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Information Strategy Drives Safe and Efficient Operations

Energy Industry | United States | UK

A fter decades of haphazard information management practices and growth by acquisition, the downstream division of this integrated energy company needed a fresh evaluation of its information management strategy and portfolio, and a plan to address the findings. Access Sciences worked with client executive leadership and subject matter experts (SMEs) to develop an Information Management Strategy and Roadmap for Downstream Operations that encompassed the client’s three major plants in the U.S. and Europe, in conjunction with divisional management at their headquarters.


Lack of an information management strategy inhibited safe and efficient plant operations


A coherent Information Management Strategy supported by a consistent information architecture


Client can now manage the information and applications needed to operate its refineries at both the plant and division level, while lowering risk and enhancing regulatory compliance

  • Advisory Services
  • Application Decommissioning
  • Communication Strategy
  • Current State Analysis
  • Strategic Planning
  • Systems Enablement
  • Systems Integration
  • Technology Procurement


The Access Sciences team began by assessing the current state of information management and technology at each plant, including practices/ policies/governance, application portfolios, application architectures, communications networks, physical and electronically stored information repositories, and disaster recovery capabilities and risks. Based on assessment findings, our team identified gaps and inefficiencies in information management at both the plant and division level, and developed an integrated strategy and roadmap for improvements to address these issues.

As a complement to the strategy development effort, our team also worked with the client’s downstream operations management team and plant operations SMEs to assess and select a common Plant Information Management System (PIMS) for all three refineries. As part of this effort, Access Sciences assembled requirements and facilitated the vendor selection process.


A rapidly growing regulatory environment drove the need for a strategy for managing electronic and corresponding hard copy documentation within the plants. To support defensible information management practices, our team designed and developed records retention policies and schedules, including legal research in multiple U.S. and European jurisdictions. Some of the issues found included:

  •  High risk of information loss in a disaster scenario.
  • Unnecessarily high off-site storage costs.
  • Lack of guidelines for retention and disposition to support compliance with legal requirements.

Identifying and documenting requirements for an enterprise content management (ECM) solution for downstream operations was critical in order to mitigate these issues and to ensure regulatory compliance. Our team worked with the client to select the most appropriate ECM system, then designed and developed taxonomy, metadata and security models for use in its deployment. These models were built to meet the need for employees to create, file, and retrieve their information in a way that is familiar to them and efficient for their use, and to support regulatory compliance.


To address technology challenges, the Access Sciences team worked with the client to design a consistent information architecture centered around:

  • A common application portfolio focused on standardized operations across all three plants.
  • An ECM solution for managing “unstructured” content that provided a secure, accessible platform to deploy the enterprise taxonomy and retention schedule.
  • A Downstream Information Portal that provided for centralized, role-based access to applications and data from systems across the Downstream Division. This unified portal was needed to aggregate and combine information from multiple, disparate systems, and provide a unified view into the enterprise.


As a result of this effort, the client gained a strategic path forward for managing the information and applications needed to efficiently and safely operate its refineries, at the unit, refinery, and division levels, while lowering risk and enhancing regulatory compliance.

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