use of metadata.

Records Managers

In records management eliminating end user tagging, automatic application of content types, and routing of the document of record to the records management application reduces organizational risk, and improves information lifecycle management. Concept Searching product platforms eliminate end user tagging and automates document workflow for storage, preservation, access, usage controls, and automatically enforces protection of the records integrity throughout the individual document lifecycle eliminating many of the fundamental obstacles faced by records professionals on a day-to-day basis.

Legal and H/R Professionals

Energy and utility companies are continually faced with eDiscovery and litigation challenges. H/R must also ensure that the organization protects the privacy of all staff and eliminates any exposure that increases the risk of potential litigation or a data breach. Concept Searching platforms can be integrated with any eDiscovery or litigation application, or as a stand-alone technology, to retrieve highly granular content pertinent to the objective. Since information is retrieved by identifying concepts the legal professional can eliminate complex queries and through vocabulary normalization, ambiguities are eliminated and related content is identified even though the specific vocabulary wasn’t specified in the query. The H/R professional can continually monitor and proactively address any violation involving PII, PHI, as well as safety compliance issues.

Compliance Professionals

Energy organizations often cross global boundaries, and additional security and compliance mandates are critical to the process of managing the compliance challenges associated with unstructured information. The drain on resources and time needed to stay on top changing mandates, as well as multinational content asset protection is enormous. The value of the Concept Searching platforms is the ability to rapidly develop information governance and compliance rules that can immediately identify any compliance violations at the time of content creation or ingestion. Violations can then be flagged and automatically routed to a repository for disposition.

Security Professionals

According to IDC, less than 50% of oil and gas companies have a documented and approved information security strategy. This makes organizations highly vulnerable to internal and external data privacy exposures and breaches, where repercussions can be costly and damage the organizational brand. In fact, organizations are now being held legally liable for personal social media postings, if they originated from within the organization. The value of the Concept Searching platforms is the ability for the organization to define what is actually confidential information and should be protected, either internally and/or externally. Standard descriptors such as social security numbers, are included in the base product. The value achieved is that content containing the vocabulary or descriptors is automatically flagged at creation or ingestion and routed to a secure repository, made unavailable during the search process by unauthorized users, and protected against portability.

Business Analysts

Business analysts include professionals who need to analyze information proactively to reduce costs and risks or to aid in the determination of unexpected process failures. A good example is our client case study with 5,000 geophysicists whose objective was improving geological decision making. Because of the granular concept based search capabilities, access to highly relevant information from diverse repositories can be aggregated for analysis and used to improve decision making and reduce risk and costs. From a text analytics perspective, once the objectives of the project have been defined, the professionals can initially cleanse the content removing duplicates, content that could and should be deleted, and generally narrowing the content boundaries to make the data to be analyzed more contained. During the analysis process, information from diverse repositories can be aggregated and concept based search ensures the information retrieved is relevant.

Safety and Operations Risk Managers

With staff that spans the boardroom to the rigs, safety and operations risk failures can have a catastrophic impact on energy and utility companies. At the lowest level is the assurance that country specific mandates are being adhered to and maintained. At the most critical level is the safety of personnel and the ability to proactively identify events that could result in harm or even death. Concept Searching platforms provide the ability to develop the business rules in a taxonomy that can automatically identify the descriptors and vocabulary that apply to safety and operations risk. The content can be automatically processed as a safety record, or to highlight changes or to identify high level risks that pose safety violations that are unique to the organization.

Knowledge, Collaboration, Social Content Managers and Professionals

With the impending retirement of baby boomers, their knowledge and expertise needs to be captured for re-use as well as historical memory to develop a referenceable knowledge base. The ability to share information via collaboration across global locations in real time reduces the possibility of error, reduces redundancy in emails, and locates the most current documentation. Effective collaboration and knowledge capture can also achieve benefits to an organization in applications such as project management, awareness of organizational knowledge, employee induction and training, expertise location, communities of interest, collective intelligence, and innovation management. The Concept Searching technologies provide insight into content; grouping similar users, concepts, and content together; identifying people with expertise, and knowledge or interest in a topic. The end result is consistent understanding of the value and context of information. They also provide confident cross-organizational decision support capability, shared knowledge, and the enterprise-wide availability of knowledge, to increase organizational performance.