3 Pitfalls to Avoid When Your Project Portfolio is Growing

More work is great.

Provided, of course, that you have the resources you need to tackle a greater variety or volume of opportunities.

If not, then a larger workload can place your staff and organization under a lot of stress, and delays from overextension can lead to less satisfied clients. Good organizational tactics and tools can prevent these delays from occurring, and taking the time to plan efficient use of everyone’s time can prevent a lot of the stress that often comes with a new challenge.

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Does Your Company Have a System of Engagement?


Fieldwork industry organizations generally have a system of record in place: somewhere to store project information, data, and relevant files.  But what about the other side of the equation, when someone needs to pull information out and use it?

Making information available to internal teams can be a struggle on its own. But sharing information in a useful format becomes even more difficult when requests, such as those for regulatory compliance, land divestiture and contract work, come from external parties. Managers often resort to manual reporting and dissemination of data, which burns valuable hours that could be spent in more profitable ways. This process is frustrating for everyone involved, especially when a crucial piece of information gets lost or goes missing.    

To have value, information must be transparent, easily accessible and understood. Faster understanding means improvements across the board: managers can better plan and execute, executives have what they need to direct and clients gain confidence in the process. A System of Engagement (SoE) is designed for transparency and access; it connects people to the information they need for effective data-driven decision making.

The Importance of Visualization

Maps are uniquely able to convey complex information simply. That's why in Arkit we organize fieldwork visually using project maps. Rather than rows in a spreadsheet, Arkit users navigate to projects through a familiar map-based interface. It's easy for project stakeholders to find the information they need, when the need it, on-demand. Workflows are eased, hours are saved and frustrations reduced. In this way, transparency and access to information go hand-in-hand to drive growth.     

Evolution of Competitive Advantage

Forward-thinking companies are already realizing the advantages of implementing a system of engagement such as Project Relationship Management software.

For more information on how you can go beyond storage and cultivate engagement in your organization to get the most out of your data, visit


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Is Your Business Data Secure? Using Cloud Storage to Secure Your Data

Using Cloud Storage to Secure Your Data

There are few things more precious to a company than the contact lists, financial information and account history which comprise its success. However, given the importance of this information – and keeping it out of the wrong hands – it makes it all the more necessary for it to be protected and secured in the event of server issues, natural disasters and other types of data loss. Many businesses are shifting away from a paper-bound system, and with 82% of companies surveyed by NSK Inc experiencing money savings after making the switch, there’s sure to be many more that make the move. Whether a business owner or an interested party, here are the important details about this type of storage and how Arkit may be able to change the traditional way of dealing with data.

The Scoop On Cloud Storage?

The concept of the Cloud may be something that many people use each day, whether with their iPad or personal laptop, but it’s easy to have a sense of what the cloud does without knowing what exactly it is. Whether you’re photo-sharing with users all over the world or propping up the backbone of your company, the cloud is an easy-access and instant tool that provides information which is actually stored on a remote server, not on a personal device or on-site at a business location. While this information can be accessed via the Internet, the information and system maintenance is actually looked after by the provider of the cloud service. As Arkit utilizes Amazon Web Services (AWS) for its cloud storage, the hardware required for cloud storage is owned, maintained and monitored by AWS.

The Benefits of Cloud Storage

According to the research and advisory firm, Gartner, by the end of 2016 more than 50% of the world’s Global 1000 companies will be storing their sensitive company data in the cloud, which means this type of storage is gaining prominence for businesses that want to outsource their data management services. With the 24 hours monitoring and accessibility of cloud storage through Arkit, it should be no surprise that the benefits of the cloud are quickly attracting businesses from all over the world at an accelerating pace.

A Storage Size Specific to Your Business

The costs of having to manage your own data and provide your own services can add up very quickly, and the financial toll of this can be significant if your company either has too little storage space or requires too much. One of the benefits of cloud storage with is that, instead of having to pay for goods that you will not be able to use entirely, cloud storage will enable you to pay for – and access – exactly the amount of storage your business requires.

A Lower-Cost Storage Solution

Another benefit associated with cloud storage is that many different customers will be using the service provider you use, which means that there will be a storage cost of about 3 cents per gigabyte in order for your provider to take care of your data. While paying for your own data management would ordinarily be a cost your business has to shoulder on its own, utilizing a service like Arkit will automatically achieve a lower overall cost.

In The Event of Emergency

There was once a time where a paper copy was the most reliable means of managing important business documents, but when it comes to a disaster – like an earthquake, fire or flood – paper is highly unreliable. Instead of having to worry about major data losses in the event of an unpredictable event, cloud storage easily ensures that you or your company will have your information reliably backed up.

The Latest and Greatest in IT

Instead of having to invest in upgrading your resources consistently, utilizing the cloud will enable your business to use the most up-to-date resources without having to worry about nurturing development in your office. This will not only improve your IT cost; it will mean that the resources used by your business are consistently up-to-date. According to Seagate Technology, more than 60 percent of businesses currently utilize the cloud for performing IT related operations.

Cloud Storage with Amazon Web Services

Arkit utilizes AWS which offers a variety of different services in 12 regions around the world. With everything from storage to networking to analytics to application services, data that AWS is responsible for is stored in their highly secured data center, and is readily accessible as it’s needed.  AWS ensures there is encryption in transit with TLS across all of their services and network firewalls are built into Amazon VPC.

Features of Amazon Web Services

Many of AWS’s services come with a service level agreement (SLA), and these services offer three copies of the data that is included with the service, ensuring the safety and security of data you store. AWS guarantees 99.95% uptime for all of your storage, which means that the approximate downtime you will experience per month is equivalent to 21.56 minutes. According to RightScale, 57 percent of their survey respondents in 2015 were running application in AWS, making their cloud storage service the most popular out there.

SSL Encryption & BCrypt Authentication

You can use SSL (Secure Sockets Layers) to encrypt a connection in an isolated database environment that runs in the cloud, and this can be implemented using a variety of different applications like Oracle, Aurora and MySQL. AWS also features Bcrypt authentication, which will provide only a series of hashed passwords in the event that data has been compromised. While this can be beneficial, there are some ways that these hashed passwords can be determined using different hacking strategies. Algorithms like Bcrypt, provided by AWS, ensure that password data is quite resistant to brute force attacks from outside sources.

With the gradual evolution over to a paperless system, there are still many security concerns that surround cloud storage for many organizations. However, with the growing adaptation to this type of storage, more businesses are choosing to adopt this method of data management all the time. With so much emphasis on this type of storage and many security developments to back it up, this solution to storage that can be provided through Arkit is sure to widen its influence and use in the next few years.

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Oil & Gas in 2016: The 3 Energy Trends to Watch

Daniel Walsh Energy • Business • 5 minute read

The new year has begun, and with it, an opportunity to think about where the oil and gas industry is today and where it is heading in 2016.

A few months ago we covered some of the lessons the oil and gas industry learned in 2015. One of the takeaways was the sharp fall in commodity prices, the result of a global supply glut and an economic downturn. This perfect storm of economic conditions forced companies to become increasingly lean, changed the geopolitical landscape, and resulted in the development of increasingly sophisticated tools for maximizing efficiency.

It is likely that many of these trends will continue through 2016, with three big stories to keep an eye on in the coming year.

Investing in Efficiency

2015 saw a 20% drop in capital investments by oil companies – the largest in 30 years. This decline is likely to continue into 2016. We’ll likely see short-term cost-cutting measures give way to structural changes as producers fight to remain competitive.

Although many such changes will involve cancelling or scaling back projects, some will be the result of new investments aimed at increasing efficiency.

Modularization - the development of a fleet of standardized, mobile, and versatile equipment units - is one area where research and development is going to lead to lower prices. A recent study of modularization found that most companies could achieve cost savings of up to 15%.

Of course, one of the most important investments companies can make is in hiring and retaining the best available human resources. In addition to reducing mistakes and maximizing worker efficiency, investing in a strong employee pool will ensure companies are well positioned to grow when prices eventually rise.

The takeaway here is that, despite the upfront costs, making smart investments will be the key to staying lean.

Megaprojects: Here to Stay?

As commodity prices fall, low-margin projects are the first to be scrapped, downsized, or delayed. At particular risk in 2016 are so-called “megaprojects” – projects that require more than $1 billion in capital investment. These projects, which access non-traditional resources using complex technology, accounted for around 40% of the capital expenditures of the world’s largest oil companies in 2014.

Megaprojects are exciting because they represent the cutting edge of oil and gas technology. Unfortunately, glamor doesn’t usually equal good business. In 2016, it’s likely that many of these projects – which include arctic exploration, deepwater exploration, and the construction of floating liquid natural gas (LNG) facilities – will be downsized or put on hold.

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One area where the cutbacks in capital expenditures are likely to be particularly pronounced is in the LNG market. LNG megaprojects include the construction of natural gas terminals and specialized ships capable of handling the volatile substance. At the start of 2014, LNG looked like a promising growth market. Since that time, however, prices have fallen from $20/ MMBtu to $7.20 / MMBtu in December. Given the continued fall in natural gas prices and weak demand in Asia, we should expect to see the least profitable LNG projects scrapped this coming year.

Shifting Geopolitics

On the geopolitical front, 2016 is likely to see a continued rise of production in North America, especially in light of recent international events.

In Mexico, the government recently voted to open up the oil market, allowing private companies to compete with Pemex, Mexico’s national oil company. Chevron, Exxon, and BHP Billiton have already expressed interest in Mexico, and its likely production will increase over the next few years.

In the US, Congress has moved closer to eliminating the oil export ban, which would allow producers to sell unrefined petroleum to foreign countries. Since US production costs from unconventional plays are quite low, this would likely lead to a fall in global prices while increasing overall production in the US.

As a result of these two major policy changes and the political desirability of energy independence, trade within the boundaries of North America is likely to increase. Since demand is less than production in North America, we should also see increasing exports outside of North America. Ultimately, North America may come to replace OPEC as the dominant force in the international market.

If you’re interested in a more in-depth assessment of what we should expect for 2016, I recommend this report, published by Deloitte.

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