The first references to data analysis date from the first half of the 20th century, although it was not until a decade ago when the revolution really set in. In recent years we have moved on from the age of technology to the age of information, and a great opportunity has opened up for organisations to more accurately interpret the environment and to anticipate events.

After initial scepticism regarding the results actually offered by data storage and processing, companies now show full confidence on the benefits this science can bring. According to a report publihsed by CA Technologies, 92% of multinational companies trust in these services and 52% of them have already implemented projects of these characteristics.

Big data specifically, and digital technologies in general, are among the main points on which energy companies are focusing our efforts. The main aim is to achieve more efficient processes that can mainly be perceived in the optimisation of operating costs, increasingly smarter decision-making and improvements in productivity.

The energy sector also has a growing interest in becoming a facilitator of digital transformation, which entails particularly high investment in big data. In this respect, a survey produced by Accenture and Microsoft (The 2016 Upstream Oil and Gas Digital Trends Survey) shows that the concerns in the energy sector with regard to digital technologies are centred on two areas: impact on employees and on revenues.

With respect to employees and their well-being, 59% of companies believe that productivity has increased and 40% are certain that they are showing greater commitment as a result of data optimisation. Moreover, 1 out of every 4 acknowledge that there has been a positive repercussion on the improving of worker skills. In short, big data analytics has allowed professionals to perform their tasks more efficiently, and therefore feel more satisfied with their results. It should be taken into account that this trend is creating new positions in specialist companies, such as data scientists.

As far as the impact on business is concerned, over half believe that big data is helping to speed up the decision-making process, very often in real time. 45% believe that their assets have improved because of this investment. At Enagás, we are working in this area to improve the methods for predictive maintenance, making good use of the possibilities presented by big data and algorithmics.

I feel that the process of technological evolution we are experiencing is only the tip of the iceberg. I am convinced that in the coming years we will be seeing even more palpable changes within organisations and, more particularly, in people’s daily lives. In our sector, energy, thinking should involve even more exploration of the possibilities offered by information in order to create more exact predictive models that are reflected, on the one hand, in the optimisation of consumption and demand, and in the impact on the environment and consumers, and on the other hand, in greater optimisation of operating and maintenance costs.