Sword’s foundation for energy services growth

Sword IT Solutions has embarked on an exciting new chapter with the creation of the Sword Energy Sector. This approach underlines the commitment to placing the needs of energy industry customers at the heart of the organisation, by bringing together Sword’s full breadth of domain experience, digital enablement, and managed service excellence. Building an Energy Sector is a natural next step for this business technology and data company, which has doubled in size over the last 5 years and has the ambition to double again by 2025.

Despite the past 12 months being recognised as the most challenging in recent memory, Sword has created 50 new roles in Energy while protecting existing jobs. Sword’s goal is to create at least 250 more positions within the Energy Sector in the next 3 years with continued investment in new talent, training, and skills development.

Sword’s Energy Sector has over 350 employees in locations across the UK, Europe, Asia Pacific, and North America. This global structure enables Sword to support customers of all sizes, maturity, and location, ranging from international blue-chip companies to local independents. Sword places critical importance on partnering with customers as ‘Trusted Advisors’ and applying an in-depth understanding of business needs. In doing so, Sword draws on extensive consulting and technical expertise to create a platform for future operations and innovation by delivering Digital, Data and Infrastructure Services.

Phil Brading, Sword Energy Sector Director, explains:

“We are shaping our business to make sure we are best placed to support the evolving needs of the energy industry. It’s important that we integrate our data and technology expertise from across the asset lifecycle to support our customers’ digital strategies and drive greater value. Our success is built upon listening to and working with our customers, and that ethos remains as fundamental as ever.”

Sword is delighted to announce the appointment of Helen Ratcliffe in the role of Technology Consulting Lead for the Energy Sector. Helen will be helping to build the next phase of Sword’s digital technology strategy to best meet customer demand for the next generation of specialist advice, projects and services.

Helen has over 30 years of experience in the Energy industry, predominantly in Upstream Oil & Gas. She has a great track record of delivering technology-enabled, business transformation programmes that include Mobility, Big Data, Digital Oilfield, Integrated Operations, and Organisational Change Management.

Helen Ratcliffe, Technology Consulting Lead, said:

“I am excited to join Sword as we embark on the 2025 strategy. Each individual part of the Sword Group has been successful in it’s own right, but I believe the Energy Sector will be greater than the sum of its parts. I am keen to work with our existing clients and bring in new ones with whom we can partner to drive positive business outcomes for each.”

The focus from Phil, Helen, and the wider Sword leadership team, will be to expand upon Sword’s foundations to develop flexible new services that address the challenges the industry is facing. This means applying a data-driven approach that promotes the adoption of best practice, efficiency and new insight.

About Sword Energy

Sword delivers practical business support to our customers in Energy. Spanning Oil & Gas, the Energy Transition, and Renewables, we provide day to day operational support, digital solution deployment, transition projects, and technical consultancy. Our expertise runs from IT, business technology, and infrastructure, to subsurface, production, engineering and corporate data and information.

Sword IT Solutions is part of the international Sword Group, which, with over 2,000 domain experts, is active in more than 50 counties and specialises in software and services across a range of industries.

Today we’re shining the spotlight on recently appointed, Sector Technology Consulting Lead, Helen Ratcliffe who makes up an integral part of our Energy Sector leadership team.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey before joining Sword?

I have been really privileged in my career to work with some of the world’s largest Energy companies, IOCs, NOCs and some clients in the supply chain as well. I have experience in Pharmaceuticals and have provided services to a very large busy airport. My employers have ranged from large technology focused systems integrators to boutique consultancies. For the past 20 years I have focussed on Consulting; this has provided me the privilege of seeing many different organisations from the inside, helping me experience a wide view of their businesses. I have put my effort into a range of technical and business focussed initiatives, always with business outcomes for the client at the forefront.

Looking forward to the rest of this year, what big issues do you expect to help our customers address?

Digitalisation is on everyone’s mind, some organisations are advanced and have a great track record already, others are just embarking on the journey. Bringing together strong consultative skills, the fundamentals of data and information, deep domain and experience, I think we can help move the oil and gas industry forward.

Why did you choose to progress your career with Sword?

Sword have a great set of capabilities, skills and a strong track record over many years in Oil & Gas as well as Utilities and Public Sector.  Why wouldn’t I want to work with a company that couples that with a great growth record and values that I really believe in. Sword really care about client’s businesses, ensuring that our highly valued employees all contribute towards keeping things simple and doing the right thing by our customers.

You have joined Sword at an exciting time for the business, what services and specialties do Sword provide in your region to energy customers?

Sword delivers practical business support to our customers in Energy. Spanning Oil & Gas, the Energy Transition, and Renewables, we provide day to day operational support, digital solution deployment, transition projects, and technical consultancy. Our expertise runs from IT, business technology, and infrastructure, to subsurface, production, engineering and corporate data and information.

On International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to send out to women thinking about their careers in the Energy Sector?

Over the past 35 years I have seen the Sector move, slowly at first and more rapidly over recent years to address diversity. The Energy sector has re-invented itself; it is no longer all about the heavy industry aspects often portrayed in media and film.  While this aspect is still a reality for key parts of the industry; science, technology, innovation, and business acumen have come into public focus. The Energy sector needs new talent and Women can play a major part.

What does the International Women’s Day 2021 slogan, #ChooseToChallenge mean for you in your work life?

Diversity of thinking in any team is very desirable. Don’t be afraid to share your thinking, sometimes people will agree with you, sometimes they will not. If you don’t give them the chance how will you know!    

Read on to learn more about careers with Sword or our Information Management solutions.

Find out more about International Woman’s Day 2021.

Today we’re shining the spotlight on Neil Constantine, who leads our Asia Pacific business, based in Perth.

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you did before joining Sword Venture?

I have been fortunate in my career to work roles and projects taking me to many parts of the world. Before joining Sword Venture, I was working for an oil and gas operator in Denmark co-ordinating data and information management services across their HQ and regional offices. It is this combination of technical work and scale that excites me and led to me to take up the role in Sword Venture where I could work with multiple clients across a diverse region.

What services do Sword provide in your region to energy customers?

We help operators and regulators maximise their return on investment in data and technology. We perform current state assessments and define change programmes and governance models that build data and information capability aligned to business objectives. We undertake projects including data conditioning, applications rationalisation and EDMS migrations using proprietary data analytics techniques to deliver fast, accurate and scalable results. Not least, we continue our 30-year track record of applications support and data and information loading services across exploration, development and production activities with Sword Venture staff working onsite or from our Perth Technical Centre.

What kind of projects do you work on and what does a typical day entail for you at Sword?

I can start the day at 7am on the phone to Houston, New Zealand or east coast Australia, and finish by talking to the UK at 10pm. Much of my focus is building Sword Venture’s global network and using our broad discipline coverage to benefit our clients with access to diverse skills and experience and to provide growth and learning opportunities for our staff.

Alongside this I am still ‘hands on’ with many of our technical projects, with one recent example being mapping the data model for a seismic metadata migration from a relational database to SharePoint, and another the building of a governance and delivery model to support a global data service squad for an IOC.

This global reach has long days, but I balance this with morning surf lessons for my daughter at the beach and lunch time runs around Kings Park just a few minutes from our office!

You regularly present at conferences representing Sword Venture. Tell us about a recent presentation and what the audience were keen to hear?

Everyone in our industry knows these are challenging times with an unprecedented combination of regulatory, environmental and commodity price pressures. This drives conversation around what re-skilling is needed to ensure we remain relevant in the Energy Transition. I frequently present on the role that data analytics and data engineering must play in building efficiency in today’s oil and gas industry and how this capability relates to growth areas including renewables and CCUS. 

Looking to the new year, what big issues do you expect to help our customers address?

It is hard to have a conversation without mentioning Digital Transformation! What is interesting is that we are working up the Hype Curve with real value to be achieved now from new technologies and capabilities. In 2021 we will continue to work with clients to help balance legacy technology and application spend with on-demand and flexible access to broad capability.

Secondly, there are still large volumes of legacy data and information that need attention. This is amplified by recent cuts in exploration activity and increasing regulatory limitation to where we can explore and produce causing us to take a revised look at existing assets and data. Whilst we have tools and compute to squeeze these data more extensively than ever before, interpretation outcomes are still constrained by the condition and uncertainty of the input data. I hate to keep banging this drum, but it’s true!

Can you tell us about a successful outcome on a customer project that made you feel proud?

It is a cliched answer, but I can’t choose one! When I moved to Australia six years ago our business was focussed on the provision of operational support on a long-term T&M basis. We would put individual staff into client offices and they would do great work. But in the last few years, our clients’ needs have moved from service to projects, requiring specific skills delivered on a defined timeframe by largely self-managed teams. We have pivoted our approach and added new technology and delivery skills to complement our domain experience. Each project has its unique challenges but we’ve built a broad portfolio of proprietary capability that we deploy to guarantee successful project outcomes and keep us all proud of what we deliver.

What would you say to someone considering a role with us in your region?

Do it. You will learn more working with Sword colleagues and clients from the Middle East, across Asia and through Australia and New Zealand than you will in any other company. There are plenty of new customers and markets for us to go after and it would be great to have you help us achieve this!

Read on to learn more about careers with Sword or our Information Management solutions.

Sword Professional Services focus on the Modern Workplace, Cloud Platform, Digital Services, and Data & AI. Our practice lead in Data & AI, Lise Parker spoke at the women in technology world series online festival in November.

“I enjoy attending conferences not only to gain some new insight but to meet people and learn how they approach new concepts and technology. This has not been so easy this year, so we have had to try a bit harder. I have found some of the virtual conferences to be valuable and have been able to communicate with people from all over the world that I might not have been able to otherwise. Having recently presented at the Women in Technology International Conference I would like to share some insight.”

To find out more and listen to her presentation please watch the video below:

Today UK based Sword IT Solutions Ltd and Cadac Group EMEA BV based in the Netherlands have agreed to jointly market and deliver leading edge engineering documents management solutions.

Sword´s highly experienced team of information management experts and Cadac´s market leading SharePoint based engineering document collaboration solutions will create an strong team to help clients further optimising their engineering information environment.

In times when the pressure to increase efficiency and effectiveness is enormous, clients are constantly seeking to improve their information management, streamline document processes and optimise information collaboration, especially across company borders.

With the growing number of clients choosing SharePoint as their strategic ECM platform, Cadac´s solution portfolio can help organisations in optimising their engineering information management from fully automated document review and approval processes to improving the quality of Engineering data across multiple systems

Neale Stidolph, Business Development Director Sword ITS:

“Sword has been providing engineering information management managed services for many years, with a focus on oil & gas projects and operations. We’ve worked with many different ECM systems, often client legacy systems that need to be nurtured. One of our objectives is to offer our clients a broader scope of solutions for their information management requirements. As independent consultants we are able to advise each client on a solution that has maximum benefits for their specific business problems. This means helping people with older systems, specifying and selecting upgrades or new systems and a frequent need to maximise clients' use of Microsoft SharePoint. The Cadac solution portfolio will contribute significantly in achieving this objective. It also creates a new option for Sword to provide clients with the IM personnel, processes and technical systems to run engineering information management as an integrated service. For clients it makes life easier and lets them focus on getting business value from their engineering information, knowing that they can find what they need and trust it.”

Paul Smeets, CTO Cadac Group:

“Our clients benefit from our over 30 years of experience in managing digital design information. As part of our solution portfolio, Cadac has become the global market leader in native SharePoint engineering document control & collaboration solutions. Our flagship product, CadacOrganice DCS, manages the complete lifecycle of all project deliverables. As a result, our clients have achieved significant benefits in their project execution in terms of less revisions and shorter revision cycles per deliverable. In addition, we have recently announced a brand-new SharePoint Online (Office 365) Add-in called CadacOrganice TaskForce, which manages and monitors all tasks around your projects deliverables in an easy to use and controlled manner. I´m excited about the cooperation with Sword, they have the required skills and experience to help us deliver more value to our customers globally and they will be the right partner to maximize customer benefits with solutions like DCS and TaskForce. I am convinced that our joint capabilities will be the best possible value proposition for organisations that are looking for SharePoint based engineering document control solutions.”

About Sword

Sword IT Solutions is the UK-based services arm of Sword Group with offices in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and London. Sword has 1,700+ IT/Digital & Software specialists present over five continents to accompany you in the growth of your organisation in the digital age. Thanks to its recognised competences in over 20 countries, Sword benefits from the trust of prestigious references such as: Admiral, Barclays Bank, BMW, Centrica, the European Union, Maersk Oil, Orange, the United Nations Organisation, and Total E&P UK. Sword has expertise in specialised fields: Geographic Information Systems, ECM/EDM, corporate search engines, digital marketing, CRM, portals and corporate social networks, Data and Business Intelligence, Web and Mobile development, infrastructure and cloud, cyber security, performance and applications optimisation, desktop publishing and intellectual property. Sword IT Solutions is a Microsoft Gold Partner.

About Cadac Group
In your industry, you are constantly striving for greater efficiency, especially for the complex design processes in your field of expertise. In these cases, you want to rely on the market knowledge of industry experts. With us, you benefit from more than 30 years of experience in creating, managing, and sharing your digital design information. Our Microsoft and Autodesk based solutions link your design software to the technology for the management of the process and the sharing of documents. This makes your design process faster and more efficient. As a Microsoft Gold Partner and an Autodesk Platinum partner, we help you build on sound technical and business expertise. Our CadacOrganice Suite, which is based on the Microsoft SharePoint platform, is one of the only out-of-the-box SharePoint solutions. With this suite, creating, managing, and sharing digital files for your complex project is more efficient than ever.

For more details please contact neale.stidolph@sword-group.com.

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