Sword Resolve Spotlight on Robbie Farquhar, Service Desk Team Lead

Today we’re shining the spotlight on Robbie Farquhar, Resolve Service Desk Team lead, based in Aberdeen.

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

I joined Sword in 2018. At the time I had very little exposure to supporting such large-scale clients and I was excited at the prospect. Prior to joining, I worked for another locally managed service provider that supported various small to medium-sized businesses across Scotland. Funnily enough I never actually planned to pursue a career in IT. My plan at a rather young and naïve age was to pursue a career in music, unfortunately, we can’t all be the next Hendrix and that one didn’t quite work out. 

I adopted a keen interest in computers and technology at a young age and eventually became relatively well versed in the basics but never really thought about pursuing IT in the sense of further education or a career path. It wasn’t until I was in my very first job that it dawned on me that I always seemed to be “the guy” any time any IT equipment played up in the office. I found the problem-solving aspect and ability to support my colleagues very rewarding and that led me to pursue a career in IT.

What does a typical day look like for you and the team at Resolve? 

This is quite an interesting question. It’s usually one we get asked by candidates when conducting interviews for new service desk analyst roles and the answer is always the same. There isn’t one.

Being a multi-client service desk means variety…. a lot of variety and no day is ever the same. This is one of my favourite aspects of Resolve. We are constantly presented with new challenges, keeping myself and the team on our toes and engaged. That’s not to say there isn’t structure, there is a method to the madness. Amongst our now 9 analysts we provide remote support to multiple clients operating over a 12 hour period, recording tickets in our ticketing tool TOPdesk. Analysts work on either side of a shift pattern and address tickets based on priority and urgency.

There have been some changes to the structure of Resolve, can you tell us about the changes and how these have improved the service for Resolves customer base? 

A year ago I was given some additional responsibilities on the team which eventually evolved into my promotion to a senior role on the desk. My role quickly changed from working on tickets frequently to identifying improvements that could be made to our service, our ticketing tool and how we effectively support our customers. A year later, myself and two of my colleagues (Ashley Morrison and Ed Garland) moved into a Team Lead position, and we changed the structure of Resolve.

This change has been incredibly beneficial for both our customers and for the Resolve team. It has allowed our service manager the time to focus on our customer base and provided the leads with the ability to manage their teams. The additional responsibility has a great deal of focus on the likes of data quality, identifying gaps in process and training requirements but also building great relationships with customer focal points and managing customer requirements in a more effective manner. We are constantly looking for ways that we can make improvements and provide the best service possible.

You started your career with Resolve as a Service Desk Analyst and have progressed to a Service Desk Team Lead. Can you tell us about the career progression routes within Resolve?   

The key point here really is structure. The promotions of leads have allowed us to identify progression routes in Resolve. Service Desk Analysts (SDAs) would typically look to head into a desktop role before they branched off into the likes of infrastructure but now that’s not so much the case. Resolve is a great starting point for anyone that would like to pursue one of the technology-based disciplines because it offers so much variety. We have had SDA’s move down the route of desktop and applications. SDA’s now have the option to pursue a senior role which could result in a team leadership role down the line. As team leads, we also make a conscious effort to identify how we can further individuals’ progression be it through training or providing additional responsibilities so that they can gain exposure to these disciplines.

Why did you choose to progress your career with Sword and What would you say to someone considering a role with Sword Resolve? 

In a simple answer, I love working with the Resolve team and I love being able to contribute to the continued growth of Resolve. No day is the same and despite the many challenges we face the morale is always high. Resolve continues to grow, with more customers, more members of staff on the team, more challenges and I’m genuinely proud to be a part of it. It’s a rewarding feeling being able to lead such a great group of individuals and watch them evolve and progress through their careers but also witnessing how they support each other. If you’re aspiring towards a career in IT with clear progression, plenty of variety, that’s challenging but also has plenty of laughs sprinkled throughout then Resolve is a great place to be.

Sword delivers practical business technology solutions to support our customers in Energy, Public and Finance Sectors. Spanning Oil & Gas, the Energy Transition, Renewables, and Digital Adoption 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.

Read on to learn more about life at Sword, careers with Sword or our Sword Resolve Managed Service.>

Today we’re shining the spotlight on Diane Ogston, a Senior Service Delivery Manager at Sword responsible for our Resolve Managed Service. Resolve provide 24x7, 365 day operational support in Service Desk, Desktop, Applications, and Infrastructure Support for our customers in Energy and Finance.

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

Prior to joining Sword in September 2016, I had progressed from Service Desk Analyst roles into Service Management. This experience was brought to the fore in my role as Service Delivery Manager, with responsibility for our services across multiple customers. In 2019, Sword Resolve was created to bring together Sword’s service desk teams under one roof and I jumped at the chance to design, build, and manage the service.

What services and specialties do Sword Resolve provide and can you tell us about the sectors Sword Resolve customers operate in?

We cover the front-end IT services for several Oil and Gas Operators, Engineering companies, and customers in the Finance sector. We provide 24 x 7 x 365-day operational support in 4 different disciplines: Service Desk, Desktop, Applications, and Infrastructure Support. Our services are transferable across all industries, it’s about getting to know the customer and their individual requirements.

Resolve has added 2 new customers in the past 12 months, can you tell us about the onboarding process and the benefits that Resolve delivers to our customers?

We have expanded our customer base and the process has differed between each customer. Do they have a support service currently in place, are they a new business with no processes, do they want all Resolve service lines or only specific? We also extend the use of our IT Service Management tool to customers for use in their operational teams if desired. Generally, we will agree on the order of services for their transition journey over 3 months to allow Resolve to fit the customer needs.

In terms of benefits, Resolve offers customers a scalable and flexible service model with a reliable single point of contact dedicated to your business with access to the latest technologies and expertise within our extended Sword services. Outsourcing your service desk to Sword Resolve also reduces operational costs and provides 24/7 support for our customers.

Resolve supports customers ranging from 5 to 1,500 users. What levels of service do Resolve provide and can these be tailored to suit each customer?

They are absolutely tailored to suit each customer and their specific needs. Resolve offers variable services, bespoke to clients’ business needs. We have customers who use all service lines and others who only use us to support their businesses out of hours for business-critical issues. Our service levels cover a wide range of disciplines in Service Desk, Desktop, Applications, and Infrastructure Support.

The Sword Resolve service has matured in recent times, what changes have been implemented and how has offered new opportunities for Sword employees and our customers?

In 2020, the foundations were created – 2021 is about building on that. In March this year, we recognised that Resolve had hit a milestone of maturity and we wanted to enable future adaption and scalability to best meet customer needs. As a result, we made changes in our team structure to bring more technical specialism to the fore. This included, assigning stream leads and junior roles in our Apps/Infra streams. This organisational change offered a clear route of progression within the service for our employees and also benefited our customers with a scalable service, improved knowledge capture, and proactive management of the operational activities. Ultimately, it’s about creating space and time for continual service improvements that benefit our customers.

The Resolve team has been working on service improvement ideas for our customers, can you tell us about a recent example of these and how it has improved our service?

Each team member has a goal to identify service improvements. Some of these have been as simple as defining new daily procedures, proactively identifying and resolving any potential issues that may arise from high disk space usage to backup failures. We’ve recently identified a need for an improved security policy for a customer, reducing the security risk to that business. As our team develop and continually learn new technologies, we can also share the benefits of that knowledge with our customers as we support them or guide them on best practice.

What would you say to someone considering a role with Sword Resolve?

It’s such an exciting time to join the service, we are still evolving, and our staff are very much part of that process. The experience gained supporting multiple clients is invaluable and we have a defined career progression route within Resolve that also extends to the Sword Group as a whole. There’s a fantastic spirit in the team and it’s a great place to make a real difference to the way our customers work.

Sword delivers practical business technology solutions to support our customers in Energy, Public and Finance Sectors. Spanning Oil & Gas, the Energy Transition, Renewables, and Digital Adoption 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.

Read on to learn more about careers with Sword or our Sword Resolve Managed Service.

Sword is delighted to announce the appointment of Jared Owen to lead our Digital Services to the Energy Sector. Jared joins Sword’s growing team concentrating on our digital consulting, project, and managed services portfolio. He will provide focus in this area to our customers in Oil and Gas and Renewables, driving the business outcomes they need through the adoption of transformative technologies and approaches.

Sword’s Digital Services target real-world business challenges. Our success is built upon our existing IT and data capability and over 30-years’ experience in the subsurface, production, engineering, and corporate domains. We believe in close collaboration with our customers to make practical recommendations for change, using common toolkits to develop long-lasting and repeatable solutions. We understand how to get the most out of modern workplace and cloud enabled technologies and have developed unique blueprints for applying these in our industry. Sword is committed to demonstrating value quickly and making a real difference from day one.

Jared has been heavily engaged in the North-East of Scotland’s digital sector and energy industry’s digitalisation drive in recent years. He was a leader and co-sponsor of the first UKCS Data and Digital Maturity survey in 2020, as well as the architect of the 2021 EnergyTech programme, a partnership between Opportunity North East, Barclays Eagle Labs, and Codebase, driving cultural change in the energy industry and creating a digital innovation bridge between the digital and energy sectors.

Dave Bruce, CEO at Sword UK, says: “We are proud of our position as an energy industry market leader for business technology solutions. By bringing Jared into our team and with the creation of our focused digital practice for energy, we are committed to supporting the industry through its transition, to leading data driven digital outcomes that open new opportunities through technology, and to maximising the efficiency of our customers.”

Jared says: “I am excited to join Sword at this critical time for the energy industry. I have been fortunate to see first-hand the capability, support, and collaboration the North-East digital sector has provided over the years and Sword is a major influencing factor in that. For me, digital adoption and maturity are broken down into the three inter-linked pillars of data, platforms, and systems of intelligence and Sword really understands that. It’s critical to the continued success of the industry that our digital solutions are built on strong data foundations and few companies can compare to Sword’s end to end capability and scale.”   

For more information about Sword, visit www.sworditsolutions.com.

That’s a key question in oil and gas right now and it brought 30 of us from different backgrounds together in a joint PPDM and WADSIH meeting to answer this in one of the many DataScienceWeek events unfolding across Perth.

Firstly, you’ve got to narrow the scope of this question if you want to reach any kind of meaningful answer in a 2.5 hour session. With an audience covering stalwarts through to start-ups, we took analytics as the test case for discussion. But wait, what do we mean by this? ‘Analytics’ covers a range from the descriptive ‘what happened’ (a yes vote from the data managers in the room), through predictive ‘when will it happen next’ (yes from the data analysts) to cognitive ‘what can we learn from it’ (the data scientists).

With an idea of how we plan to use these data, we addressed quality dimensions using parameters that will be familiar to many. Is our data complete, unique, timely, valid, accurate and consistent?  Which of these matters? Long story short… it’s whatever you need to use data confidently to support the business challenge you need to resolve. Which is where the metadata discussion kicked off: what’s the data description you need to understand your data and how do open schemas such as Dublin Core compare to the application-native options we typically use? Many of us in the room had experience of forcing data into various vendor models, then reloading these same data from source as we cycled through products from different vendors – which I think provides the answer! Resolving this is part of the premise behind OSDU which has the potential to be a step-change for how we work with data in our industry.

We took a quick sidestep into what do you do when metadata is not available to support the data you want to use? Risk it and gain insight at lower confidence, or play safe and maybe miss the extra benefit? Again, it depends on what you want to do – with this nicely demonstrated against an O&G value chain starting at Exploration (low quality data, high quality data? Gimmie it all!) and finishing with Decommissioning (how do we make this safe AND convince others that is what we’ve done). All reasonable, but then how do you manage the chain of custody of data to ensure that data is not used for purposes for which it is not fit? Appropriate metadata is the answer.   

Break-out sessions tested these quality dimensions across scenarios including legacy and new G&G data types, healthcare and safety case documentation. Common to all of these was the need to balance an upfront investment in time and effort against uncertain future use cases for the data, with the party realising the benefit not always the same one taking the initial cost hit. Lessons from outside of O&G were particularly acute with the cost of acquiring one data type being a small proportion of the costs of subsequent storage – which is the opposite for our expensive well and seismic data.

With the relative knowns of quality and metadata addressed, we moved onto the unknown biases that hide in data and interpretations, ready to catch you out the moment you forget about them. In an industry that looks for the few formations and structures containing hydrocarbons, we love to eliminate outliers through the use of averages, means and medians. With limited availability of data, training datasets and sampling are not always representative. (Hint: lobby your regulator to open up their data store if they haven’t already done so). Data that fits our interpretation is always ‘right’ and exceptions get excluded… What’s the lesson here? As a data manager, I need to accurately and precisely deliver the data as it was acquired; as a data scientist I need to challenge the data that is presented to me.

A lot of the workshop content was familiar but that’s no criticism – it’s healthy to revise and continually test our views as the business challenges we’re supporting and the technology available to help us are evolving. Jess Kozman did a great job facilitating and there was active participation across the board. However, the number of attendees was on the low side – lingering covid-caution or perhaps signalling the reduced numbers of data professionals still working in oil and gas, and a concern from those with jobs to be taking time out from their role to learn and grow? This must be addressed by an industry with an ever-increasing focus on data to help it respond to external pressures. Improved recovery factors, lower lifting costs and exploration efforts focused on established basins mean we need to access, understand and work our existing and new data extensively. Data professionals and the support we provide have a valuable ‘multiplier’ effect on the efforts of the consumers that we support, whether they are geoscientists, engineers, analysts or algorithms.

Back to the original question – is our data fit for purpose? The only way we can answer that is by inverting the question: to what purpose does our data need to be fit? This requires continued engagement with business and technical consumers of data; awareness, adoption and use of technology; and on-going assessment and extension of our value proposition. We can no longer predict all the ways in which our oil and gas data will be used, but that’s no excuse to not try!

Thanks to Jess Kozman for facilitating, the PPDM West Australia leadership team volunteers for arranging and to CORE Innovation Hub for providing a great workshop facility.

About the author

Neil Constantine is a Business Unit Director and Data specialist at Sword, based in Perth. Neil has 25 years’ experience, working in both operator and service environments. Sword specialises in data, IT and digital support to a number of industries including Energy. For further information or to get in contact, please email neil.constantine@sword-group.com or call directly on +61 (0)426 240702.

Asset Transfers can be complex from an information and technology perspective but can be the springboard for innovation, as well as delivering the expected productivity. The critical path is for the transfer of services agreement, safety case, readiness, and transition of operations. This article highlights the types of transfer, the issues we face, and Sword’s tried and tested approach to dealing with them.

The divestor may not have detailed plans of what to transfer or how to do it, and the acquiring organisation may have limited experience of transfers. The team at each end may be undertaking this work on top of their current jobs, with timescales that are often outside of their control. This creates demands that are stressful for key personnel and impacts their ability to quickly make critical decisions.

The impact on contracts and procurement is often underestimated. Limited time for tenders and approvals for expenditure, as well as a lack of expertise in the contract scope and novation, all need an appropriate strategy. Sword helps drive that efficiently as we coordinate a range of vendors, use specific templates from our procurement catalogue, understand the technical scopes, and can validate pricing. We understand the importance of the early identification of contracts that cannot transfer, or custom and out of date systems that will need replacing. Watch out for surprisingly long-lead time items such as radio licenses, network circuits, software customisation, and offshore deployment.

A changing landscape

The UKCS landscape is evolving. Supermajors are changing their portfolios and mid-tier organisations seek opportunities, but the most dynamic area is new entrants. Rising prices are increasing investor appetite, but this is likely to be balanced by the Energy Transition and ESG pressures.

The approaches to an asset transfer take account of the practical differences in systems maturity and capability between companies of varying scale. The challenges faced reflect the different types of transfer; from a non-operated asset, unmanned platform or subsea production system, to a major platform or FPSO. The timescales, and corresponding project and capex costs, can range from one or two months at one end of the scale, to six months or a year at the other.

Phased approach

The primary objective is always hit the transfer deadline. That creates the mindset of “move everything over ‘as is’, start using it, and then worry about the details later”. Transfer projects can involve dozens of systems and huge amounts of information, paper, tapes, samples, and other data. There is a clear need to maintain the Chain of Custody to govern how information changes hands. Not all systems are appropriate for Cloud technology, and that certainly won’t help with physical archives and samples. On-site systems take longer to deploy, and private datacentres can have short-term capacity limitations.

Don’t try and implement radical innovations unless you have proven methods and funding already in place. Post-transfer project fatigue can set in, creating a risk that the performance the new owner seeks will not be realised. Leadership and investors will expect increased performance so plan for it. Make sure corporate information, engineering and subsurface are all taken care of. This ensures you can apply your people and financial resources to make future modifications to your production assets and make the most of your reserves. Sword’s approach consists of 3 separate phases:

Closing thoughts

Sword has successfully completed many asset transfers and related services on behalf of a range of UKCS companies including NEO Energy and Serica Energy alongside the best-known Operators in the industry.

Contact Neale Stidolph (Sword Energy Sector, Information Management Lead), neale.stidolph@sword-group.com

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 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.

On Tuesday the 20th of August, Sword welcomed the Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy to their Aberdeen HQ to discuss how the Scottish Business Pledge initiative is helping to boost  productivity, engagement and company growth.

The minister sat down with the Sword team to find out how the Scottish Business Pledge initiative was positively impacting the working environment and supporting employee development within the business.

Kevin Moreton, Sword COO said  We are delighted to have had the opportunity to sit down with the minister to discuss the positive impact that Scottish Business Pledge initiative has had on our business as whole.  Since committing to the business pledges, we have seen an increase in workforce engagement levels, a boost in productivity along with company growth within the market.”

Debi Brockett, Sword Account Executive added Signing up to the Scottish Business Pledge initiative was important to us, we wanted to demonstrate our business alignment with the wider Scottish Public Sector community, as we share the same values and are truly committed to improving the delivery of Public Services through Technology enablement

Last year, Sword joined the 500+ Scottish business in committing to a number of the Scottish Business Pledges as part of the value-led partnership between Scottish Government and Business in Scotland.

The pledges set out to build stronger businesses in Scotland and incorporates a shared ambition of boosting productivity, competitiveness, sustainable employment, and workforce engagement and development.

The pledge is built on the following key aims:

There are 9 pledges in total, covering the following:

  1. Adhering to the real living wage
  2. Avoiding the use of zero hour contracts
  3. Encouraging positive workforce engagement
  4. Providing flexible working and a balanced workforce
  5. Investing in young people through apprenticeship/internship programmes
  6. Innovation through the creativity and exploitation of new ideas
  7. Exploring opportunities through Internationalisation
  8. Giving back to the local community
  9. Efficient and prompt payment of invoices/bills

Sword is fully committed to actively encouraging workforce engagement through the implementation of employee engagement programmes along with providing a Health and Wellness scheme for staff.  Sword support a balanced workforce by offering flexible working and are a Microsoft accredited Diversity and Inclusion Partner.

Sword adhere to the real living wage and avoid the use of zero hour contracts. Sword also provide prompt paymentof invoice/bills to all of their suppliers and partners.

Sword has a strong focus on investing in young people and the community through engagement with local universities and participate in graduate programmes along with giving back to the local community through regular, planned activities.

Sword operate internationally and deliver services from its UK bases to Europe and the Middle East which supports Scottish Energy sector customers.

For further information about the Scottish Business Pledge, please use the link below:

Sword deliver Digital Transformation, Information Management and IT Support services to the Energy, Public and Commercial sectors throughout the UK.   

For more information, contact our Marketing Team on +44(0)131 300 0567 (ext 567)

In Scotland, there are over 20,000 primary care contractors including GPs, Dentists, Opticians and Pharmacists who support patient care and deliver vital services across the country.

Hundreds of end users throughout the organisation require access to record, manage and share vital primary care contractor information using multiple, local and national IT systems which have become outdated, inefficient and inconsistent.

In order to resolve the issues that lie within the complex and costly multi - system approach, the National Primary Care Clinician Database IT programme was brought into place.  The NPCCD programme manages the national GP Performers List for Scotland and works in line with the new legislation set out by the Scottish Government. The new programme has been designed around the current end user requirements, with the option for system expansion to help meet future demands.

The NHS NSS programme team set out to source external support for the design, implementation and delivery of the new IT system. They required a responsive, flexible partner who was willing to “go the extra mile” to ensure delivery was completed within a very tight schedule.

Sword were selected as a delivery partner to help structure and implement the new, centralised system due to their in- depth level of expertise and experience in the design and deployment of specialised business technology systems.

Based on the underlying business requirements highlighted by NHS NSS, Sword worked closely with the programme team to develop a strategic plan to ensure that the design of the new IT system would be upgradable, scalable, future proof, compliant, user friendly and efficient.

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Phusion IM has established a significant partnership with Sword, to deliver services that will empower organisations in the energy and engineering sectors to better use engineering data to drive safety and efficiencies.

The collaboration disrupts traditional thinking by placing data at the core of its approach, instead of relying on documents. Moving large volumes of documents around during engineering activities is not easy and often not done well. Key information is vital to enable people to do their jobs effectively and efficiently, which is supported by Sword and Phusion’s focus on managing data.

This provides more efficient and safe project operations, which ultimately support cost control and savings. Many organisations have aspired to working in smarter ways, but have been frustrated by high software costs, long implementation times and poor control of the data management services to keep it all up to date.

This is achieved by the utilisation of a single data model to structure and store critical information, which can then be connected to a variety of clients’ systems.

Sword and Phusion’s practical approach works by using a cloud-based Master Data Model. This is deployed very rapidly and at a very competitive rate. The model is technology agnostic, so organisations aren’t ‘locked in’ and is future-proofed to operate with evolving technology platforms.

This ‘plug-and-play’ approach gives maximum freedom of choice to customers. The model meets industry regulations and standards include Capital Facilities Information Handover Specification (CFIHOS) and ISO15926.

The approach can be applied to both new and brownfield assets and helps ensure that information management isn’t among the activities compromised by the major cost and time pressures on projects.

In addition, it overcomes the belief that information management doesn’t provide any tangible business benefits. Significantly, the concept enables projects to become more compliant with multiple users, operating in different domestic and international locations feeding and accessing the same information in real-time.

In an era of lower oil prices and sustainability, energy and engineering-led companies have to explore new ways of driving efficiencies and optimising engineering and supply chain customer experience. This approach to information management delivers this ‘as a service’, utilising the latest cloud technology and trusted teams with expert knowledge.

Phusion IM, which has offices in the UK and Australia, provides its suite of engineering information software, app-based mobile solutions and consultancy services to support its customers with systems implementation and optimisation, compatibility with legacy systems, strategic consultancy, IM handover, materials management, engineering information management and compliance.

Phusion has over 25 years of experience in delivering IM to some of the world’s largest organisations, including, Chevron’s Gorgon and Inpex’s Ichthys projects, which were two of the largest energy projects.

Sword has UK offices in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and London, with extensive expertise in the field of Information Management (IM), including Engineering IM Services.

It applies its specialist knowledge of oil & gas and engineering IM with support for full-asset lifecycle, from front-end engineering & design, major capital projects, handover, operations & maintenance, and decommissioning.

Steve Pearson, Chairman of Phusion IM, said: “The strong synergies between Phusion and Sword creates a dynamic partnership that can deliver highly-effective Information Management solutions to the oil & gas and engineering sectors. Both companies have extensive track-records in the energy sector across all tiers of the supply chain and bringing the expertise together offers significant benefits to projects, delivering cost savings through improved efficiencies and operational productivity.”

Neale Stidolph, Head of Information Management at Sword, said: “Our customers are seeing the benefits of this combined expertise, reducing their operations & maintenance costs, helping with project handovers, improving safety factors and supporting asset integrity. It’s been great to link Phusion’s expertise and software with Sword’s proven IM services.”


In recent years, the UK oil and gas industry has undergone some major changes.  As fields mature and margins reduce for the big producers, smaller independent companies have been stepping in to operate assets more efficiently and extend the life of fields in line with the government’s strategy to maximise economic recovery.  One such company, Serica Energy, took the decision to purchase BP’s shares of the Bruce, Keith and Rhum fields.

Serica has ambitious growth plans and saw the purchase of the “BKR” assets as an opportunity to establish itself as a major North Sea operator.  The deal they agreed with BP allowed Serica to take over the assets after satisfying all the necessary legal and regulatory controls. When the agreement was finalised in late 2017, Serica focused on the challenge of building an operational capability in less than 12 months.

Serica prioritised it’s people, processes and systems as the key ingredients for success, and recognised that strong IT expertise would be fundamental to support their transitional journey.

Serica selected Sword (industry leaders in IT and IM) as their partner of choice to design, implement and deliver their brand new IT and IM infrastructure.    Sword were able to offer in depth level of knowledge and expertise based on their extensive experience working on similar projects within the industry along with a wide range of resources to complete this complex business transition on time and on budget.

Andrew James, Sword project manager said:

Becoming a North Sea production operator was an important step for Serica, and at the beginning we had a fairly blank canvas in terms of IT landscape.  To build all the required systems and services in the time available, we recognised that we needed to minimise change and maintain continuity in some areas, while looking for opportunities to simplify and improve where feasible.  The first priority was to assess how BP operated the assets by conducting discovery work, speaking to people in key teams to get an understanding of the IT systems used.  This gave us a good view of what had to be migrated or replicated and what should be replaced or right-sized for Serica.  We could then plan and sequence the necessary work, developing a project schedule to complete everything within the prescribed timeframe.  The collaborative approach between BP, Serica, Serica’s transition partner and Sword was imperative to the success of the project.”

The project took 8 months to complete with both Serica and Sword working together to execute well planned cutover activities resulting in a seamless and successful transition.

Mitch Flegg, Serica’s Chief Executive Officer added:

“We chose Sword based on their experience in the energy industry and their track record with North Sea asset transfers, and it proved to be a good choice.  We are delighted with the results they have achieved in this transition and we look forward to continuing our partnership”

Read the full case study HERE

Sword provide Digital Transformation, Information Management and IT Support services to the Energy, Public and Commercial sectors throughout the UK.   For more information, contact our marketing team – michelle.king@sword-group or call 0131 500 0567.

Sword UK have joined hundreds of other Scottish organisations in committing to the Scottish Business Pledge, a value-led partnership between Government and Business in Scotland.

The pledge sets out to build stronger businesses in Scotland and incorporates a shared ambition of boosting productivity, competitiveness, sustainable employment, and workforce engagement and development.

The pledge is built on the following key aims:

There are 9 pledges in total, covering the following:

  1. Adhering to the real living wage
  2. Avoiding the use of zero hour contracts
  3. Encouraging positive workforce engagement
  4. Providing flexible working and a balanced workforce
  5. Investing in young people through apprenticeship/internship programmes
  6. Innovation through the creativity and exploitation of new ideas
  7. Exploring opportunities through Internationalisation
  8. Giving back to the local community
  9. Efficient and prompt payment of invoices/bills

Sword UK are fully committed to supporting equality and diversity in the workplace along with actively encouraging workforce engagement, supporting a balanced workforce through flexible working, adhering to the real living wage, avoiding the use of zero hour contracts along with giving back to the local community through planned activities.

Debi Brocket, Sword UK account executive for Public Sector said  “Our people are key to delivering successful business outcomes for our customer base in Scotland, therefore signing the Scottish Business Pledge reinforces our commitment to provision a supportive, inclusive and innovative workplace”

Catherine Froud Williams, HR Director added “The Scottish Business Pledge gives us the opportunity to learn and collaborate with other innovative, forward thinking Scottish Businesses. The initiative supports our underlying business values to successfully engage, respond and deliver at our highest potential for our employees, customers and the community”

For further information about the Scottish Business Pledge, please use the link below:

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